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Panama places first in foreign investment

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Special arrangements for the establishment of multinational companies, as well as infrastructure works such as enlargement of the Canal and a metro in the capital, make Panama attractive for investors.

In 2011, Panamanian foreign direct investment (FDI) was 19% more than in the previous year, according to "Foreign Direct investment in Latin America and the Caribbean", a report published last week by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Investment in Panama’s manufacturing sector also grew, highlighted by the arrival of several Colombian companies.

In Costa Rica, second on the list, the establishment of several free zone companies was a major source of foreign direct investment in 2011, representing 27% of the total.

The largest inflows were concentrated in services, largely as a result of the opening to private competition of the telecommunications and insurance sectors, which previously had been State monopolies.

Central America received $8.2 billion in FDI in 2011, an increase of 36% over the previous year, an amount is slightly higher than in 2008, when the region experienced an economic crisis.

"FDI has been one of the pillars in Central America’s strategy of international integration and export promotion," says the report.


The figures represent FDI received by each Central American country in millions of dollars.

  1. Panama (2,790)
  2. Costa Rica (2,104)
  3. Honduras (1,014)
  4. Guatemala (985)
  5. Nicaragua (968)
  6. El Salvador (386)