- Art Gallery -

 

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Panama

The Panama Canal, by Frederic Jennings Haskin, Illustrated by Ernest Hallen

Panama (Central America and Caribbean)

Introduction ::Panama

Background:

Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela - named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama remained part of Colombia. With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). The Panama Canal was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the complete transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by the end of the century. Certain portions of the Zone and increasing responsibility over the Canal were turned over in the subsequent decades. With US help, dictator Manuel NORIEGA was deposed in 1989. The entire Panama Canal, the area supporting the Canal, and remaining US military bases were transferred to Panama by the end of 1999. In October 2006, Panamanians approved an ambitious plan (estimated to cost $5.3 billion) to expand the Canal. The project, which began in 2007 and could double the Canal's capacity, is expected to be completed in 2014-15.

Geography ::Panama

Location:

Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North
Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica

Geographic coordinates:
9 00 N, 80 00 W

Map references:

Central America and the Caribbean

Area:

total: 75,420 sq km country comparison to the world: 117 land: 74,340 sq km

water: 1,080 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than South Carolina

Land boundaries:

total: 555 km

border countries: Colombia 225 km, Costa Rica 330 km

Coastline:

2,490 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm or edge of continental margin

Climate:

tropical maritime; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season (May to January), short dry season (January to May)

Terrain:

interior mostly steep, rugged mountains and dissected, upland plains; coastal areas largely plains and rolling hills

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Volcan Baru 3,475 m

Natural resources:

copper, mahogany forests, shrimp, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 7.26%

permanent crops: 1.95%

other: 90.79% (2005)

Irrigated land:

430 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

148 cu km (2000)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.82 cu km/yr (67%/5%/28%)

per capita: 254 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

occasional severe storms and forest fires in the Darien area

Environment - current issues:

water pollution from agricultural runoff threatens fishery resources; deforestation of tropical rain forest; land degradation and soil erosion threatens siltation of Panama Canal; air pollution in urban areas; mining threatens natural resources

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto
Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental
Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping,
Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical
Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note:

strategic location on eastern end of isthmus forming land bridge connecting North and South America; controls Panama Canal that links North Atlantic Ocean via Caribbean Sea with North Pacific Ocean

People ::Panama

Population:

3,410,676 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 132

Age structure:

0-14 years: 29.3% (male 501,950/female 481,750)

15-64 years: 63.9% (male 1,085,435/female 1,061,530)

65 years and over: 6.8% (male 106,934/female 122,875) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 27.2 years

male: 26.9 years

female: 27.6 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.463% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 84

Birth rate:

19.71 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 94

Death rate:

4.62 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 197

Net migration rate:

-0.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 140

Urbanization:

urban population: 73% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 2.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.045 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female

total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 11.97 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 139 male: 12.75 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 11.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 77.61 years country comparison to the world: 54 male: 74.85 years

female: 80.5 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.48 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 89

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

1% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 53

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

20,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 79

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

fewer than 1,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 76

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: intermediate

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne disease: dengue fever and malaria (2009)

Nationality:

noun: Panamanian(s)

adjective: Panamanian

Ethnic groups:

mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, white 10%, Amerindian 6%

Religions:

Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%

Languages:

Spanish (official), English 14%; note - many Panamanians bilingual

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 91.9%

male: 92.5%

female: 91.2% (2000 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 14 years

male: 13 years

female: 14 years (2007)

Education expenditures:

3.8% of GDP (2008) country comparison to the world: 115

Government ::Panama

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Panama

conventional short form: Panama

local long form: Republica de Panama

local short form: Panama

Government type:

constitutional democracy

Capital:

name: Panama City

geographic coordinates: 8 58 N, 79 32 W

time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

11 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 territory* (comarca); Bocas del Toro, Comarca Kuna Yala, Comarca Ngobe-Bugle, Chiriqui, Cocle, Colon, Darien, Herrera, Los Santos, Panama, San Blas* (Kuna Yala), and Veraguas

Independence:

3 November 1903 (from Colombia; became independent from Spain 28 November 1821)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 3 November (1903)

Constitution:

11 October 1972; revised in 1978, 1983, 1994, and 2004

Legal system:

based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Justice; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal (since 1 July 2009); Vice President Juan Carlos VARELA (since 1 July 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal (since 1 July 2009); Vice President Juan Carlos VARELA (since 1 July 2009)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms (not eligible for immediate reelection; president and vice president must sit out two additional terms (10 years) before becoming eligible for reelection); election last held on 3 May 2009 (next to be held in 2014)

election results: Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal elected president; percent of vote - Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal 60%, Balbina HERRERA 38%, Guillermo ENDARA Galimany 2%

note: government coalition - CD (Democratic Change), Panamenista, MOLIRENA (Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement), and UP (Patriotic Union Party)

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (71 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: last held on 3 May 2009 (next to be held in May 2014)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRD 26, Panamenista 22, CD 14, UP 4, Independent 2, MOLIRENA 2, PP 1

note: legislators from outlying rural districts chosen on a plurality basis while districts located in more populous towns and cities elect multiple legislators by means of a proportion-based formula

