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The majority of the Belizean economy comprises the tourism industry. Agriculture is also a key part of the economy.


According to the CIA World Factbook , Belize has the highest unemployment rate in Central America at 9.4%. The population living in poverty is at 33.5%.


The small, essentially private enterprise economy is based primarily on agriculture , agro-based industry , and merchandising, with tourism and construction assuming greater importance. Sugar , the chief crop, accounts for nearly half of exports, while the banana industry is the country's largest employer. Citrus production has become a major industry along the Hummingbird Highway . More recently, discoveries of petroleum deposits in the Cayo District and possible deposits in the Toledo District have radically altered Belize's previously untapped mining and manufacturing capabilities.


The ruling government's big monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to GDP growth of 6.4% in 1999 and 10.5% in 2000. Growth decelerated in 2001 to 3% because of the global slowdown and severe hurricane damage to agriculture, fishing and tourism. Growth in 2005 was 3.8%. Major concerns continue to be the rapidly expanding trade deficit and foreign debt. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.




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