Located in the Caribbean coast of Central America, Belize is the only English-speaking country in the region. It is an upper/middle income country which relies on agriculture and tourism as its main economic activities. Poverty is still widespread in Belize, in particular in rural areas. Moreover, given Belize's dependence on tourism and remittances from migrants, the country strongly felt the effects of the recent global economic crisis. Belize is a signatory of the EU-Central America Association Agreement, a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU with a strong focus on development cooperation.
EU cooperation 2014-2020
Under the 11th EDF (2014-2020) the financial allocation for Belize is €27 million. The EU financial support to the national development strategy is built around three focal sectors, namely renewable and sustainable energy, health and public finance management. Further, Belize is a signatory of the EU-Central America Association Agreement, a comprehensive free trade agreement with a strong focus on development cooperation. In this context, Belize can benefit from the EU Central America regional programme (€120 million).
EU cooperation 2008-2013
Under the 10th EDF financial period 2008-2013 (€11.8 million) the priority area was rural development, helping to improve the standard of living of poor rural people, mainly active in agriculture.
Belize is also a beneficiary of the EU’s special assistance framework for traditional ACP banana suppliers (€26.5 million for the period 2007-2013). This framework is a multi-faceted scheme intended to assist economic diversification in those ACP countries for which bananas have traditionally been an economic mainstay. Belize also received €72.4 million over the period 2006-2013 under the Accompanying Measures for ACP Sugar Protocol Countries, an instrument designed to help them to adjust to the new sugar trade regime.
Belize receives funds from EU thematic lines for gender (€0.23 M) and environment (€2.9 M) as well as from the European Initiative for Human Rights (EIDHR) (€0.2 M). In 2014 Belize received an additional allocation of €100,000 under the EIDHR.
As a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Forum of the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (CARIFORUM), Belize benefits from EU regional programmes funded under the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programmes.
Belize is also a signatory of the EU-Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a comprehensive free trade agreement with a strong focus on development cooperation.