The Republic of Panama is located at the heart of the American continent and became an independent country upon its separation from Colombia in 1903. It has a geographical extension of 78.200 km2 and over 3 million inhabitants. Due to its position as a land bridge between north and South America, you can find over 10,000 varieties of plants and 1,000 species of birds in Panama. Immigrants from around the world have come to Panama over the centuries attracted by its unique geographical position and its vocation of service to the world commerce.
The official language is Spanish, although many Panamanians are also fluent in English. Despite the fact that the Balboa is the official currency, the U.S. dollar is legal tender in Panama and there are no exchange control regulations affecting the movement of funds to and from the country.
Panama has the second fastest growing economy in Latin America and the second most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the Global Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum (WEF). Its capital, Panama City, is one of the most modern cities in all of Latin America.
Because of its key geographic location, the economy is primarily based on a well-developed service sector heavily weighted towards banking, commerce, tourism and trade, where the recently expanded Panama Canal also plays an important role.
Panama’s efficient port services at both ends of the canal play a major role in the logistic services offered by the country. On the other hand, the enactment of the Banking Act in 1970 enabled the development of Panama as an international banking center that now hosts more than 90 banks, which have been complemented by Trust legislation and an ensuing Securities market.