PANAMA CITY, March 9, 2023 – Today, World Bank Group President David Malpass met with President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen of Panama.
President Malpass and President Cortizo discussed the challenging outlook for developing countries as they face slower global growth, high inflation, and rising interest rates. President Malpass recognized Panama’s progress toward reducing the fiscal deficit, and underscored the importance of achieving both fiscal and debt sustainability and pension financing. He also stressed the importance of private capital enabling reforms to increase private investment including in priority infrastructure. President Malpass and President Cortizo discussed measures to protect the poor from rising prices, accelerate implementation of the National Indigenous Peoples Development project, and improve targeting of subsidies to reach the poor in remote geographic areas.
President Malpass and President Cortizo discussed Panama’s strengthening of its AML-CFT framework, progress on the remaining Financial Action Task Force steps, and the increase in registering beneficial ownership.
President Malpass and President Cortizo discussed diversifying Panama’s sources of revenue to reduce dependence on Panama Canal revenues and broaden the tax base.
President Malpass and President Cortizo discussed ways to strengthen Panama’s education system to improve the country’s human capital, particularly after school closures, substantial learning losses and widening learning gaps. They spoke about the importance of investment in girls’ education and empowerment of women, which would also generate significant economic gains.
President Malpass commended President Cortizo for advancing the Public-Private Partnerships agenda and encouraged continued progress. He restated the World Bank Group’s commitment to support resilient infrastructure and private capital mobilization in Panama. President Malpass and President Cortizo also considered how the Cuarta Linea project, located on the Atlantic coast, will help improve the green component in the energy matrix of the country.