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Capital: Panama City
Population: 2,800,000
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Panama Map


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 references: Central America and the Caribbean

total: 78,200 sq km
land: 75,990 sq km
water: 2,210 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than South Carolina

Land boundaries:
total: 555 km
border countries: Colombia 225 km, Costa Rica 330 km

Coastline: 2,490 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nm

Climate: tropical; 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

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

Natural resources: copper, mahogany forests, shrimp

Land use:
arable land: 7%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 20%
forests and woodland : 44%
other: 27% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 320 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: water pollution from agricultural runoff threatens fishery resources; deforestation of tropical rain forest; land degradation

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, 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
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - 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


Population: 2,882,329 (July 2002 est.)

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.)

Population growth rate: 1.26% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 18.6 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 4.96 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years : 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 19.57 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population:75.89 years
male: 73.14 years
female : 78.74 years (2002 est.)

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

noun: Panamanian(s)
adjective: Panamanian

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

Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%

Languages: Spanish (official), English 14%
note: many Panamanians bilingual

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.8%
male: 91.4%
female : 90.2% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Panama
conventional short form: Panama
local long form: Republica de Panama
local short form: Panama

Data code: PM

Government type: constitutional republic

National 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

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 April 1983

Legal system: based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Justice; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

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: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (71 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections : llast held 2 May 1999 (next to be held NA May 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - 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
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

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (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]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Chamber of Commerce; National Civic Crusade; National Council of Organized Workers or CONATO; National Union of Construction and Similar Workers (SUNTRACS); National Council of Private Enterprise or CONEP; Panamanian Association of Business Executives or APEDE; Panamanian Industrialists Society or SIP; Workers Confederation of the Republic of Panama or CTRP

International organization participation: CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Guillermo "Billy" FORD
chancery: 2862 McGill Terrace NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-1407
consulate(s) general : Atlanta, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Tampa

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission:Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Frederick A. BECKER
embassy: Avenida Balboa and Calle 38, Apartado 6959, Panama City 5
mailing address : American Embassy Panama, Unit 0945, APO AA 34002
telephone: [507] 227-1377
FAX: [507] 227-1964

Flag description: 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


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.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $16.9 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:1.4% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $5,900 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 7%
industry : 17%
services: 76% (2000 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 1% (2000 est.)

Labor force:
total : 1.1 million (2000 est.)
by occupation: government and community services 31.8%, agriculture, hunting, and fishing 26.8%, commerce, restaurants, and hotels 16.4%, manufacturing and mining 9.4%, construction 3.2%, transportation and communications 6.2%, finance, insurance, and real estate 4.3%
note: shortage of skilled labor, but an oversupply of unskilled labor

Unemployment rate: 13% (2000 est.)

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

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

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

Electricity - capacity: 1.1405 billion kW (1995)

Electricity - production: 4.894 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 4.651 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: bananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane, vegetables; livestock; fishing (shrimp)

total value: $5.9 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: bananas 43%, shrimp 11%, sugar 4%, clothing 5%, coffee 2%
partners: US 45.9%, Sweden 8.1%, Benelux 5.3%, Costa Rica 5.1% (2000 est.)

total value: $6.7 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: capital goods 21%, crude oil 11%, foodstuffs 9%, consumer goods, chemicals
partners:US 33.1%, Ecuador 7.2%, Venezuela 6.6%, Japan 5.5% (2000 est.)

Debt - external: $7.6 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: $197.1 million (1995)

Currency: 1 balboa(PAB) = 100 centesimos; US dollar (USD)

Exchange rates: balboas (B) per US$1 - 1.000 (fixed rate)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 396,000 (1997)

Telephone system: 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

Radio broadcast stations: AM 101, FM 134, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: 815,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 38 (including repeaters) (1998)

Televisions: 510,000 (1997)


total : 355 km
broad gauge: 76 km 1.524-m gauge
narrow gauge: 279 km 0.914-m gauge (2001)

total: 11,592 km
paved :4,079 km (including 30 km of expressways)
unpaved: 7,513 km (2000)

Waterways:882 km; 800 km navigable by shallow draft vessels; 82 km Panama Canal

Pipelines: crude oil 130 km

Ports and harbors: Balboa, Cristobal, Coco Solo, Vacamonte

Merchant marine:
total: 44,838 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.)

Airports: 107 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 42
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m :21 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 65
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m :53 (2001)


Military branches: Panamanian Public Forces (PPF; includes the National Police, National Maritime Service, National Air Service, and Institutional Protective Service); Judicial Technical Police; note - the Constitution prohibits armed forces

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 789,973 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 540,052 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $128 million (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.3% (FY99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

Illicit drugs: major cocaine transshipment point and major drug money-laundering center; minor producer of coca leaf; active eradication program