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Overall poverty falls, but inequality persists in Panama

ISSN:1089-1560
LADB Article ID: 80302
Category/Department: Panama
Date: 2017-05-25
By: Louisa Reynolds

Fueled by canal revenue, foreign investment, and a massive real estate boom, Panama has continued to record high levels of economic growth over the past decade. However, two recent studies published by the Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas (Ministry of the Economy and Finance, MEF) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) suggest that inequality persists despite the country’s sustained economic boom. According to the World Bank, the Panamanian economy grew by 7.2% between 2001 and 2013, more than double the Latin American average. In 2014, Panama recorded a 6.1% economic growth, a pace that decreased slightly to 5.8% and 5.4% in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The World Bank’s forecast for 2017 remains at 5.4%, rising to 5.5% in 2018. According to a study published by the MEF last February, the number of Panamanians living below the poverty line fell by 4.6% between 2011 and 2015. The most drastic reduction was recorded in 2015, when the number of Panamanians living in poverty fell by 2.8%. The MEF’s figures also show that poverty has barely decreased in the indigenous territories, known as comarcas.

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