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (nine judges appointed for 10-year terms); five superior courts; three courts of appeal

Political parties and leaders:

Democratic Change or CD [Ricardo MARTINELLI]; Democratic
Revolutionary Party or PRD [Francisco SANCHEZ Cardenas]; Nationalist
Republican Liberal Movement or MOLIRENA [Sergio GONZALEZ-Ruiz];
Panamenista Party [Juan Carlos VARELA Rodriguez] (formerly the
Arnulfista Party); Patriotic Union Party or UP (combination of the
Liberal National Party or PLN and the Solidarity Party or PS)[Anibal
GALINDO]; Popular Party or PP [Milton HENRIQUEZ] (formerly Christian
Democratic Party or PDC)

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Chamber of Commerce; National Civic Crusade; National Council of Organized Workers or CONATO; National Council of Private Enterprise or CONEP; National Union of Construction and Similar Workers (SUNTRACS); Panamanian Association of Business Executives or APEDE; Panamanian Industrialists Society or SIP; Workers Confederation of the Republic of Panama or CTRP

International organization participation:

BCIE, CAN (observer), CSN (observer), FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, SICA, UN, UNASUR (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Jaime Eduardo ALEMAN Healy

chancery: 2862 McGill Terrace NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 483-1407
FAX: [1] (202) 483-8416

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Phyllis M. POWERS

embassy: Edificio 783, Avenida Demetrio Basilio Lakas Panama, Apartado Postal 0816-02561, Zona 5, Panama City

mailing address: American Embassy Panama, Unit 0945, APO AA 34002

telephone: [507] 207-7000
FAX: [507] 317-5568

Flag description:

divided into four, equal rectangles; the top quadrants are white (hoist side) with a blue five-pointed star in the center and plain red; the bottom quadrants are plain blue (hoist side) and white with a red five-pointed star in the center; the blue and red colors are those of the main political parties (Conservatives and Liberals respectively) and the white denotes peace between them; the blue star stands for the civic virtues of purity and honesty, the red star signifies authority and law

National anthem:

name: "Himno Istemno" (Isthmus Hymn)

lyrics/music: Jeronimo DE LA OSSA/Santos A. JORGE

note: adopted 1925

Economy ::Panama

Economy - overview:

Panama's dollarized economy rests primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for three-quarters of GDP. Services include operating the Panama Canal, banking, the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism. Economic growth will be bolstered by the Panama Canal expansion project that began in 2007 and is scheduled to be completed by 2014 at a cost of $5.3 billion - about 25% of current GDP. The expansion project will more than double the Canal's capacity, enabling it to accommodate ships that are now too large to transverse the transoceanic crossway, and should help to reduce the unemployment rate. The United States and China are the top users of the Canal. Panama also plans to construct a metro system in Panama City, valued at $1.2 billion and scheduled to be completed by 2014. Panama's aggressive infrastructure development projects will likely lead the economy to continued growth in 2011. Strong economic performance has not translated into broadly shared prosperity as Panama has the second worst income distribution in Latin America. About 30% of the population lives in poverty, however, during TORRIJOS's term poverty was reduced from 40% to 30% and unemployment dropped from 12% to 6%. Not a CAFTA signatory, Panama in December 2006 independently negotiated a free trade agreement with the US, which, when implemented, will help promote the country's economic growth. Seeking removal from the Organization of Economic Development's gray-list of tax havens, Panama has also recently signed various double taxation treaties with other nations.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$43.48 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 95 $41.37 billion (2009 est.)

$40.4 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$27.2 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

5.1% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 56 2.4% (2009 est.)

10.7% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$12,700 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 90 $12,300 (2009 est.)

$12,200 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 5.8%

industry: 16.6%

services: 77.6% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

1.49 million country comparison to the world: 130 note: shortage of skilled labor, but an oversupply of unskilled labor (2010 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 6%

industry: 18%

services: 76% (2009 est.)

Unemployment rate:

4.4% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 41 6.7% (2009 est.)

Population below poverty line:

28.6% (2006 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 0.8%

highest 10%: 41.4% (2006)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

56.1 (2003) country comparison to the world: 12 48.5 (1997)

Investment (gross fixed):

26.8% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 32

Public debt:

40.8% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 69 44.6% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3.3% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 98 2.4% (2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

8.25% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 115 8.16% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$5.04 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 88 $4.404 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$24.17 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 78 $21.78 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$23.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 74 $20.17 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$8.048 billion (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 75 $6.568 billion (31 December 2008)

$6.219 billion (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:

bananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane, vegetables; livestock; shrimp

Industries:

construction, brewing, cement and other construction materials, sugar milling

Industrial production growth rate:

2% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 128

Electricity - production:

6.322 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 104

Electricity - consumption:

5.17 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 107

Electricity - exports:

124.9 million kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports:

8.74 million kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production:

2 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 115

Oil - consumption:

93,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 77

Oil - exports:

4,803 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 106

Oil - imports:

87,100 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 69

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 146

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 152

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 117

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 145

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 105

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 112

Current account balance:

-$813 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 128 -$2.33 billion (2009 est.)

