Panama City, Panama
Panama has been granted with a privileged geography and location. Historically, Panama has been dependent of world economy and trade. Another important factor is that Panama is a dollarized economy with low inflation rates which provides investment security to investors. The economy is mainly driven by service industries, including the Panama Canal, Free trade zones, financial and medical services. Due to the Panama Channel, logistics operators industry has flourished. Vessel traffic has increased exponentially even beyond the original construction estimates. With increased pressure on reducing transportation cost of goods, the Panama Canal expansion project is already in progress, which will enable larger than Panamax vessels to travel through the channel. Neighboring countries are looking into getting a slice of profit by connecting both oceans. Both Nicaragua (canal) and Colombia (rail link) have been exploring options to drive traffic through their borders. While this remains as an important threat, Panama has been preparing itself getting ahead of the game. In addition, the economic stability, sustained city growth and stricter controls on the financial service sectors have helped Panama to attract foreign investment into the country, allowing GDP growth or even stability during global turmoil. Internally, infrastructure growth investment in roads and transportation is still an opportunity. This will require further attention as it could stagnate the potential economic growth of the city. A collapse in the internal flow of goods and people would quickly impact transportation costs and reduce economic competitiveness. Another opportunity area is education. As the city has grown, demand of skilled workers has significantly increased making it hard for companies to find local talent. This will be an important area to address in order to remain competitive in the future.