Economic Phenomenon in Panamá
Since the separation of Panamá from Colombia in 1903, Panamá has experienced all kinds of economic changes.
Beginning in 1968 and fortunately ending in 1989, the sad military years put the country backwards in every aspect. Since then, however, year after year, with great effort and enormous discipline, Panamanians have put their efforts into a joint venture between the government and private enterprise, with the result that Panamá has made notable progress and is today one of the regional leaders with a booming and enviable economy, expecting to grow at a rate of a minimum of 7% in future years.
Panamá is a democratic country, with not yet 4 millions inhabitants. The main sources of income for Panamá are the canal, services, tourism and some agriculture export products.
Panamá is currently undergoing a political campaign, with elections scheduled for May 4, 2014. There are 3 candidates supported by different parties, and 2 independent candidates. All polls indicate Mr. Arias as a favorite.
The Panamanian constitution does not allow a president to seek re-election until after a 10 year period has passed.
The Panamanian government is divided into 3 branches: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial. Every one is independent from the others.
At the present time, Panamá has several mega-projects undergoing construction. The main one is the expansion of the canal, at $5.3 billion, which will double the present capacity. Another mega-project is the Metro, valued in $1.2 billion, which is expected to be fully operational March 2014, bringing Panamanians total first class public transportation.
The current administration has put in place innumerable social programs, from education to seniors, including programs that have resulted in a considerable reduction of poverty, with a focus of bringing Panamanian citizens a better quality of life. These programs have gained hundreds of international awards from worldwide organizations for their leadership. The First Lady just got an award from Rhode Island Congress, for her efforts fighting autism problems.
The unemployment rate in Panamá is one of the lowest in the continent, and strong tax reform has brought millions of revenue to the country. International investments are booming, and to this point, Panamá projects prosperity and a bright future.
Panamá significantly influences worldwide commerce due the impressive Panamá Canal and the Free Zone, one of the most important in the hemisphere.
The official language of Panamá is Spanish. The normal currency is the US dollar, even though the official currency is the Balboa. However, the Balboa is not in use, other than for coins.
Panamá is considered the second safest country in Central America, after Costa Rica.
Some of the main products for exportation from Panamá are pineapples, mangos, shrimps, corvina (fish), bananas, among others. But due to important trade with other countries, more and more products are chosen for export on a daily basis, complying with the highest standards for exportation to Europe, North America and Asia.
Panamá has become hub of several lines, like ports, airports, logistics, maritime, flagship registry and is tremendously attractive for visitors as a number one destination in tourism.
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