From The Report: Panama 2014
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Since gaining control of the Panama Canal in 1999, the country has recorded impressive economic expansion. GDP growth averaged 6.8% from 2000 to 2012, according to the World Bank, and double-digit growth for four of the past seven years, government data show. Public sector spending on national infrastructure has emerged as the primary driver of expansion in the past few years as the country prepares for the post-Panamax era of the canal. The canal’s impact both domestically and internationally is set to expand substantially upon the completion of a third set of locks, guaranteeing long-term economic progress. The already-established logistics and financial sectors will continue to play leading roles in the wider economy in the long term, while nascent sectors such as tourism and mining show significant potential for growth. Bureaucracy and poor human resources development remain the main hindrances to national economic development.

This chapter includes interviews with Frank de Lima, Minister of Economy and Finance; Nicolás Ardito Barletta, Director-General, National Centre for Competitiveness; and José Pacheco Tejeira, Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade.