Panama’s pursuit of economic development and recognition as an incubator for global innovation is buttressed by a rapidly evolving, world-class information and communication technology infrastructure.
The past 20 years have been a remarkable period for the development of information and communication technology (ICT). The “mobile miracle” has brought the benefits of ICT within reach of virtually all the world’s population, especially in fast-growing economies like Panama.
ICT has become an essential building block required to support corporate and governmental development. Knowledge-based activities have become increasingly foundational to the global economy and to the enablement of progress, allowing markets to acquire and share ideas, expertise, services, and technologies locally, regionally, and across the world. ICT also facilitates an unprecedented level of global economic integration and is essential to the creation and sustenance of new economic development. Through ICT, fast-learning economies can accelerate knowledge transfer and dissemination of technology, thus amplifying their competitive advantage on the world stage. This trend, rather than plateauing, is escalating, and it ensures that information requirements for innovation in economic and social activities will continue to grow.
With their commitment to transforming Panama not just into a more developed nation but also into a hospitable environment for development and innovation, the Panamanian government and private sector recognize the importance of ICT as an enabler of the nation’s progress. Efforts are underway to increase the competitiveness of local industries by creating a responsive domestic communications framework, as well as establish an environment that allows Panama to transition from a service economy into a knowledge economy and integrate seamlessly into global virtual enterprise.
Broadband contributes to economic growth by producing a series of effects similar to those generated by infrastructure deployment,” says the ITU.
Great strides have been made already. Panama has a robust communications infrastructure with coverage and pricing on par with or better than its neighbors, backed by solid government support. Opportunities remain, however, particularly in terms of bridging the digital divide and providing access to rural areas and communities with low population. Regulations to strengthen cybersecurity are also needed. Panama must tackle these challenges, targeting connectivity infrastructure, policies, regulation, e-services, public data, and skills, in order to fully leverage ICT as an engine of growth.