Published On: 27/02/2018

Dubai, UAE – His Excellency Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, President of Panama, today called on UAE companies to leverage Panama’s position as a strategic trade and logistic hub to access Latin American markets, while he noted that Panamanian businesses have already seen the benefits of using Dubai to expand their reach in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The Panamanian President made his remarks during a special session at the Global Business Forum on Latin America 2018 in Dubai, which was attended by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, current and former heads of state, ministers, senior government officials and business leaders.

H.E. Varela Rodriguez lauded the agreement signed between Panama’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry as a positive step in boosting trade relations with the UAE.

He also touched on a number of challenges faced by Latin American governments, and pointed out that Panama has become a well-known case study following its success in fighting corruption and creating a more prosperous society.

The Panamanian President applauded the UAE – and Dubai, in particular – for becoming a global role model in prioritising people’s happiness. The president underlined efforts implemented in Panama to attract entrepreneurs and investors, highlighting the attention his country pays to small and medium enterprises and start-ups.

H.E. Varela Rodríguez asserted that his country has worked to improve its infrastructure in an effort to meet growing demand and attract foreign investment, this in addition to the technological infrastructure, which has also become quite advanced by virtue of the multiple tech and e-commerce companies that have entered the Panamanian market.

Panama is looking to provide a supportive social environment for all cultures, following the UAE’s example, which has become an immensely diverse community. This is done by developing the education system, improving schools and universities, and promoting the English language among citizens and residents to better interact with newcomers, he said.

The president highlighted his country’s efforts to empower women in various fields, citing the presence of a female minister in his delegation to the Forum, and reaffirming that women are fully capable of succeeding at any task entrusted to them. He applauded H.E. Reem Al-Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, who spoke ahead of his session, representing the Government of the United Arab Emirates.

In addition, the president shed light on a variety of major projects undertaken by the Panamanian government to support the country’s sustainable economic growth such as the expansion of the Panama Canal and airports, ports and bridges, have helped attract steady flow of investments.

When asked about his attendance at the Global Business Forum on Latin America, H.E. Varela Rodriguez explained that the event is an important platform for knowledge sharing between Latin America and the Middle East, adding that he hopes that his participation would help strengthen the bonds of friendship and partnership between the UAE and Panama.