For the third consecutive year, AS/COA, together with the World Bank, the Ministry of the Presidency, and the country's Tourism Authority, organized a conference on March 2, 2012 to provide an in-depth analysis of the challenges and opportunities for development in Panama. The conference focused on the country’s economic prospects, growth and opportunities of the financial services and tourism sector, and the country’s trade agenda. A group of internationally recognized senior business executives, government officials, economists and investment analysts addressed the issues for conference participants.
Panama continues to be one of the fastest growing economies of the world. For the past 2 years, the country has grown at an average of 8 percent, and this year it is expected to perform strongly, underpinned by the ongoing expansion of the Canal and other large infrastructure projects. At 4.5 percent, Panama has the lowest unemployment rate of the region, and in 2010 it became the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) per capita in Latin America. The recently approved FTA with the United States, Panama’s main trading partner, will enhance the already robust trade portfolio and will likely attract more FDI, particularly in the services industry.
- H.E. Demetrio Papadimitriu, Minister of the Presidency
- H.E. Roberto Henriquez, Minister of Foreign Relations
- H.E. Frank de Lima, Minister of Finance and Economy
- H.E. Salomon Shamah, Director, Panama’s Tourism Authority
- Alberto Alemán Zubieta, President of the Panama Canal Authority
- Felipe Jaramillo, Central America Director, The World Bank
- Augusto de la Torre, Chief Economist for Latin America, The World Bank
- Paul Adán, Vice President, Hotel Development, Caribbean & Latin American Region, Marriott International & Ritz-Carlton
- Annette Cárdenas, President, Panama Chamber of Tourism
- Marcelo Gorrini, CEO and General Manager, Citibank Panama
- Yosbel A. Ibarra, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
- Joe Mohan, VP Commercial and Planning, Copa Airlines
- Leslie O'Connor, Deputy Assistant USTR for Central America and the Dominican Republic, USA
- John Paul Rathbone, Latin America Editor, Financial Times
- Roberto Sifón Arevalo, Managing Director, Lead Analytical Manager, Sovereigns & Public Finance Ratings, Latin America, Standard & Poors
- Susan Segal, President and CEO, Americas Society/Council of the Americas
Panama City 2012
Posted on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 | By David Gacs
In the past decade Panama has received a lot of interest as a tourist destination. This is in part due to travelers’ natural desire for new destinations, but also because the country—located next to tourist friendly Costa Rica and blessed with similar landscapes—woke up to the opportunities the sector had to offer and began incentivizing its growth.
Posted on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | By David Gacs
Two panels at AS/COA’s 2012 Panama conference looked at Panama’s economic outlook. The first focused on the U.S. free trade agreement with Panama, signed into law by the U.S. Congress in October 2011. The two panelists, Panamanian Minister of Foreign Relations Roberto Henriquez and USTR Deputy Assistant for Central America and the Dominican Republic Leslie O’Connor, discussed the path ahead for the trade pact, which was stalled in the U.S.
Posted on Friday, March 2, 2012 | By David Gacs
Alberto Alemán Zubieta, head of the Panama Canal Authority, spoke to AS/COA Online after his presentation on the Canal’s expansion and the effects that this massive infrastructure project will have on Panama, Latin America, and shipping and logistics the world over. ... Read More
Posted on Thursday, March 1, 2012 | By David Gacs
Ahead of Panama Canal Authority President Alberto Alemán Zubieta’s presentation on the expansion of the Canal at AS/COA’s 2012 Panama conference, AS/COA Online visited the Miraflores locks at the entrance to the Panama Canal, on the Pacific Ocean side of the isthmus.
Posted on Thursday, March 1, 2012 | By Rachel Glickhouse
Augusto de la Torre, the World Bank’s chief economist for Latin America, is speaking at AS/COA’s Panama conference on March 2. For his presentation he’ll be discussing the September 2011 report for the World Bank on Latin America’s swelling economic bonds to China.
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | By David Gacs
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 | By Mateo Samper
Panama’s economic development over the last decade, averaging 7.2 percent and well above the Latin American average of 4.5 percent for the same period, has seen growth rates on par with the likes of China, India, and Vietnam.
Vice President, Hotel Development, Caribbean & Latin American Region, Marriott International & Ritz-Carlton
Paul Adán is the vice president of Lodging Development for Marriott International Inc. and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company for the Caribbean and Latin America region. Mr. Adán is responsible for hotel development of all the brands for Latin America (excluding Mexico and Brazil) including Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, Edition, The Ritz-Carlton, Autograph Collection, JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn and Marriott Executive Apartments.
Alberto Alemán Zubieta
President of the Panama Canal Authority
Alberto Alemán Zubieta is the CEO of the Panama Canal Authority. The Board of Directors re-elected Mr. Zubieta to lead the Panama Canal Authority for another seven years in 2005 after previously serving as Administrator since 1998. Prior to that, he served as Administrator of the Panama Canal Commission from 1996 to 1999, the United States Government federal agency which was responsible for the administration and operation of the Panama Canal until ownership of the waterway was transferred to the Republic of Panama on December 31st 1999.
