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IDB loan to assist Panamanian students

IDB loan will assist Panamanian children

Inter-American Development Bank News Release
June 7, 2012 – News Release

IDB loan for US$70 million to benefit more than 38,000 Panamanian students

The Inter-American Development Bank approved a loan for $70 million to provide innovative educational infrastructure to 47 communities in Panama that will benefit more than 38,000 students. The goal is to expand educational opportunities and encourage students in marginal and indigenous areas to complete basic education.

More than a third of Panamanians between the ages of 13 and 17 do not attend school. Coverage levels are especially low for the groups targeted by the program. For example, in the Ngäbe-Buglé and Guna Yala indigenous administrative regions, only 43 percent of youths attend secondary school.

The IDB financing will be used to expand and equip 20 primary schools to include grades seven to nine and construct two model schools that will have innovative facilities and will employ a new pedagogical and educational management approach. These investments are expected to result in the matriculation of 10,000 new students from preschool through secondary school.

In addition, the program will providing 47 schools with classrooms designed to facilitate learning. The basic curriculum will be updated to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century, and training and support will be extended to staff and faculty in school management, pedagogy, and curriculum content.

Only 62 percent of Panamanian schools have drinking water in Panama, compared with 77 percent for the Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole. Half have adequate sanitation, compared with 65 percent for the region

Studies indicate that the quality of a school’s physical environment directly affects both the motivation and behavior of teachers as well as learning, discipline, and attention levels of the students.

Schools benefiting from the program are located poor areas with high dropout rates in the provinces of Panamá, Coclé, Colón, Chiriquí, Los Santos, and the indigenous administrative areas of Ngäbe-Buglé and Guna Yala.

The financing was extended for a 25-year term with a grace period of four years and a variable interest rate based on LIBOR. Counterpart funding totals $10 million.

New release thanks to IDB website: http://www.iadb.org/en/news/news-releases/2012-06-07/panama-will-improve-school-infrastructure,10017.html

PANAMA – The long awaited Panama-Canada Free Trade agreement will be signed in Toronto Canada on May 14th said Panama’s Commerce and Industry Minister Roberto Henriquez. The countries completed the agreement early this year and the agreement would give Canada immediate access to Panama’s markets and services while Panama’s access is tied to a deadline. Both countries need to ratify the agreements in order to start up trade. We were told that before the end of 2010 they would be operational.

We are pleased to announce that the site ” The Best Beaches in the World” now covers Taboga Island and B&B Hotel Cerrito Tropical in both their English and Spanish sites. These sites describe many of the finest beach areas in Panama and offers information on other things to do as well. Drop by the site and check it out.

the-best-beaches

the-best-beaches

Fitch Upgrades Panama´s Investment Grade

Development: On 23 March the international credit ratings agency Fitch upgraded Panama from BB+ to BBB-.

Significance: The upgrade is a victory for the rightwing government of President Ricardo Martinelli, making Panama the fifth Latin American country to reach this category, alongside Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Peru.

It follows Martinelli’s recent tax reform which was aimed at increasing access to finance and reducing the cost of doing business in Panama. The reform, which takes effect in July, raises VAT from 5% to 7%, cuts income tax and reduces the corporate tax rate from 30% to 25%. That VAT increase move has been lambasted as regressive by unions and popular movements. As well as simplifying the tax code by abolishing over 30 duties, the reform cuts taxes on banks with assets of between US$100m and US$750m but raises taxes on those with assets of over US$750m.

Fitch singled out the tax reform as one of the reasons for the upgrade, along with Panama’s ability to weather the recent global financial crisis. The agency noted that despite the fact that Panama’s real annual GDP growth rate slowed to 2.4% in 2009, from 10.7% in 2008, it still had one of the highest growth rates in the region and amongst other BBB rated countries.

The upgrade could help Panama in its efforts to secure a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US, which has been ratified by Panama but is pending approval by the US congress. Panama’s lack of tax transparency has been a major concern for the US.

Panama has 22% of the World´s Ships Flying its Flag
Machine translated from the original article in La Prensa:

Wilfredo Jordán S.
wjordan@prensa.com
http://mensual.prensa.com/mensual/contenido/2009/08/18/hoy/Negocios/1891335.asp

In 2004 there were 6061 ships registered by the Panama. Now, in agreement with the official registries, there are 8661 ships.

