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PR in Panama – Our Story

Any international company wishing to thrive in the Panama’s market can benefit from working with a PR agency that understands the unique cultural idiosyncrasies of the country, but also has an international perspective.

Whether you are a consumer brand, business services provider or a disruptive tech start-up, Sherlock Communications is a unique among PR agencies in Panama in offering an award-winning team that combines local insight and media contacts, but also decades of international experience.

Whether it’s media relations, social and digital media, influencer campaigns, performance marketing or inbound lead generation, Sherlock’s Panamanian team has a proven track record of delivering great results for international clients, from disruptive tech companies to blue-chip brands.

Market Overview

Panama is known as the “Crossroads of the Americas” due to its privileged position lying between North and South America, making the country of immense strategic importance, added to by the world-famous feat of engineering that is the Panama Canal. Every year, more than 15,000 vessels complete the eighth our journey through the waterway – a substantial contribution to the country’s economy.

With a population estimated at 3.86 million, the country possesses a territorial extension of 75,517 Km sq. Panama is a presidential democracy with a National Assembly and an independent judiciary. It has a very strong and empowered Electoral Tribunal that has successfully delivered five consecutive general elections, since the country’s return to democracy in 1989.

The Media Landscape

The situation of media environment in Panama is generally stable. Conditions for press freedom have improved, as the administration of President Juan Carlos Varela exhibits higher respect for journalistic independence than previous leader, Ricardo Martinelli. Press freedom is now protected by the constitution. Most media outlets are privately owned with Corporacion Medcom operating the main TV stations. There are in the region of 100 radio stations and several TV networks. There are eight country-wide newspapers, which are both on and offline.

In 2017, around 2.8 million people were online – the equivalent to 69% of the country’s population. Access to the Internet is unrestricted and there are estimated to be 435,000 Facebook users, half of whom are aged between 18 and 24. Other networks used by Panamanians include Twitter and LinkedIn.

The Economy

In the last ten years or so Panama has become one of the fastest growing economies worldwide with average yearly growth at 7.2% between 2001 and 2013. Its economy grew by 6.1% in 2014 and for 2019 the growth forecast is 5.6% – the highest in Latin America.

In 2015 it had a GDP of U$51 million, having doubled in size over the previous 10 years.
Other forecasts include construction of the second Metro line, further traffic generated by the Panama Canal and strong private investment. There is emerging private sector led industry in transport, logistics, mining, financial services and tourism.

The country has also made progress in reducing poverty. If we use the international poverty line of US$4 a day, it would result in a general poverty reduction of 21 to 17 percent between 2011 and 2015. In addition, the economy also created 280,000 new jobs.

Between 2001 and 2013, the country experienced an average annual growth of 7.2%, more than double the regional average. Growth came down slightly to 5.8% and 5.4% in 2015 and 2016 respectively. But by 2017 the forecast remains positive at 5.4%, rising to 5.5 percent in 2018, according to the World Bank.

Panama’s foreign direct investment (FDI) reached US$5,209.3 million in 2016, up 15.9% from the previous year. According to ECLAC, this represents 43% of the total FDI in Central America. Panama has been granted investment-grade status by all three rating agencies, thanks to sustained improvements in public finances, tax reforms and the economy’s resilience to the global financial crisis. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index lists Panama as the second most competitive economy in Latin America, sitting closely behind Chile.

In 2017, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to Panama’s GDP was USD 3,464.4m – 5.9% of its total. This is forecast to rise by 6.3% in 2018, and to rise by 5.6% every year pa to USD 15,544.3mn – 14.8% of GDP – by 2028 in 2017. The industry directly supported 116,500 jobs 6.3% of total employment and again, this is expected to rise by 2.1% annually to 147,000 jobs – 6.7% of total employment – by 2028. Panama is a melting pot of races, historically home to many indigenous groups, many of which still reside in the country. The Spanish settled in the early 1500s, growing the population and adding new ethnicities and cultural identity. Panama was always a place of transit as goods from western Central and South America would cross the region on their way to Europe.

Today, many of its citizens are entrepreneurs or work in family businesses. There is also a wealthy elite in Panama City which owns the majority of big businesses, with community services and smaller businesses operating in other more rural areas.

The Capital – Panama City

Located at the Caribbean end of the famous Panama Canal, Panama City is the largest metropolis in the country and home to in the region of 1 million people.

The city’s economy depends heavily on financial services and on activities associated with canal traffic and it has also become a major international finance centre. Industries include breweries, oil refineries, steel-rolling mills, and factories producing clothing and wood products.

The port facilities serving Panama City lie to the southwest in adjacent Balboa. This region is linked with Colón (the Caribbean terminal of the Panama Canal) by the canal, the Panama Canal Railway and the Transisthmian Highway and the Inter-American (Pan-American) Highway. There are international airports at Albrook, just to the west of the city, and at Tocumen, 17 miles (27 km) northeast of the city centre.

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If you would like to learn more about PR in Panama, find out how Sherlock Communications can help you meet your business objectives in Panama or simply have an informal chat do call or drop us a line:


+55 11 3817 5852



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Rua Mourato Coelho Nº 923, Pinheiros, São Paulo – SP – Brasil, 05417-011