Belize to Promote Digital Innovation, Spur Economic Growth with $10 Million IDB Loan
Belize will promote the digitalization of companies and government services, and boost local economic growth, financed by a $10 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank.
The initiative, which is aimed at benefitting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and has a focus on women-owned or led companies, will foster the adoption of digital technological solutions and train entrepreneurs to hone their digital skills. The program will also help reengineer and digitalize government services related to firms, which will help reduce transaction costs for MSMEs.
The program will also help optimize and digitalize government processes related to citizen registration services, including the online application for birth, death, and marriage certificates. This will lower the cost of these certificates while reducing the time required to issue them. It will also create a website to efficiently register and route citizen requests and to help implement an adequate legal and regulatory framework for digital procedures and transactions.
In addition, the program will train 300 businesses – mostly MSMEs – and hundreds of citizens in digital literacy through gender sensitive digital awareness campaigns . The initiative will also help train another 160 civil servants in both change management and the management of digital tools and services.
Meanwhile, the program will provide about 200 businesses with digital vouchers to adopt digital technology.
The five-year program aims to increase the number of firms in Belize using digital payment methods by 18 percent while increasing the number of companies using more innovative methods for information processing and communication by 11 percent. The program also looks to cut in half the time it takes to obtain a business operating license while reducing the processing time for a personal registration service by 30 percent.
The 25-year, $10 million loan, which comes from the Bank’s ordinary capital, has a 5.5-year grace period and an interest rate based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR).