|Rep¨²blica de Panam¨¢
|Form of government
|Telephone area code
Panama (officially: Rep¨²blica de Panam¨¢) is located
in Central America on the Central American land bridge
that connects South and North America. The country's
territory also includes offshore islands in the Gulf of
Panama and the Gulf of Ch¨¬riqu¨ª. In addition to its
coasts with the Caribbean Sea (part of the Atlantic) and
the Pacific Sea, the country has a border with Costa
Rica in the west and a border with Colombia in the east.
At the narrowest point in the country, approximately in
the middle, the Panama Canal runs in a valley. It is one
of the most important waterways in the world and enables
goods to be transported by ship between the Atlantic and
the Pacific without having to bypass South America. The
total area of the country is 75 517 km².
Western Panama is characterized by a central mountain
range, which is between 2,000 m and 3,000 m high, and
with the extinct volcano Ch¨¬riqu¨ª (3,478 m) has the
highest mountain in the country. On the eastern side of
the canal, the mountain range with a height of up to 700
m runs parallel to the Atlantic coast and thus forms a
weather divide between the Pacific and Atlantic parts of
the country. On the Pacific side, the mountainous region
is preceded by a wider lowland, including the Dari¨¦n.
The largest lake in the country with 430 km² is the
Gatun, which is part of the Panama Canal.
Panama has a tropical climate. The Pacific and
Atlantic weather conditions differ due to the sometimes
high mountain ranges. While the Caribbean side has a
constantly humid climate with average precipitation of
2,500 to 4,000 mm per year from December to April due to
trade winds, on the Pacific side there is only heavy
rainfall in the summer months, from January to April
there is a dry season. Only the southeast is always
humid due to monsoon-like west winds. There are very
high average temperatures and high humidity throughout
the country. Only in the mountains does it cool down
noticeably according to the altitude. The temperatures
in Col¨°n on the Atlantic Caribbean coast as well as in
the capital Panama, which lies on the Pacific, have an
average annual temperature of 26.5 to 27 ¡ãC. The
precipitation values, on the other hand, vary
significantly in the comparison between the Atlantic and
Pacific coasts. In Col¨°n they average 3 170 mm per year,
in Panama, on the other hand, only 1 770 mm.
Flora and fauna
Panama has a variety of different types of vegetation
and animals, as a land bridge between the continents
there is an interesting mix between South and North
American flora and fauna.
Most of the country is covered by tropical
rainforest. Particular attention should be drawn to the
Tierra caliente, the lowlands on the Caribbean side,
including the Dari¨¦n with its ever-moist rainforests. On
the alternately moist Pacific side of the mountain
ranges there are also rain-green wet and dry forests,
but also wet savannas. Mangrove coasts in the coastal
area influenced by the tide as well as coral reefs with
sandy beaches contribute to the diverse appearance. The
Tierra templada has a rain-green mountain forest that
changes into cloud forest from an altitude of 2,500 m.
Above the tree line there are shrubs and grass areas.
Anteaters, sloths, and armadillos are among the
species that also occur in South America, while the
jaguars, tapirs and deer, which can also be seen in
Panama, originally came from North America. In addition
to the rural residents, sea turtles live on the coasts
of Panama, where they can be observed in particular when
laying eggs on the sandy beaches. Especially in the
forests, the bird life is very diverse and includes both
native and migratory birds.
Panama has about 3.05 million residents, the largest
city in the country is Panama City with just under 1.04
million residents in the metropolitan area. Other major
cities are San Miguelito with around 295,000 residents,
Las Cumbres with 92,000 and Tocumen with 85,000. Over
two thirds of the Panamese are mestizos, so half-breeds
between the indigenous people and European immigrants.
14% are whites, a small minority of 2% are immigrants,
some of whom came into the country to build a railway
line and partly to build the Panama Canal. The vast
majority of Panamanians (98%) are Christians, the
majority of them Roman Catholic.
The official language is Spanish, many residents also
speak English. According to COUNTRYAAH,
the literacy rate is 93%, the population
growth is currently 1.25% and the average life
expectancy is 72 years.
According to the 1972 constitution, Panama is a
presidential republic. The head of state is directly
elected by the people for five years (no re-election
possible). He is both head of state and chief executive
(Juan Carlos Varela since July 2014). He has the right
to appoint and dismiss the cabinet.
The parliament consists of only one chamber, the
Legislative Assembly (Asamblea Legislativa) with 71
members who are elected every five years.
Panama is divided into nine provinces and five
autonomous administrative areas of the indigenous
Panama is an open market economy and has important
location advantages due to its geographical location.
Nevertheless, over a quarter of the population lives
below the poverty line and the wealth gap is extremely
The most important source of income for the
Panamanian economy is the administration and operation
of the Panama Canal. The jobs related to the operation
of the Panama Canal result in a high proportion of
services in gross domestic product (GDP). The expansion
of the Panama Canal started in 2009.
17% of the population lives from agriculture,
although only 4% of GDP is generated in this area.
Fishing is dominated by shrimp, which are also exported.
Copper and gold are mined in Panama and mahogany in the
rainforests. Significant industries in the country are
sugar mills, fish processing, breweries and oil
refineries. Cement, building materials, chemical
products as well as electronics and electrical
engineering are also manufactured in the country.
The most important export partner for Panama is still
the USA, followed by Canada. In addition, trading is
particularly intensive with the Central American
neighboring countries and the Caribbean countries.
Mainly chemical products, textiles and clothing,
electronics and electrical engineering as well as food
are exported. The import (chemical products, textiles
and clothing, electronics, machinery and motor vehicles)
comes from the PRC and other Central American countries
in addition to the USA.
Low registration costs for foreign shipping companies
allow numerous ship owners to register their global
ships in Panama. Tourism, especially in connection with
the Panama Canal, is an important source of foreign
Panama's currency is the Balboa (= 100 Cent¨¦simos).