Ex-president Ricardo Martinelli liked to cite Singapore as a city for Panama to emulate. On Tuesday, February 27 President Juan Carlos Varela, switched the focus to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) saying it has “many similarities” with his country and that Dubai is an “excellent example” for Latin America.
Perhaps he was referring to the embattled Trump Tower, a copy of a Dubai original, but running at only 30% occupancy
“My country has been a meeting place for more than 500 years, Dubai is today which is why we are here. we are very similar, we are a human, social and economic meeting point,” he said during his speech at the second edition of the Latin American Global Business Forum, which began Tuesday in the Emirate.
Varela said that the base of the Panamanian economy is ” financial services” and that the ports, the canal and its geographical situation “have helped it to be a logistics center, as is Dubai”.
“We have an airport and a channel in a 50-kilometre zone, in addition to direct flights to 200 points around the world, a solid infrastructure and 10,000 teachers who teach English,” he said.
He added that Panama is currently “solving the issue of inequality and restructuring the education system to give more opportunities to citizens and strengthen their empowerment.”
In addition, Panama is betting on a “new technical education” and on “improving its practices” to offer young people “new skills”.
According to Varela, Panama is the Central American country with the most investments and is currently carrying out a $7, billion dollars copper mine project (presumably referring to the Minera investment)
Today, large international companies are based in Panama to do business in the region and benefit from laws that, according to Varela, “protect companies and allow them to act in other countries.”
Panama is organizing in Dubai, coinciding with the celebration of the forum, an event “Investing in Panama”, with the objective of promoting trade and the exchange of relations with the Emirates.
“We want medium and small companies to be encouraged to come to Panama, to interact with other companies that are there to share their experiences,” said Varela
He said that he expects to have a direct flight to the Emirates “soon” and they are hoping to define a scale to reduce the hours of the trip.
Varela signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce that includes the opening of a commercial office in Panama.