Coat of Arms
President Juan Carlos Varela
»Unitary presidential constitutional republic
»75,517 km2 (118th)
» Per capita -$21,634
» Per capita -$12,744
»Balboa, United States dollar(PAB, USD)
Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metro area is home to nearly half of the country’s 3.6 million people.
Panama was inhabited by several indigenous tribes prior to settlement by the Spanish in the 16th century. It broke away from Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela named the Republic of Gran Colombia.
When Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada remained joined, eventually becoming the Republic of Colombia.
With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the Panama Canal to be built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the total transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama by the end of the 20th century, which culminated on 31 December 1999.
Revenue from canal tolls continues to represent a significant portion of Panama’s GDP, although commerce, banking, and tourism are major and growing sectors. Panama has the second largest economy in Central America and is also the fastest growing economy and largest per capita consumer in Central America.
Panama’s economy, because of its key geographic location, is mainly based on a well-developed service sector especially commerce, tourism, and trading. The handover of the Canal and military installations by the United States has given rise to large construction projects.
A project to build of a third set of locks for the Panama Canal A was overwhelmingly approved in referendum (with low voter turnout, however) on October 22, 2006. The official estimated cost of the project is US$5.25 billion.
The canal is of major economic importance because it pumps millions of dollars from toll revenue to the national economy and provides massive employment.
Transfer of control of the Canal to the Panamanian government began in 1999, according to the Torrijos–Carter Treaties of 1977, after being controlled by the US for 85 years.
Copper and gold deposits are being developed by foreign investors, to the dismay of some environmental groups, as all of the projects are located within protected areas
Panama is ranked 47 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of 0.449375
Top 5 Products exported by Panama
- Refined Petroleum (17%),
- Passenger and Cargo Ships (15%),
- Packaged Medicaments (7.0%),
- Bananas (4.1%),
- Special Purpose Ships (3.9%)
Top 5 Export destinations of Panama
- Ecuador (30%),
- South Korea (10%),
- Guatemala (9.7%),
- Costa Rica (9.7%),
- United States (4.8%)
Panama: natural, charismatic, and multicolored. A country that, geographically, barely shows up on the map was discovered in the past by ancestors who didn’t even know what stunning landscapes they were about to discover.
Now such scenery is a great attraction for tourists who come to this small, tropical country and take away an experience that they broadcast internationally.
Tourism in Panama is rapidly growing. It has maintained its growth over the past 5 years due to government tax and price discounts to foreign guests and retirees. These economic incentives have caused Panama to be regarded as a relatively good place to retire in the world.
Real estate developers in Panama have increased the number of tourism destinations in the past five years because of the interest for these visitor incentives. 2,200,000 tourists arrived in 2012
The number of tourists from Europe grew by 23.1% during the first nine months of 2008. According to the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP), from January to September, 71,154 tourists from Europe entered Panama, which is 13,373 more than figures for same period the previous year.
Most of the European tourists were Spaniards (14,820), followed by Italians (13,216), French (10,174) and British (8,833). There were 6997 from Germany, the most populous country in the European Union. Europe has become one of the key markets to promote Panama as a tourist destination.
In 2012, 4.345.5 million entered into the Panamanian economy as a result of tourism. This accounted for 9.5% of gross domestic product in the country, surpassing other productive sectors.
Panama’s Law No. 9 is still the most modern and comprehensive law for the promotion of tourism investment in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In so-called Special Tourism Zones, Law 8 offers incentives such as 100% exemption from income tax, real estate tax, import duties for construction materials and equipment, and other taxes.
Panama has declared different parts of the country as Special Tourism Zones which are benefited with multiple tax exemptions and tax holidays.
- The Panama Canal – together with Suez one of the world’s most important interoceanic canals and probably the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking about Panama.
- Moreover, there are some UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country:
- Casco Viejo, or the Old Town of Panama City
- Three national parks: Darien National Park, Coiba National Marine Park and La Amistad International Park (shared with Costa Rica).
- The fortifications of Portobelo and San Lorenzo.