Panama 1991Panama

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Panama - Introduction 1991
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Background: 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. On 7 September 1977 an agreement was signed for the complete transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by 1999. Certain portions of the Zone and increasing responsibility over the Canal were turned over in the intervening years. With US help dictator Manuel NORIEGA was deposed in 1989.

Panama - Geography 1991
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Geographic coordinates

Map reference


Land boundaries:
555 km total
Colombia 225 km, Costa Rica 330 km

Coastline: 2,490 km

Maritime claims: Territorial sea:200 nm

Climate: tropical; 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


Natural resources: copper, mahogany forests, shrimp
Land use

Land use: arable land: 6%; permanent crops: 2%; meadows and pastures 15%; forest and woodland 54%; other 23%; includes irrigated NEGL%

Irrigated land

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards

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

Panama - People 1991
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Population: 2,476,281 (July 1991), growth rate 2.1% (1991)

Nationality: noun--Panamanian(s; adjective--Panamanian

Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Indian and European ancestry) 70%, West Indian 14%, white 10%, Indian 6%

Languages: Spanish (official; English as native tongue 14%; many Panamanians bilingual

Religions: Roman Catholic over 93%, Protestant 6%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate: 26 births/1000 population (1991)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1000 population (1991)

Net migration rate: NEGL migrants/1000 population (1991)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: dense tropical forest in east and northwest

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 21 deaths/1000 live births (1991)

Life expectancy at birth: 72 years male, 76 years female (1991)

Total fertility rate: 3.0 children born/woman (1991)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy: 88% (male 88%, female 88%) age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Panama - Government 1991
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Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Panama

Government type: centralized republic

Capital: Panama

Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (provincias, singular--provincia) and 1 territory* (comarca; Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Cocle, Colon, Darien, Herrera, Los Santos, Panama, San Blas*, Veraguas

Dependent areas

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

National holiday: Independence Day, 3 November (1903)

Constitution: 11 October 1972; major reforms adopted April 1983

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

International law organization participation


Suffrage: universal and compulsory at age 18

Executive branch: Chief of State and Head of Government--President Guillermo ENDARA (since 20 December 1989, elected 7 May 1989; First Vice President Ricardo ARIAS Calderon (since 20 December 1989, elected 7 May 1989; Second Vice President Guillermo FORD (since 20 December 1989, elected 7 May 1989)

Legislative branch: note--the Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF) ceased to exist as a military institution shortly after the United States invaded Panama on 20 December 1989; President Endara is attempting to restructure the forces into a civilian police service under the new name of Panamanian Public Forces (PPF; a Council of Public Security and National Defense under Menalco Solis in the office of the president coordinates the activities of the security forces; the Institutional Protection Service under Carlos Bares is attached to the presidency

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justicia) currently being reorganized

Political parties and leaders


Diplomatic representation
In the us: Ambassador Jaime FORD; Chancery at 2,862 McGill Terrace NW, Washington DC 20,008; telephone (202) 483-1407; the status of the Consulates General and Consulates has not yet been determined; US--Ambassador Deane R. HINTON; Embassy at Avenida Balboa and Calle 38, Apartado 6,959, Panama City 5 (mailing address is Box E, APO Miami 34,002; telephone [507] 27-1777

Flag descriptionflag of Panama: divided into four, equal rectangles; the top quadrants are white with a blue five-pointed star in the center (hoist side) and plain red, the bottom quadrants are plain blue (hoist side) and white with a red five-pointed star in the center Panama PanamaPanama

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Panama - Economy 1991
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Economy overview: GDP expanded by an estimated 5% in 1990, after contracting 1% in 1988 and 14% in 1989. Political stability prompted greater business confidence and consumer demand, leading to increased production by the agricultural, commercial, manufacturing, construction, and utilities sectors. The transportation sector and government services declined slightly due to slack early-1990 transits through the Panama Canal, lower oil pipeline flowthrough, and Panama City's budget cuts. Imports and exports posted gains during the year, and government revenues were up sharply over 1989's levels.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: accounts for 12% of GDP (1990 est.), 25% of labor force (1989; crops--bananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane; livestock; fishing; importer of food grain, vegetables, milk products

Industries: manufacturing and construction activities, petroleum refining, brewing, cement and other construction material, sugar mills, paper products

Industrial production growth rate: 4.8% (1990 est.)

Labor force: 770,472 (1987; government and community services 27.9%; agriculture, hunting, and fishing 26.2%; commerce, restaurants, and hotels 16%; manufacturing and mining 10.5%; construction 5.3%; transportation and communications 5.3%; finance, insurance, and real estate 4.2%; Canal Zone 2.4%; shortage of skilled labor, but an oversupply of unskilled labor
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 20% (1990)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues $1.7 billion; expenditures $1.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $70 million (1990 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $355 million (f.o.b., 1990 est.)
Commodities: bananas 27%, shrimp 21%, clothing 6%, coffee 4%, sugar 4%
Partners: US 90%, Central America and Caribbean, EC (1989 est.)

Imports: $1,250 million (f.o.b., 1990)
Commodities: foodstuffs 13%, capital goods 12%, crude oil 12%, consumer goods, chemicals
Partners: US 35%, Central America and Caribbean, EC, Mexico, Venezuela (1989 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $5 billion (December 1990 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: balboas (B) per US$1--1.000 (fixed rate)

Panama - Energy 1991
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Electricity access

Electricity production

Electricity consumption

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Panama - Communication 1991
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Panama - Military 1991
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Military expenditures
Percent of gdp: $75.5 million, 1.5% of GDP (1990)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Panama - Transportation 1991
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 113 total, 101 usable; 41 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 2 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 15 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: crude oil, 130 km



Waterways: 800 km navigable by shallow draft vessels; 82 km Panama Canal

Merchant marine: 2,932 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 41,314,623 GRT/66,226,104 DWT; includes 22 passenger, 22 short-sea passenger, 5 passenger-cargo, 1,060 cargo, 188 refrigerated cargo, 165 container, 62 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 105 vehicle carrier, 8 livestock carrier, 5 multifunction large-load carrier, 301 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 175 chemical tanker, 27 combination ore/oil, 91 liquefied gas, 8 specialized tanker, 651 bulk, 37 combination bulk; note--all but 5 are foreign owned and operated; the top 4 foreign owners are Japan 36%, Greece 9%, Hong Kong 9%, and the US 8%; (China owns at least 127 ships, Vietnam 10, Yugoslavia 10, Cuba 5, Cyprus 3, and USSR 2)

Ports and terminals

Panama - Transnational issues 1991
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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