The Bella Vista community in Las Lomas, Panama now have access to water. Despite being one of the top economic performers in the Latin American and Caribbean region, certain segments of the country's population still have limited access to basic services such as water, sanitation electricity and other social services. Photo by: Gerardo Pesantez / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND
Panama is one of the top economic performers in the Latin American and Caribbean region. From 2001 to 2013, its real gross domestic product averaged 7.2 percent — double the region’s GDP. Its high growth trajectory is mainly driven by the rise in public and private investments, influx of foreign direct investments and the transfer of full control of the Panama Canal from the United States to Panama.
Strong economic activity led to substantial progress in human development indicators. The poverty rate significantly declined from 33.5 percent in 2007 to 20.9 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, per capita income of the bottom 40 percent of the population has increased 8.2 percent. Social welfare generally improved — life expectancy increased, child mortality and malnutrition rates declined, and rate of enrollment in education increased in all levels.
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