Investments from Colombia
PANAMA. Despite Panama’s separation from Colombia more than a century ago, its links with the neighboring country continue to run deep....
PANAMA. Despite Panama’s separation from Colombia more than a century ago, its links with the neighboring country continue to run deep. Colombians make up the strongest migratory wave into the country, and the amount of Colombian investments in Panama has significantly increased in the last few years.
Of a total of over 94,000 visas and resident permits requested at the National Migration Services between January 2004 and February 2009, more than 17,000 (18.7 percent or one out of five) were from Colombians.
According to a report released recently by the Colombian Embassy in Panama, a significant number of Colombians who come reside in the country arrive ready to invest.
The accumulated Colombian investments in Panama in the last five years amount to more than $1.7 billion, of which $900 million went to real estate and $806 million to investments in other sectors, particularly construction, foods, and tourism.
“Many Colombian have seen in Panama a great business opportunity and have come here with (business) models whose success has already been tested in Colombia,” says the Colombian Ambassador to Panama, Gina Benedetti, who has met with many Colombians to talk about investments in the 6 years she has been in office
Colombians also make themselves felt in the Colon Free Zone. Colombia has traditionally been one of its best customers.
In 2007 and 2008, Colombia was the second top client, after Venezuela. Colombians are said to have bought close to 18 percent of all exports from the Zone.
After North Americans, Colombian are the biggest tourists to Panama. In 2008, of 1.1 million tourists that came to the country, 18.41 percent were Colombians.
One of the recent attractions of Panama has been the cruise ship “Enchantment of the Seas”, which sails from Colon for the Caribbean.
“Enchantment” had close to 6,000 Colombian passengers between December 2008 and February 2009, or 29 percent of total passengers, making up the “biggest users of the new cruise route,” according to the Colombian ambassador.
Added to investors are professionals who make up part of the registered immigrants of the last few years, working particularly in the service sector.
There are also close to 100,000 “floating” Colombians, who work part-time in construction, restaurants, beauty salons, and stores.