President, Panama Chamber of Tourism
Annette Cárdenas is currently the president of the Chamber of Tourism of Panama. She is also the marketing and sales director of Hotel Marriott Panama, which she joined in 1988, working for the Marriott Dadeland in Miami, Florida. Annette has over 34 years’ experience in the tourism and hospitality industries. She has also worked at the Holiday Inn Panama as marketing director and was with Air Panama International for 10 years. Annette graduated with a Degree in Marketing from Universidad de las Américas.
Augusto de la Torre
Chief Economist for Latin America, The World Bank
Augusto de la Torre is the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank. Since joining the Bank in 1997, he has served as Senior Advisor in the Financial Systems Department and Senior Financial Sector Advisor, both in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. From 1993 to 1997, Mr.
Frank de Lima
Minister of Finance and Economy, Panama
Frank de Lima is Panama’s minister of finance and economy and served as deputy minister of economy during the period from July 1, 2009 until September 30, 2011, when he was appointed by the President of the Republic. He served as service sector coordinator in the Public Policy Unit of MEF World Bank-United Nations and was in charge of programs for Competitiveness, Financial Sector Technical Assistance and reforms in public policies.
Carlos Felipe Jaramillo
Central America Director, The World Bank
Carlos Felipe Jaramillo is the Lead Economist for the Central America Department of the World Bank. Previously, he was the World Bank’s Director for the Andean region (Bolivia, Chile Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela). In this position, Mr. Jaramillo was responsible for the programs that support development in these five nations. He was also responsible for a broad program of loan operations and studies. Prior to that, Mr. Jaramillo served as Sector Administrator for the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (PREM) for Europe and Central Asia.
CEO and General Manager, Citibank Panama
Marcelo Gorrini is the CEO and general manager of Citibank Panama, responsible for commercial and corporate business, personal banking, and the credit card unit of the bank. He assumed his present position in January of 2008. His international banking career began in 2000 in La Paz, Bolivia, where he was the director of consumer banking. He went on to serve as director of consumer banking in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia, and Argentina as well.
Roberto C. Henríquez
Minister of Foreign Relations, Panama
Roberto C. Henríquez is the Minister of Foreign Affairs since September of 2011. Previously he served as Minister of Commerce and Industry. He is the Vice President of the ruling political party, Cambio Democrático and was vice presidential candidate of President Martinelli’s 2004 presidential campaign. The Minister also served as Vice Minister of Foreign Trade from September 1999 to August 2000.
VP Commercial and Planning, Copa Airlines
Joe Mohan has been vice president of commercial and planning with Copa Airlines since February 2008. Prior to joining Copa, he was the senior vice president of sales at American Land Lease and held several senior positions at Continental Airlines. Mr. Mohan received an M.B.A. with an emphasis on Strategy from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Florida.
Leslie C. O'Connor
Deputy Assistant USTR for Central America and the Dominican Republic, USA
Leslie C. O’Connor is deputy assistant United States trade representative for Central America and the Dominican Republic. She is responsible for developing, coordinating and implementing U.S. trade policy for the region, including responsibility for the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA).
Minister of the Presidency, Panama
Demetrio Papadimitriu has served as the Minister of the Presidency of Panama since May 2009 and was previously the head of President Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal’s presidential campaign. He has been involved in politics, both in the United States and Latin America, since 1993. In the United States Minister Papadimitriu has worked on various political campaigns, including congressional campaigns for the Republican Party, as well as worked for National Media, Inc.
John Paul Rathbone
Latin America Editor, Financial Times
John Paul Rathbone is currently the Financial Times’ Latin American editor, and a former editor of the FT’s prestigious “Lex” column. He worked as an economist and a journalist at the World Bank. His articles have appeared in many publications including The Wall Street Journal, Britain’s Sunday Telegraph, Colombia’s El Espectador and Esquire magazine, where he was business columnist from 2002-2003. He is the author of The Sugar King of Havana.
President and CEO, AS/COA
Susan Segal was elected president and CEO of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas in August 2003 after working in the private sector with Latin America and other emerging markets for over 30 years. Prior to her current position, she was a founding partner of her own investment and advisory group focused primarily on Latin America and the US Hispanic Sector.
Director, Panama’s Tourism Authority
Salomón Shamah is the general administrator of Panama’s Tourism Authority since July 2009. He represents the country as the minister of tourism and serves as the pro tempore President of the Secretaría de Integración Turística Centroamericana (SITCA), a group that includes of all the tourism ministers of Central America. Prior to assuming his roles as General Administrator, Minister Shamah was the creative director of President Ricardo Martinelli’s presidential campaign.