Exports:

$12.52 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 79 $10.9 billion (2009 est.)

note: includes the Colon Free Zone

Exports - commodities:

bananas, shrimp, sugar, coffee, clothing

Exports - partners:

Greece 21.03%, US 17.63%, Japan 9.87%, Germany 4.28%, Italy 4.27% (2009)

Imports:

$16.05 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 77 $12.93 billion (2009 est.)

note: includes the Colon Free Zone

Imports - commodities:

capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, chemicals

Imports - partners:

Japan 36.21%, Singapore 16.86%, US 12.3%, China 7.84% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$3.525 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 84 $3.028 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$13.85 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 80 $13.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$NA

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$NA

Exchange rates:

balboas (PAB) per US dollar - 1 (2010), 1 (2009), 1 (2008), 1 (2007), 1 (2006)

Communications ::Panama

Telephones - main lines in use:

537,100 (2009) country comparison to the world: 95

Telephones - mobile cellular:

5.677 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 88

Telephone system:

general assessment: domestic and international facilities well developed

domestic: mobile-cellular telephone subscribership has increased rapidly

international: country code - 507; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1), the MAYA-1, and PAN-AM submarine cable systems that together provide links to the US and parts of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to the Central American Microwave System (2008)

Broadcast media:

multiple privately-owned television networks and a government-owned educational TV station; multi-channel cable and satellite TV subscription services are available; more than 100 commercial radio stations (2007)

Internet country code:

.pa

Internet hosts:

9,585 (2010) country comparison to the world: 123

Internet users:

959,800 (2009) country comparison to the world: 104

Transportation ::Panama

Airports:

118 (2010) country comparison to the world: 52

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 54

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5

914 to 1,523 m: 17

under 914 m: 30 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 64

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 11

under 914 m: 52 (2010)

Heliports:

3 (2010)

Railways:

total: 76 km country comparison to the world: 127 standard gauge: 76 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)

Roadways:

total: 11,978 km country comparison to the world: 130 paved: 4,300 km

unpaved: 7,678 km (2002)

Waterways:

800 km (includes the 82-km Panama Canal that is being widened) (2010) country comparison to the world: 72

Merchant marine:

total: 6,379 country comparison to the world: 1 by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 2,383, cargo 1,129, carrier 18, chemical tanker 626, combination ore/oil 3, container 751, liquefied gas 192, passenger 42, passenger/cargo 61, petroleum tanker 576, refrigerated cargo 212, roll on/roll off 100, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 282

foreign-owned: 5,244 (Albania 3, Argentina 7, Australia 5, Azerbaijan 1, Bahamas 7, Bangladesh 3, Belgium 2, Bermuda 15, Brazil 3, Bulgaria 6, Burma 3, Canada 5, Chile 17, China 574, Colombia 2, Croatia 2, Cuba 4, Cyprus 8, Denmark 46, Ecuador 6, Egypt 11, Finland 2, France 13, Gabon 1, Germany 27, Gibraltar 1, Greece 402, Hong Kong 125, India 17, Indonesia 14, Iran 5, Ireland 1, Isle of Man 11, Israel 1, Italy 23, Japan 2347, Jordan 13, Kuwait 12, Latvia 4, Lebanon 2, Lithuania 4, Luxembourg 1, Malaysia 12, Maldives 3, Malta 2, Mexico 6, Monaco 14, Morocco 1, Netherlands 8, Nigeria 7, Norway 89, Oman 8, Pakistan 5, Peru 12, Philippines 6, Poland 3, Portugal 9, Qatar 1, Romania 2, Russia 39, Saudi Arabia 8, Singapore 79, South Korea 366, Spain 40, Sweden 1, Switzerland 22, Syria 42, Taiwan 337, Tanzania 2, Thailand 6, Tunisia 1, Turkey 79, UAE 83, UK 33, Ukraine 11, US 102, Venezuela 8, Vietnam 37, Yemen 4)

registered in other countries: 1 (Honduras 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Balboa, Colon, Cristobal

Military ::Panama

Military branches:

no regular military forces; Panamanian public forces include: Panamanian National Police (PNP), National Air-Naval Service (SENAN), National Border Service (SENAFRONT) (2010)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 878,281 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 719,761

females age 16-49: 719,444 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 31,398

female: 30,182 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

1% of GDP (2006) country comparison to the world: 132

Military - note:

on 10 February 1990, the government of then President ENDARA abolished Panama's military and reformed the security apparatus by creating the Panamanian Public Forces; in October 1994, Panama's Legislative Assembly approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting the creation of a standing military force but allowing the temporary establishment of special police units to counter acts of "external aggression"

Transnational Issues ::Panama

Disputes - international:

organized illegal narcotics operations in Colombia operate within the remote border region with Panama

Illicit drugs:

major cocaine transshipment point and primary money-laundering center for narcotics revenue; money-laundering activity is especially heavy in the Colon Free Zone; offshore financial center; negligible signs of coca cultivation; monitoring of financial transactions is improving; official corruption remains a major problem

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