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Latin America Investment News on Viva Tropical

Here Is Why Panama’s Government Cannot Seem to Advance

Article Summary:

Panama shines in 10 indicators of competitiveness considered to be of first-world quality, but in another 10 is among the most backward nations.

Photo Credit: Capital

Original Article Text From Capital via Google Translate :

The two faces Competitiveness Index

The Panama registered progress in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum (WEF ) are notorious . The country rose nineteen seats in the international ranking in the last four years and now stands at 40th position among the 148 countries that were assessed in the 2013-2014 edition .

That makes it the second most competitive in Latin America , surpassed only by Chile, and the first in Central America ( see box : Competitiveness in Latin America ) .

But a detailed analysis of 114 indicators , grouped into 12 pillars , which formed the basis for qualifying the country , able to detect that although there are reasons to celebrate and advances are significant, there are also reasons to worry and huge pending tasks scale .

Panama was ranked among the top ten countries in the world in ten of these indicators : Foreign Direct Investment (FDI ) as a source of technology transfer, mobile phone subscriptions , Quality of air transport infrastructure , economic impact of the rules for FDI , Quality port infrastructure , soundness of the banking system , accessibility to financial services, government procurement of advanced technology , ease of access to credit and Availability of Financial Services ( See box : the top 10 indicators).

And also posted first- world country’s capacity to attract and retain talent , venture capital availability , Effectiveness of antitrust policy , Tax effect on incentives to invest , Number of days to start a business and Internet access in schools.

But at the same time, was among the 50 worst countries in the world in Independence of the Judiciary , female participation in the labor force , costs of crime and violence for companies, Quality of math and science education , wages and productivity , HIV prevalence rate of secondary enrollment and inflation , among others ( see box : the 10 worst indicators).

In fact , even though Panama has just been rated by Latinvex as the second richest country in Latin America and belongs to the club of the 40 most competitive in the world according to the WEF , in some of these issues are at the country level Africans.

The indicator of HIV prevalence, for example , the position of Panama is the 102 , worse than that recorded by Senegal ( 97) and close to that of countries such as Cape Verde , Liberia and Mauritius.

And something similar happens with the category that evaluates the quality of education in science and mathematics , in which Panama is located at 114 and is surpassed even by Malawi ( 113 ), Bangladesh ( 112 ) Guinea ( 111 ) and Ethiopia (109).

It is quite a paradox . The country is promoted internationally between large multinationals to attract new foreign investment and boasts outstanding infrastructure and economic boom , but has poor grades in education, institutions and fighting corruption , limited availability of scientists and engineers and problems with organized crime and labor productivity .

Advances
However, in some of its weakest points , the country has made ​​significant progress in recent years that are worth evaluating .

For example , three years ago Panama ranked 129 quality indicators and quality primary education in science and math, and 128 in higher education quality , but this year was 96 levels , 114 and 75 of those categories , respectively , which means promotion of 15 to 53 steps in these matters.

How did the country go up 53 levels in the ranking of higher education or 25 in the quality of education in only three years?

Nicolás Ardito Barletta , director of the National Competitiveness Center , associate these developments to the initiatives taken by the Minister of Education, Lucy Molinar , in recent years , which have included curriculum reform in primary schools , rewards and a half , and processes university certification , program development and teacher training pilots to modernize the system .

And also mentioned efforts in training run by the National Vocational Training for Human Development ( Inadeh ) as another factor that has had a positive impact on the progress of the country’s competitiveness .

When asked about the matter, Irene Giménez , partner of the firm Goethals Consulting Corp. , recalled that a good portion of these assessments and weights are based on surveys.

“The problem is that people do not differentiate quality answer ‘ good wishes ‘, which is the prevailing view at this time , according to which ‘ at least the Minister of Education is trying ‘ .

It is also true that it has improved access for the whole issue of scholarships, grants and incentives for children to attend school , but beware because this issue is only part of the equation , “he stressed .

In his view, what should be measured is the permanence and completion time of the children entering the system.

” And the quality should be measured by external evaluations, for example, but not the only , PISA tests , of which Panama was removed . You should also measure how the market responds to local hiring for positions of execution, etc. . And that is quite different to the report , “he said Giménez .

The progress so marked in certain categories may also be related to the change of people who are surveyed to make these measurements . This year, 130 companies participated in the survey, 60 % of them were new and only 40 % had participated before .

“You have to measure what is really happening and the only way to do this is by testing . How can you tell whether or not the system has improved if not they test students , “said Raul Gasteozoro , executive director of the Foundation for Economic and Social Development ( Fudespa ) .

In the next two months , Panama is going to undergo a standardized international test , thanks to an initiative by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO) and the National Secretariat of Science , Technology and Education ( Senacyt ) .

“I fear that the ministry does not want to do, but hope I’m wrong . Without such a systematic analysis process , we’re guessing, are in the dark and we can not really move forward , “he said Gasteozoro .

From the perspective of Fudespa , Panama has to continue to increase their productivity and increasing their competitiveness as the country maintains a poor and archaic educational system , which relies heavily on memory and not the acquisition of knowledge through research , you can Panamanians prepare for insertion into the labor market of the century.

The official view
The Presidency Minister , Roberto Henriquez , was pleased that Panama has managed to stay in 40th in the Global Competitiveness Index .

” All countries are developing projects to improve , so that each year the competition is tougher. It is important to emphasize that we have indicators remained stable and we have consolidated our position on the countries of the region and continue to narrow the gap with Chile, ” he said.
In 2011 , there were 18 points behind Chile and Panama in this ranking.

Now only six.
Of the 12 pillars evaluated in this ranking, Panama made ​​progress in six over the previous year ( Institutions , Health and primary education Higher education and training , labor market efficiency , financial market sophistication and Innovation) , remained in the same position competitive with the rest of the world in two ( Infrastructure and Goods Market Efficiency ) and fell in four ( business Sophistication , market Size, Availability Technology and Macroeconomic Stability).

Regarding progress in health and education , the official said that ” the efforts and Senacyt Meduca are already showing results” and referred the heavy investment has been made in building schools, delivery of school and Universal Scholarship and as new hospitals and equipping of existing centers .

” The construction of the City Hospital will further strengthen the health issue . With respect to this area , we improve on reducing malaria cases , “said the minister.

In terms of progress in the institutional pillar , most of its components showed better grades and projects such as Panama Paperless , Digital Signature interoperability of databases and processes modernizing the state have had to do with this because they have helped facilitate interaction between citizens and the government.

“We know we have much work ahead , but we are on the right path and we must move forward in areas where there is room for improvement ,” he said Henriquez.

Link to Original Article:

From Capital

  • Robert in Canada

    Panama is close to becoming a first world country due to the free enterprise policies of it’s current government.

    Hopefully, the next government will carry on these policies instead of ruining everything for everyone with left-wing policies.

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