In the News from Panama

Analysts Predict Robust Economic Growth for Panama

By Duncan McGowan

Panama’s economy will likely see another growth spurt in 2019, fueled by infrastructure projects and growing exports, according to a leading Panama financial consultancy.

Panama’s GDP is expected to grow by 5 percent in 2019, said Felipe Chapman, director of the Indesa consultancy, during a talk at the Santa Maria Hotel, Golf & Resort. The launch of the $6 billion Cobre Panama copper mine will provide one catalyst, but there are several other elements driving the economy, he said.

Investment projects will “reactivate construction and tourism,” which will offer “interesting opportunities,” Chapman said. He also believes a new strategy for the Amador Convention Center, set to open in the next year, will make it “bigger than Atlapa,” the current convention center, according to the El Capital Financiero coverage.

Infrastructure projects such as the expansion of the Panama metro and a new bridge over the Panama Canal will also create new jobs and bring more investment into the country.

In his talk, Chapman recalled that the growth of the Panama economy “is linked to a process of self-discovery, with institutions created by Panamanians, taking advantage of global opportunities,” El Capital Financiero reports. The Colon Free Zone, banking laws, the privatization of ports and the expansion of the Panama Canal were all growth measures fueled by internal Panama forces.

The Panama economy has gone through a fundamental transformation, Chapman noted. In the 1990s agriculture represented 8 percent of the country’s production and construction was less than 2 percent. Now construction is 18 percent of the economy.

Panama has now entered the list of the world’s high-income countries, based on World Bank formulas, Marco Fernández, a partner of Indesa told the gathering. There are only 78 countries on the list, he said, noting inclusion on the list “is a good sign for markets and investors.”