In times of global uncertainty, the economic outlooks of most countries are often conservative at best, but economists and investors are now looking to the bright prospects in Panama.
Eco-tourism, real estate, banking, international shipping and the world’s second largest free trade zone mean big business flows through the isthmus. Always a strong economy in Latin America, with low inflation (thanks to a US dollar currency), a stable democracy and key geographical position, it is now poised to become a powerhouse player in the region.
In fact, the International Monetary Fund predicts Panama is set to grow more than any other Latin American country this year.
- Real Estate
- International shipping
- Colon Free Trade Zone
- US dollar economy
- Low inflation
- Panama Canal
- Steady GDP growth
- Panama Canal Expansion Plan
- Free Trade Agreement with US
- $6 billion regional refinery
- 14 thermal and hydroelectric plants
Panama has for some time now been in a privileged position, not just in Central America, but in the western hemisphere. The Panama Canal, built at the start of the 20th century, turned this tiny tropical haven into a major shipping hub for the world’s ocean trade.
With the Canal came foreign business and residents, infusing the sleepy paradise with a new energy and bringing the momentum of modernization. Today, Panama is set to take another momentous step into a new chapter of its history.
Tourism now stands as country’s top sources of income, receiving more than 700,000 visitors annually to its pristine beaches, vibrant rainforests and cosmopolitan capital city.
The influx of visitors has also brought with it a boom in construction— hotels, condominiums, resort complexes and peripheral services such as restaurants and shops, are springing up along the country’s famous coasts and in Panama City in particular.
The Panama Canal itself will receive a $5 billion upgrade in the coming years, promising to create up to 50,000 new jobs in the region, as well as ensuring the Canal’s competitiveness in world shipping for years to come. In fact, analysts predict the expanded canal will directly account for doubling the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, and increase business investment in the Canal Zone by 40 per cent.
New projects to further stimulate the economy include a free trade agreement with the United States, currently in negotiation, the recent announcement by Occidental of a $6 billion regional refinery, and 14 new thermal and hydroelectric plants.
These factors and more, have given Panama a unique position in the Latin American world — as a economy growth leader and a stable, thriving market for business and investment.