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Latin America Investment News on Viva Tropical

Panama Leads Region With Estimated 7% Growth

Article Summary:

With a robust infrastructure program, an ambitious investment plan and a dynamic service sector, it is estimated that the Panamanian economy will continue to grow at over 7% annually.

Photo Credit: Estrategia y Negocios

Original Article Text From Estrategia y Negocios via Google Translate :

The Conference “Panama: Where the World Meets” March 2, a joint initiative of the Council of the Americas, the World Bank and the Government of Panama, was a unique opportunity to show the comparative advantages that Panama offers investors the world.

Indeed, Panama is experiencing a period of vitality. With a robust infrastructure program (including the Canal expansion and construction of the Metro), an ambitious investment plan and a dynamic service sector, it is estimated that the Panamanian economy will continue to grow at over 7 percent annually in coming years . In the current global context, are good prospects to face two key challenges: to become a generator of opportunities for all Panamanians and regional levels.

With the ongoing process of joining the Secretariat of the Central American Economic Integration (Sieca), Panama could become an engine to accelerate regional integration. Thus, the Central American countries might seek to supplement their economies rationally in order to form a bloc more competitive, taking advantage of economies of scale and strategic location.

Undoubtedly adds value to Panama Central America. But Panama also can benefit from the comparative advantages of its neighbors and business that may arise from a more integrated logistics to bring greater flows of trade for the region through Panama. For example, Panama has a huge volume of transshipment of agricultural products (fruits and vegetables) that come mainly from South America and only a minority of the Central American neighbors. To increase this second flow is needed to invest in major transport links and logistics as well as reduce the high costs and delays associated with inter-border transactions.

Nationally, however, Panama is still a society of social contrasts. Despite its status as upper middle income country, in terms of GDP per capita, and considering its high growth rates, the decline in poverty rates in the country has been relatively modest. Between 1990 and 2009, Panama has reduced poverty and extreme poverty in 13 and 25 percent, respectively, in contrast, Latin America (which grew at a slower rate) experienced reductions of 28 and 41 percent in poverty and extreme poverty in that period .

In recent years, Panama has boosted valuable efforts to reduce poverty and increase access of the poorest public services. Recent efforts to expand the fiscal space and improve performance and efficiency of public sector have enabled the authorities to expand the universal scholarship programs, pension and conditional cash transfers to vulnerable households benefit more. As a result of this expansion, it is expected that the levels of income inequality decrease considerably.

On the other hand and in terms of gender equality, Panama is already a regional leader, achieving close gender gaps in education, health and labor force participation. Moreover, women have overtaken men in achievement in secondary and tertiary education. It is a common trend in other Central American countries, but is especially notable in Panama.

The World Bank remains committed in its support to Panama, with investment, global awareness and financial and technical assistance, to continue on the path of sustainable growth opportunities for all.

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From Estrategia y Negocios

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