Panama 2002Panama

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Sightseeing Pass

Panama - Introduction 2002
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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 the end of 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. The entire Panama Canal the area supporting the Canal and remaining US military bases were turned over to Panama by or on 31 December 1999.

Panama - Geography 2002
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Location: Middle 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 referenceCentral America and the Caribbean

Total: 78,200 km²
Water: 2,210 km²
Land: 75,990 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than South Carolina

Land boundaries
Total: 555 km
Border countries: (2) Colombia 225 km; , Costa Rica 330 km

Coastline: 2,490 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 24 NM
Exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Territorial sea: 12 NM

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

Extremes lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: Volcan de Chiriqui 3,475 m

Natural resources: copper mahogany forests shrimp hydropower
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 6.72%
Permanent crops: 2.08%
Other: 91.2% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 320 km² (1998 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: occasional severe storms and forest fires in the Darien area

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 2002
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Population: 2,882,329 (July 2002 est.)
Growth rate: 1.26% (2002 est.)
Below poverty line: 37% (1999 est.)

Noun: Panamanian
Adjective: Panamanian

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

Note: many Panamanians bilingual

Religions: Roman Catholic 85% Protestant 15%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 29.6% (male 433,494; female 418,120)
15-64 years: 64.3% (male 939,550; female 914,646)
65 years and over: 6.1% (male 84,130; female 92,389) (2002 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.26% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 18.6 births/1000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 4.96 deaths/1000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.04 migrant(s)/1000 population (2002 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

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
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
International agreements signed but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.04 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male/female
Total population: 1.02 male/female (2002 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 19.57 deaths/1000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 75.89 years
Female: 78.74 years (2002 est.)
Male: 73.14 years

Total fertility rate: 2.22 children born/woman (2002 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Adult prevalence rate: 1.54% (1999 est.)
People living with hivaids: 24,000 (1999 est.)
Deaths: 1200 (1999 est.)

Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 90.8%
Male: 91.4%
Female: 90.2% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Panama - Government 2002
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Panama
Conventional short form: Panama
Local short form: Panama
Local long form: Republica de Panama

Government type: constitutional democracy

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* and 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 1978 1983 and 1994

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: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Mireya Elisa MOSCOSO Rodriguez (since 1 September 1999); First Vice President Arturo Ulises VALLARINO (since 1 September 1999); Second Vice President Dominador 'Kaiser' Baldonero BAZAN Jimenez (since 1 September 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Head of government: President Mireya Elisa MOSCOSO Rodriguez (since 1 September 1999); First Vice President Arturo Ulises VALLARINO (since 1 September 1999); Second Vice President Dominador 'Kaiser' Baldonero BAZAN Jimenez (since 1 September 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
Elections: president and vice presidents elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 2 May 1999 (next to be held NA May 2004)
Note: government coalition - PA, MOLIRENA, Democratic Change, MORENA, PLN, PS
Election results: Mireya Elisa MOSCOSO Rodriguez elected president; percent of vote - Mireya Elisa MOSCOSO Rodriguez (PA) 44%, Martin TORRIJOS (PRD) 37%

Legislative branch
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRD 34, PA 18, PDC 5, PS 4, MOLIRENA 3, PLN 3, Democratic Change 2, PRC 1, MORENA 1
Note: legislators from outlying rural districts are chosen on a plurality basis while districts located in more populous towns and cities elect multiple legislators by means of a proportion-based formula
Elections: last held 2 May 1999 (next to be held NA May 2004)

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: Arnulfista Party or PA [Mireya Elisa MOSCOSO Rodriguez]; Civic Renewal Party or PRC [Serguei DE LA ROSA]; Democratic Change [Ricardo MARTINELLI]; Democratic Revolutionary Party or PRD [Martin TORRIJOS]; National Liberal Party or PLN [Raul ARANGO Gasteazopo]; National Renovation Movement or MORENA [Pedro VALLARINO Cox]; Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement or MOLIRENA [Ramon MORALES]; Popular Party or PP (formerly Christian Democratic Party or PDC) [Ruben AROSEMENA]; Solidarity Party or PS [Samuel LEWIS Galindo]


Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Roberto ALFARO
In the us fax: [1] (202) 483-8,416
In the us consulates general: Atlanta, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tampa
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 483-1407
In the us chancery: 2,862 McGill Terrace NW, Washington, DC 20,008
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Linda Ellen WATT
From the us embassy: Avenida Balboa and Calle 37, Apartado Postal 6,959, Panama City 5
From the us mailing address: American Embassy Panama, Unit 0945, APO AA 34,002
From the us telephone: [507] 207-7,000
From the us fax: [507] 227-1964

Flag descriptionflag of Panama: 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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Panama - Economy 2002
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Economy overview: Panama's economy is based primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for three-fourths of GDP. Services include the Panama Canal banking the Colon Free Zone insurance container ports flagship registry and tourism. A slump in Colon Free Zone and agricultural exports the global slowdown and the withdrawal of US military forces held back economic growth in 2000-01. The government plans public works programs tax reforms and new regional trade agreements in order to stimulate growth.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 1.4% (2001 est.)

