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Panama’s Bright Future
By Juan Carlos Martinez
You’ll be at one with nature as you soar through the bright Panamanian skies and peek from the window of a Sikorsky – 76 helicopter into the tropical mountains and forest-filled valleys below. A towering edifice of steel spans both sides of the Panama Canal, as the expanse of buildings across Panama City create a gleaming skyline, representative of Panama’s ongoing development.
Since 2001 the Central American isthmus has maintained a steady growth, and with its diversity of landscape, stable infrastructure, affordable cost of living and newly elected government. It is easy to see why thousands of people from all over the world have chosen Panama as their second home. Additionally numerous expats from the USA, Canada, England and other Latin American countries call Panama home. Panama is increasingly popular among retirement age types. Those looking to hedge against the recession in their country of origin.
In addition to the landscape options that span two oceans and ascend steep, volcanic mountains, Panama has mild climates that, depending on the region, range from steamy and tropical to airy and breezy. There is something for everyone depending on ones tastes.
But the climate isn’t the only thing that is heating up in Panama. Over the last six years, a number of international corporations have opened offices in Panama City where first-world benefits are available for third-world prices. Tocumen International airport currently operates daily flights to 42 countries, including a short flight to Houston, Miami, Orlando, New York and DC making Panama a compelling choice for Americans looking for an international lifestyle.
The gateway to South America offers first-rate incentives to attract foreign investors to the area, as well. In addition to its conservative banking industry and stable US-dollar based economy, property taxes are waived for 20 years for people who invest in Panama and no taxes are charged on earnings made outside of the country.
According to an article recently published on Business Week’s website, The Migration Policy Institute located in Washington DC, claims the primary factors enticing professional-class Americans to immigrate to Panama are its affordable health care and celebrated Pensioner Program. Under Panama’s Pensioner Program, retirees pay half price for entertainment, such as movies, hotels and plane tickets and enjoy drastic savings on their doctors’ visits, professional services and electric bills, making it one of the best retiree programs in Latin America.
And Panama’s government is showing no sign of closing their doors. Newly-elected president and supermarket tycoon, Ricardo Martinelli, 57, is known for his friendliness to foreign investors. He graduated from Staunton Military Academy in Virginia and went on to receive a BA in Business from the University of Arkansas. He later graduated with an MBA from INCAE Business School, rounding out his foreign education experience in neighboring Costa Rica. Martinelli served as the Minister of Panama Canal Affairs during the transition of the Canal from the United States to Panama and is an ambitious pro-business advocate, ensuring Panama’s bright future in the international business world won’t soon fade away.
Copyright© 2011, Pan Am Publishing S.A., Republic of Panama