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Democracy and Prosperity in Panama
August 3rd, 2009
The world mourned the death of Cory Aquino today as citizens of Manila filled the streets and shouted, “Cory, Cory,” as her coffin passed on a bier of flowers. It has been just over twenty years since the dictator was ousted in a popular revolt and democracy return to the Philipines. This twenty year milestone reminds us of the twenty years of democracy and prosperity fueled by foreign investment and a real estate boom that Panama has enjoyed since the ouster of Manuel Noriega’s military dictatorship.
In the intervening years Panama has not only maintained a boisterous democracy but it has partially eradicated poverty. The ECLAC (United Nations Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean) Social Panorama study demonstrates how investment in Panama has added jobs and helped reduce poverty. The connection of economic success and a democratic government is not coincidental. Democracy and favorable laws attract investment and investment fuels growth with reduces poverty.
Panama maintains the highest per capita rate of foreign investment in Latin America due to its business friendly environment and growing economy. The Panama real estate construction boom has only just leveled off due to the recession but continues due to Panama’s economic strength and the expecation of continued prosperity and investment here at the junction of North and South America.
As real estate prices are now historically low in relation to forward looking values farsighted investors are looking at large parcels of land for a variety of purposes. There are still exceptional bargains in high end Panama real estate that will likely last until the end of the year. The newly elected government is looking to initiate a number of mega projects such as a metro system for Panama City that will further improve the lives of the people of Panama and provide more jobs in this stable democracy.