Below is a list of confirmed 8 megaprojects and another huge one in the works for 2008-2010.
Panama is a tiny country- if only half of these projects actually get built it will do very well, but most of these projects are going to happen
Megaprojects in Panama Confirmed for 2008-2010:
1.Canal widening: 2.8 billion
2. Petaquilla mine: 3.5 billion
3. Government infrastructure projects : 3 billion
4. Electrical plants: 945 million
5. Rodman Port: 100 million
6. Manzanillo Port Expansion and other ports: 611 million
7. Puerto Armulles oil pipeline: 100 million
8. London Regional project in Howard: 750 million ( a whole city) They broke ground last week.
9. Another project not yet nailed down: Puerto Armuelles Refinery: 8 billion ( Investors; Occidental Petroleum and the country of Qatar)
Negotiations are continuing for this biggie but they are coming along well .
10. Tourism is growing at 10% a year - a million a year and they spend 10 times more than Costa Rican tourists ( mostly because most tourists are businessmen). Panama’s tourism authority just released an excellent tourism master plan. Panama has more attractions than Costa Rica and its tourism industry is in its beginning stages.
After looking at this list, you know why our Panama City hotels have been so full.
Panama like all countries will be effected by the US and worldwide economic downturn which looks like will continue for a couple of years. However, in my opinion Panama will continue to do well economically inspite of the this worldwide downturn. Why? Several reasons. First, inspite of the US situation, these years will be a time of real growth in the developing countries of Latin America. Brazil will lead the way, but a number of factors make this a growth time for Latin America in general. The first reason Panama will do well is that Panama is becoming the Business Capital of Latin American and Caribbean Region. Every week I hear of a new company big and small that is making its corporate HQ in Panama. There are several reasons this is happening. Miami used to be the business capital of Latin America, but since 9/11, businesses in Latin America can no longer consistently get visas for thier employees to go to Miami or anywhere in the USA for that matter. So Latin America needs a new business capital and Panama has it all- the most central location, a modern, relatively safe capital city to live, work and do business and a national airline- Copa with more direct flights to Latin American and the Caribbean than any other airline in Latin America.
Most of the growth in tourism in recent years is actually “business tourists” coming to Panama City. Panama’s tourism will also continue to grow- Panama will become not only a top business destination but as infrastructure and airports are built outside Panama City, it will become a beach, mountain and ecotourism destination as well. Fact is Panama in these areas, has more to offer Costa Rica, and is just now beginning to develop its tourism potential
Apart from the current development of Panama as the business capital of the region, Panama itself has a number of mega-projects in the works that will mean jobs and a constant flow of capital- starting with of course the 5 billion Panama Canal expansion, some major oil pipeline and multimodel transport projects and perhaps a mega-refinery project. Panama has a population of only 3 million- so just a few major projects can make all the difference. In fact, according to CEPAL , Panama’s poverty rate has dropped dramatically in the past 5 years- from 37% to 27%.
Panama has major problems that will make economic progress for all still difficult , The poorest are hard to reach as they are mostly the Indian population on rural, isolated reservations, but with smart planning and a will-to-care they can be reached. Panama’s education system is one of the worst in Latin America in academic results even though Panama spends more than most countries on education. But again all Panama needs is leadership to address this problem because it will have the economic means in the coming years.