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World Factbook (1982) Panama.jpg
(See reference map III)


75,650 km2 (excluding Canal Zone, 1,430 km2); 24% agricultural land (9% fallow, 4% cropland, 11% pasture), 20% exploitable forest, 56% other forests, urban, and waste

Land boundaries: 630 km


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 200 nm (continental shelf including sovereignty over superjacent waters)

Coastline: 2,490 km


Population: 2,011,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 2.3%

Nationality: noun—Panamanian(s); adjective—Panamanian

Ethnic divisions: 70% mestizo, 14% Negro, 9% white, 7% Indian and other

Religion: over 90% Roman Catholic, remainder mainly Protestant

Language: Spanish; about 14% speak English as native tongue; many Panamanians bilingual

Literacy: 82% of population 10 years of age and over

Labor force: est. 625,000 (January 1982); 45% commerce, finance and services; 29% agriculture, hunting and fishing; 10% manufacturing and mining; 5% construction; 4% Canal Zone; 5% transportation and communications; 1.2% utilities; 2% other; unemployed estimated at 10-15% (January 1982); shortage of skilled labor but an oversupply of unskilled labor

Organized labor: 10-15% of labor force (1978 est.)


Official name: Republic of Panama

Type: republic

Capital: Panama

Political subdivisions: 9 provinces, 1 intendancy

Legal system: based on civil law system; constitution adopted in 1972; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; legal education at University of Panama; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: Independence Day, 3 November

Branches: President and Vice President, elected by National Assembly; popularly elected unicameral legislature, National Assembly of Community (Corregimiento) Representatives; legislative powers currently exercised in the main by National Council on Legislation, but constitutional amendments, approved in October 1978, give somewhat broader role to National Assembly; presidentially appointed Supreme Court subject to Corregimiento review under new constitutional amendment

Government leaders: Aristides ROYO is constitutional President and Chief of State, but remains accountable to the National Guard General Staff

Suffrage: universal and compulsory over age 18

Elections: elections for National Assembly in August 1978, Assembly chose President and Vice President in October 1978; constitutional reforms allow Assembly to elect from its own membership representatives comprising two-thirds of the primary legislative organ, the National Council on Legislation; the remaining one-third of the Council's 56 representatives was chosen in September 1980 by direct popular elections; direct popular elections for President and Vice President and the Assembly will be held in 1984

Political parties and leaders: legislation providing for legalization of political parties, which were suspended following 1968 Torrijos coup, approved October 1978; since early 1979, all political parties and groups have been allowed to organize under new democratization program; Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD; official government party), Gerardo González; Communist People's Party (PdP; pro-government), Ruben Dario Souza; Liberal Party (PL; opposition), Arnulfo Escalona; Christian Democratic Party (PDC; opposition), Guillermo Cóchez; Panamenista Party (PP; opposition), Arnulfo Arias

Voting strength: only two progovernment and two small opposition parties registered candidates for 1980 legislative elections; half the candidates ran as independents

Communists: 500 active and several hundred inactive members People's Party (PdP); 1,500 members and sympathizers of rival Fracción movement which split from PdP in 1974

Other political or pressure groups: National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP); Panamanian Association of Business Executives (APEDE)

Member of: FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICO, IDA, IFAD, IDB, IFC, ILO, IMCO, IMF, ITU, IWC—International Whaling Commission, IWC—International Wheat Council, NAM, OAS, SELA, UN, UNESCO, UPEB, UPU, WHO, WMO, WTO


GNP: $3,004 million (1980), 11,580 per capita; 63% private consumption, 18% government consumption, 28% gross fixed investment, -7% net foreign balance (1978); real growth (1980), 4.9%

Agriculture; main crops—bananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane; self-sufficient in most basic foods; 2,341 calories per day per capita (1977)

Fishing: catch 113,768 metric tons (1978); exports $27.7 million (1977)

Major industries: food processing, metal products, construction materials, petroleum products, clothing, furniture

Electric power: 550,000 kW capacity (1980); 1.812 billion kWh produced (1980), 935 kWh per capita

Exports: $411 million (f.o.b., 1980); bananas, petroleum products, shrimp, sugar, coffee

Imports: $1,280 million (f.o.b., 1980); manufactures, transportation equipment, crude petroleum, chemicals, foodstuffs

Major trade partners: exports—$5% US, 11% Panama Canal Zone, 11% West Germany, 3% Italy, 11% Central America, 4% Netherlands; imports—33% US, 15% Ecuador, 6% Venezuela, 9% Colon Free Zone, 5% Japan, 3% West Germany (1978)

Aid: economic—US, authorized, including Ex-Im (FY70-80), $350.6 million; other Western countries, ODA and OOF (1970-79), $383.0 million; military—US (FY70-80), $12 million

Budget: (1980 est.) $1,015 million in revenues, $1,215 million in expenditures

Monetary conversion rate: 1 balboa=US$1 (official)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 192 km total; 78 km 1.524-meter gauge, 114 km 0.914-meter gauge

Highways: 8,400 km total; 2,715 km paved, 3,170 km gravel or crushed stone, 2,515 km improved and unimproved earth

Inland waterways: 800 km navigable by shallow draft vessels; 82 km Panama Canal

Pipelines: refined products, 96 km

Ports: 2 major (Cristobal/ Colon /Coco Solo, Balboa/ Panama City), 10 minor

Civil air: 16 major transport aircraft, including 1 leased in

Airfields: 151 total, 150 usable; 39 with permanent-surface runways; 2 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 16 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: domestic and international telecom facilities well developed; connection into Central American microwave net; Atlantic Ocean satellite ground station; 157,000 telephones (8.4 per 100 popl.); 90 AM, 30 FM, and 13 TV stations; 1 coaxial submarine cable


Military manpower: males 15-49, 499,000; 344,000 fit for military service; no conscription