Roberto Sifón Arévalo
Managing Director, Lead Analytical Manager, Sovereigns & Public Finance Ratings, Latin America, Standard & Poors
Roberto Sifón Arévalo is the Managing Director, Lead Analytical Manager of Sovereigns & Public Finance Ratings in Latin America for Standard & Poor’s. He joined the group in 2003 and has since monitored sovereign credits, regional and local governments and multilateral financial institutions in the region. Before Standard & Poor’s, Mr. Sifón Arévalo worked for Banco Santander Central Hispano and Banco Sudameris in Argentina.
Yosbel A. Ibarra
Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Yosbel A. Ibarra is shareholder for Greenberg Traurig. He advises clients on complex business transactions, including acquisitions, joint ventures and financing transactions. Yosbel has represented U.S., European and Latin American clients on M&A, private equity and venture capital transactions including agribusiness, entertainment, financial services, fisheries, food, gaming, hotel & tourism, manufacturing, medical equipment, packaging, pharmaceuticals, real estate, technology, and transportation.
Slideshow: AS/COA Online Visits the Panama Canal’s Miraflores Locks
March 01, 2012
Ahead of Panama Canal Authority President Alberto Alemán Zubieta’s presentation on the expansion of the Canal at AS/COA’s 2012 Panama conference, AS/COA Online visited the Miraflores locks at the entrance to the Panama Canal, on the Pacific Ocean side of the isthmus....
March 02, 2012
Alberto Alemán Zubieta, head of the Panama Canal Authority, spoke to AS/COA Online after his presentation on the Canal's expansion at AS/COA's Panama City Conference in March 2012....
March 02, 2012
Executive Secretary of Panama Metro Roberto Roy spoke to AS/COA Online behind the scenes at AS/COA's March, 2012 Panama conference. The engineer discussed the phases the large infrastructure development will go through as well as the benefits it will bring to Panama City's residents....
March 02, 2012
The head of Panama's government tourism ministry Salomón Shamah discussed the development of the country's tourism sector at AS/COA's Panama City Conference in March, 2012....
Frank de Lima, Minister of Finance and Economy, Panama: Presentation (ES, PDF)
Roberto Sifón Arevalo, Managing Director, Sovereigns & Public Finance Ratings, Latin America, Standard & Poor’s: Presentation (ES, PDF)
Marcelo Gorrini, CEO and General Manager, Citibank Panama: Presentation (ES, PDF)
Alberto Alemán Zubieta, President of the Panama Canal Authority: Presentation (ES, PDF)
All times are Eastern Standard Time. See the time in your location.
8:00 a.m. Coffee and Registration
8:30 a.m. Welcoming Remarks:
- Demetrio Papadimitriu, Ministry of the Presidency of Panama
- Susan Segal, President and CEO, AS/COA
- Felipe Jaramillo, Central America Director, The World Bank
9:00 a.m. Conversation: Free Trade Agreements and Investment Opportunities
- What is Panama’s trade agenda and how is the country capitalizing from its geographic location and hub status?
- How will the recently approved U.S.-Panama FTA impact the country? Who are the most likely winners and losers?
- What changes with the Panama-U.S. FTA?
- Opening speaker: Roberto Henriquez, Minister of Foreign Relations, Panama
- Leslie O’Connor, Deputy Assistant, USTR for Central America and the Dominican Republic
- Moderator: Yosbel Ibarra, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig LLC
10:00 a.m. Coffee Break
10:30 a.m. Latin American Long-Term Growth: Made in China?
- Keynote Speaker: Augusto de la Torre, Chief Economist for Latin America, The World Bank
11:00 a.m. Panama’s Economic and Financial Outlook
- What is Panama’s economic outlook for 2012 and beyond?
- How has the financial services industry grown in Panama and what are its prospects?
- Keynote Opening Speaker: Frank de LimaMinister of Finance and Economy, Panama
- Roberto Sifón Arevalo, Managing Director, Sovereigns & Public Finance Ratings, Latin America, Standard & Poor’s
- Marcelo Gorrini, CEO and General Manager, Citibank Panama
- Moderator: John Paul Rathbone, Latin America Editor, Financial Times
12:15 p.m. Lunch: Panama Canal Overview
- What is the status of the expansion?
- What role does the expansion of the Panama Canal play in the country’s economic prospects?
- Keynote Speaker: Alberto Alemán Zubieta, President of the Panama Canal Authority
2:00 p.m. Panama: The Tourism Sector Outlook
- How does Tourism contribute to Panama’s economy and what are its growth prospects for the next years?
- What are the main challenges for improving the Tourism industry in the country? Are there ways that the public and private sector can collaborate to to address them?
- What are the some of major projects underway?
- Keynote Speaker: Salomón Shamah, Director of Panama’s Tourism Agency
- Joe Mohan, Vice President, Commercial and Planning, Copa Holdings S.A.
- Paul Adán, Vice President, Hotel Development Caribbean & Latin America, Marriot International & Ritz-Carlton
- Moderator: Annette Cárdenas, President of the Panama Chamber of Tourism