Imports$22.95 billion (2011 est.)
Exports$16.95 billion (2011 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)5.9% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate4.5% (2011 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$14,300 (2011 est.)
National product real growth rate7.5% (2010 est.)
Internet users959,800 (2009)
Telephones - mobile cellular6.496 million (2009)
Population growth rate1.41% (2012 est.)
Population3,510,045 (July 2012 est.)
Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela - named the Republic of Gran Colombia.
When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama remained part of Colombia.
With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone)....
Panama's dollar-based economy rests primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for three-quarters of GDP.
Services include operating the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism.
Economic growth will be bolstered by the Panama Canal expansion project that began in 2007 and is scheduled to be completed by 2014 at a cost of $5....