Belize has secured a $7 million loan through a partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) which will be used to expand the country’s Blue Economy while promoting sustainable use of Belize’s commercial marine resources.
During the first day of the Belize Investment Summit in San Pedro Town on Thursday, August 31, Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. John Briceño, and Tomás Bermúdez, IDB’s General Manager for Central America, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Repúblic and Haiti, signed the agreement.
The loan is designed to strengthen the government’s capacity to sustainably manage Belize’s economically important commercial fish species, like conch, lobster, and finfish.
Bermúdez stated, “IDB Group remains committed to supporting Belize to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, and one of our priorities is climate action. Conservation initiatives aimed at preserving and rejuvenating marine ecosystems are integral cornerstones in our efforts to mitigate climate change and facilitate the restoration of biodiversity.”
Belize’s fishing industry is one of the major industries in the country, as it provides employment, food security, and revenue and foreign currency reserves. Between 2005 and 2021, fisheries and aquaculture represented 12% of Belize’s total exports, providing livelihoods for over 3,000 fishers directly, and indirectly providing livelihoods for more than 15,000 people, which equals 10% of the country’s labor force.
“Almost 50% of our productive sector is dependent on the Blue Economy … Fisheries has traditionally played an important role in the Belizean economy and continues to do so. As such, we need to work hand in hand with our Belizean people to sustainably manage our ocean’s resources,” said PM Briceño.
Notably, the loan will also boost the quality of life of artisanal fishers through a grant program that finances business plans for implementing sustainable and resilient fishing technologies.
The loan has a 25-year repayment period and a 5.5-year grace period.
Source : AMANDALA