GoB Signs US$77 Million loan agreement with the Saudi Development Fund

updated: August 5th. 2023

On Friday August 4th. prime minister John Briceño signed a US$77-million loan agreement with the Saudi Development Fund. The money is reportedly earmarked for the construction of a solar-power facility in Belize.

According to GoBs press statement “the loan is for the construction of a 60 megawatt Solar Energy Plant that will help stabilize the country’s energy supply, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and promote a cleaner and more sustainable energy source while providing cost savings, environmental sustainability, job creation, and improved access to electricity to rural communities”.

The Saudi’s SFD / Foreign Policy by Development Support
( dollar diplomacy and Small States )

The Saudi’s has been increasing their foreign policy efforts via the SFD, and has been providing loans to several small states:

In May 2023 SFD provided a US$16 million loan to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the construction of a primary care center.

L: Belize prime minister John Briceño and
R: (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad

Also: In May of 2023 the Saudi Fund for Development provided another loan in the sum of $45-million for the construction of a tertiary hospital in Belmopan.

In June of 2023 SFD provided a US150-million loan to Guyana in collaboration with CARICOM, in that instance the loan is for a housing project as well as allowing for upgrades to the Wismar Bridge in Guyana.

Similar to the ‘Petro Carib’ philanthropy of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez administration, the the oil rich nation of Saudi Arabia is gaining friends and improving the lives of people in small nations, especially in the Caribbean.

In January of 2023 The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) signed a $80 million financing agreement with Antigua and Barbuda government, for the expansion project at the University of the West Indies at Five Islands (UWI) in the Caribbean nation.

Saudi Arabia has hundred’s of billions of dollars that comes from being one of the largest oil exporting nations in the world.

It is not known what criteria is used to choose which country or which projects gets aid, or who originated the idea of a Solar-Power facility in Belize, or the cost estimate for the ‘Solar-Project.

Our research indicate that ‘Solar-Projects’ in the Caribbean, such as the Paradise Park Solar project in Jamaica cost approximately US$65-million, and was estimated to generate 51megawatts. (occupies 197 acres of land )

Jamaica’s Paradise Park Solar Power Generation occupies 197acres or 80 hectares

The Solar Project & Belize’s Power Usage
a profile research of BEL data
Belize’s electricity demands is expected to increase significantly in the next few years, so we did a check on the current yearly demand for electricity.

“BELIZE ELECTRICITY LIMITED (BEL) is the primary distributor of electricity in Belize, The Aggregate energy sold in 2021 was 560.8 gigawatt hours (GWh). BEL serves a customer base of over 107,000 accounts with a peak power demand of 103.5 megawatts (MW) during the year 2022.

The SFD funded Solar Project is indicated as a supply that will generate 60 megawatts.

Written & Compiled by: channel1Belize.com / digitalBelize,LIVE Staff writer – Friday, August 4th. 2023 – channel1belize@gmail.com