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: 7%
Industry: 17%
Services: 76% (2000 est.)

Agriculture products: bananas rice corn coffee sugarcane vegetables; livestock; shrimp

Industries: construction petroleum refining brewing cement and other construction materials sugar milling

Industrial production growth rate: 2% (2000 est.)

Labor force
Note: shortage of skilled labor, but an oversupply of unskilled labor (2000 est.)
By occupation agriculture: 21%
By occupation industry: 18%
By occupation services: 61% (1995 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 13% (2000 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: 37% (1999 est.)

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10: 1%
Highest 10: 36% (1997) (1997)

Distribution of family income gini index: 49 (1997)

Revenues: $1.9 billion
Expenditures: $2 billion, including capital expenditures of $471 million (2000 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 1% (2000 est.)

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: $5.9 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Commodities: bananas shrimp sugar coffee clothing
Partners: US 45.9% Sweden 8.1% Benelux 5.3% Costa Rica 5.1% (2000 est.)

Imports: $6.7 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Commodities: capital goods crude oil foodstuffs consumer goods chemicals
Partners: US 33.1% Ecuador 7.2% Venezuela 6.6% Japan 5.5% (2000 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $7.6 billion (2001 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: balboas per US dollar - 1.000 (fixed rate)

Panama - Energy 2002
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 4.894 billion kWh (2000)
By source fossil fuel: 29%
By source hydro: 69%
By source other: 1% (2000)
By source nuclear: 0%

Electricity consumption: 4.651 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity exports: 20 million kWh (2000)

Electricity imports: 120 million kWh (2000)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Panama - Communication 2002
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: 17,000 (1997)

Telephone system
General assessment: domestic and international facilities well developed
Domestic: NA
International: 1 coaxial submarine cable; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to the Central American Microwave System

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .pa

Internet users: 45,000 (2000)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Panama - Military 2002
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $128 million (FY99)
Percent of gdp: 1.3% (FY99)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Panama - Transportation 2002
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 107 (2001)
With paved runways total: 41
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 5
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 13
With paved runways under 914 m: 21 (2002)
With unpaved runways total: 62
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 12
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 50 (2002)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 41
Over 3047 m: 1
2438 to 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 5
914 to 1523 m: 13
Under 914 m: 21 (2002)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 62
914 to 1523 m: 12
Under 914 m: 50 (2002)


Pipelines: crude oil 130 km (2001)

Total: 355 km
Broad gauge: 76 km 1.524-m gauge
Narrow gauge: 279 km 0.914-m gauge (2001)


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

Merchant marine
Total: 4,838 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 118,878,358 GRT/180,588,102 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 1,445, cargo 907, chemical tanker 337, combination bulk 73, combination ore/oil 18, container 560, liquefied gas 207, livestock carrier 5, multi-functional large-load carrier 12, passenger 38, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 542, railcar carrier 2, refrigerated cargo 283, roll on/roll off 104, short-sea passenger 38, specialized tanker 34, vehicle carrier 230
Note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Albania 2, Angola 1, Antigua and Barbuda 1, Argentina 11, Australia 13, Austria 2, Bahamas, The 5, Belgium 2, Belize 6, Brazil 6, British Virgin Islands 8, Cambodia 1, Canada 9, Chile 12, China 259, Colombia 14, Croatia 2, Cuba 20, Cyprus 3, Denmark 3, Dominican Republic 1, Ecuador 3, Egypt 16, Equatorial Guinea 1, France 9, Germany 72, Greece 523, Haiti 1, Honduras 3, Hong Kong 299, Iceland 1, India 18, Indonesia 48, Ireland 1, Israel 5, Italy 9, Japan 1642, Kenya 1, Kuwait 2, Latvia 8, Liberia 5, Lithuania 1, Malaysia 18, Malta 2, Marshall Islands 1, Mexico 8, Monaco 112, Netherlands 19, Netherlands Antilles 1, Nigeria 3, Norway 98, Paraguay 1, Peru 15, Philippines 49, Poland 5, Portugal 7, Puerto Rico 2, Romania 7, Russia 12, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 5, Saudi Arabia 4, Seychelles 1, Singapore 112, South Africa 3, South Korea 342, Spain 52, Sri Lanka 3, Sudan 1, Sweden 2, Switzerland 81, Taiwan 334, Thailand 14, Trinidad and Tobago 1, Tunisia 1, Turkey 4, Ukraine 1, United Arab Emirates 54, United Kingdom 73, United States 115, Venezuela 6, Virgin Islands (UK) 8 (2002 est.)

Ports and terminals

Panama - Transnational issues 2002
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Disputes international: none

Refugees and internally displaced persons

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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