Panama City Leads Region in World Bank Business SurveyMichael McDonald
Panama’s capital topped the World Bank’s first “Doing Business” ranking for Central America and the Dominican Republic, while the transportation hub of Choluteca, Honduras was last among 32 cities and ports.
Bolstered by the fastest economic growth in Latin America and efficient procedures for filing paperwork, Panama City outscored its neighbors in the ease of opening a new company and ranked near the top in registering property, according to the report published today in Guatemala City.
“There is not one city that earned a good score in all of the indicators,” said Oscar Calvo-Gonzalez, head of the World Bank’s Central America program. “All these cities are behind in one of the indicators.”
San Jose, Costa Rica and Guatemala City ranked second and third, respectively, in the report. San Jose led in ease of registering property, a category in which Leon, Nicaragua, was last. Leon led the list in ease of securing a construction permit. The Washington-based World Bank urged countries to implement more online systems to improve efficiency and reduce paperwork when requesting construction permits.
A recovery in the U.S. is helping the economy of Central America and the Dominican Republic expand about 3 percent this year, faster than the 1.3 percent forecast for Latin America and the Caribbean, the International Monetary Fund said in an October report. Growth has been slowed by the outbreak of coffee rust disease in the region, the IMF said.