Panama: A Paradoxical Country
By Isabella Rolz
Despite the recent shocking realization of the Panama Papers – documents that exposed how powerful individuals have corruptibly used bank accounts and companies to bury their wealth and avert taxes – Panama is contradictorily progressing in economic and social terms.
Recently, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published a colossal leak of documents, named Panama Papers. The papers “reveal a secret network involving associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and business ties between a member of FIFA’s ethic committee and men whom the United States has indicated for corruption,” said CNN.
The leak documents reveal that a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca, helped famous global leaders, politicians and celebrities hide billions of dollars. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, who induced the now famous investigation on the Mossack Fonseca firm, described this association as “one of the world’s five biggest wholesalers of offshore secrecy.”
But, aside from this Panamanian investigation, what else is going on in this country?
“Despite its status of middle-income country in terms of GDP, Panama still remains a society of sharp contrasts,” said the World Bank, adding that “the robust economic growth of today is a historic opportunity for progress in reducing poverty and inequality.”
Panama has successfully reduced its poverty in recent years. During the global financial crisis and recession; from 2007 to 2012, Panama conducted a plan which reduced poverty from 39.9 to 26.2%.
The rise in the Panamanian middle-class as well as a huge decline in inequality, were both factors that help managed the decline of poverty. Additionally, the World Bank confirmed that “a key factor in this remarkable poverty reduction has been economic growth. Over the past decade, Panama has been one of the fastest growing economies worldwide.”
In the near future, economic growth is expected to continue, mainly to create new commercial pathways and foster international and local investment. Without a doubt, it has been the existing link between the economy, the creation of a middle-class and the reduction of inequality that has helped Panama decrease its previous poverty rate.
Despite the bad things occurring in the country of Panama, good things are certainly on the horizon.