February 1, 2001
One year after the departure of US military forces, Panama is holding its own. While the economic growth rate of 1.7% last year was slow, the economy avoided sliding into the recession that many had feared. Of course, the loss of the $350 million that US military forces used to spend annually in Panama has left a vacuum. But the Panamanian government is making the most of the infrastructure the US built up after 97 years in the country, and industries like construction and banking are healthy.
With the Panama Canal Zone finally under domestic control, the country is attempting to redefine its role in the global shipping industry. Millions of dollars of foreign investment have poured in
Panama's economy didn't take the nosedive many feared it would when the US military departed just over a year ago. Instead, the country has taken advantage of the existing infrastructure to fuel economic growth in the shipping, tourism and construction sectors.