Between 2004 and what goes of 2009, Panama registered 2600 ships and about 40 million tons of gross registry, that means a growth of 41% in this period. At the closing of 2004, 6061 ships registered by Panama with 168 million tons of gross registry existed. At the moment the country has 8661 ships with 202,979,000 tons. These numbers represent 22% of the world-wide marine fleet, in comparison with the main competitors of Panama: Liberia, that has a registry of 2639 ships and Marshall Island, with a count with 1612. “We have like the Government, the commitment that the income from this institution gets to the people who need it”, the administrator of the AMP, Linares Robert commented. The approximated net income of the AMP by the registry of ships calculate in 80 million dollars a year. In 2004 this income was 52 million dollars and in 2008 it went up to around the 78 million dollars. In indirect income, it is calculated that the registry of ships generates more than 100 million dollars a year. If the smaller ships of 100 tons are included, Panama has more than thousand registries.

Ships Registered under the Panamanian Flag

Ships Registered under the Panamanian Flag

Helping Protect Our Earth, One Step at a Time.

Helping Protect Our Earth, One Step at a Time.

Thought provoking ideas from two men ahead of their time but with ideas not out of reach:

PREVENTING COASTAL EROSIAN
Rohit Talwar and Ian Pearson
An Authorized Repost on Destination Panama thanks to The Fast Future Bulletin July 2009

In this article we propose an alternative approach to tackling coastal erosion around the globe which would also cut carbon emissions and reduce plastic levels in landfill and waste dumps.

The latest nightmare environmental forecasts suggest that much of the UK coastline will be affected by severe erosion. Indeed, some parts of the Norfolk coast are already suffering dramatic erosion. The official policy is not to protect such areas, but to allow erosion, for various reasons. In areas where protection is needed, often, concrete blocks are dropped into the sea to absorb or deflect the wave energy.

A seemingly unrelated environmental problem is the disposal of plastic. Much is recycled now, but a lot still ends up in landfill sites or waste tips, which are filling up fast all over the world. Big concerns have also been raised over the potential for non-biodegradable plastic to remain in the environment for hundreds or thousands of years.

However with a bit of imagination, both of these problems could be tackled together. When plastic is recycled, it is gathered and compressed into cubes for easy handling and distribution. If these cubes were wrapped and weighted, they could be thrown into the sea instead of concrete blocks, solving several environmental problems at once. Concrete production consumes energy and produces large amounts of carbon dioxide, both of which would be averted. Raw material costs would be reduced since the plastic is waste and in plentiful supply. It would hang around in the sea for many years, and as the blocks accumulate, they would provide an artificial reef, before becoming a good base for reclaimed land, while reversing the erosion process. During this time, the plastic blocks would be locking up carbon, making the plastic ‘reef’ carbon negative, as compared to the carbon neutral recycling process. And of course, landfill would not fill up as fast.

A plastic reef could be used to effectively seal off a region of coastal sea, making it possible to use it as landfill for other kinds of waste without the danger of sea pollution. This would accelerate the creation of reclaimed land as well as creating more landfill capacity.

One major obstacle is that under EU law, it is currently illegal to dump plastic in the sea. At the same time, landfill is highly taxed. It would be very sensible to review both of these obstacles to make such solutions feasible, as there would be very substantial environmental benefits. It is ironic that laws designed to protect the environment are now the major obstacles to one environmental solution.

For more information please contact Rohit or Ian via these links:

http://community.icontact.com/p/fastfuture

http://www.linkedin.com/in/talwar

Today the new Cinta Costera walkways along Ave. Balboa were packed with holiday goers (located on the Pacific Coast of Panama). This morning, hundreds of people walked, biked, jogged, played, skate boarded, roller bladed along the new walkways.

Today is the swearing in of the new Panamanian President Martinelli at the Atlapa Convention Center so it is a National Holiday in Panama (Canada Day as well- a holiday in Canada!).

SCROLL DOWN THE BLOG PAGE 2 STORIES TO MORE CINTA COSTERA PHOTOS.

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