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Panama and Inter-American Development Bank Drive Digital Transformation of Public Services

IDB President and Panama’s Minister of Economy sign $60 million loan agreement.

The Government of Panama and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) signed a $60 million loan operation to advance digital transformation and the management of public services in the country.

Panama’s Minister of Economy, Héctor Alexander, and IDB President Mauricio Claver-Carone signed the “Digital Panama” loan agreement, which will make government procedures and services more efficient. The operation also aims to enhance cybersecurity, protect and manage data, and cut costs in interactions with government agencies. It will prioritize the most vulnerable populations, especially indigenous women.

 “The IDB is fully committed to the digital transformation of Panama,” President Claver-Carone emphasized at the signing ceremony. “Transformation into a digital economy will further the country’s sustainable development, enhance its competitiveness, and help it create more and better jobs.”

The signing followed President Claver-Carone’s meeting with Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo, in which he reiterated the Bank’s commitment to continue supporting Panama’s economic growth, fiscal management and inclusion in regional value chains.

“Digital Panama” is a continuation of the work begun in 2016 with the “Panama Online” loan operation. Through that operation, the IDB is helping the country create an online version of approximately 400 government procedures for citizens and companies, including COVID-19 vaccine registration, and implement digital financial-management tools in 68 municipalities to more efficiently and transparently manage public resources. 

Minister Alexander said: “This program has a major impact on the country’s economic development because it digitalizes processes within and between agencies. This streamlines government business for the private sector, citizens and the state itself, with savings for all parties. By digitalizing, the government can also receive revenue more quickly and easily by streamlining tax collection, increasing transparency and spurring economic recovery. This process also enhances the quality of public spending.”

Through the “Digital Panama” loan, the IDB will finance the design, construction and launch of the Digital Government Innovation Hub headquarters, which will house technical units linked to the digital transformation process and cybersecurity.

In the area of training digital talent, the IDB financing will support a pilot version of an information and communications technology (ICT) career path at three government agencies. The program will emphasize gender balance and diversity, as well as the use of ICT skills to economically empower indigenous women, with the possibility of adapting the program to other groups. The loan will also finance mobile units to reach areas with more vulnerable populations to provide gender-sensitive training in ICT and digital transactions.

Panama will also use the resources to improve its Single Portal for Citizens by integrating additional government agencies. The loan will also support the design and launch of the National Data Strategy, as well as training on ICT and cybersecurity in public administration.

This operation is in line with the Bank’s Vision 2025, which aims to achieve recovery and sustainable, inclusive growth in Latin America and the Caribbean by investing in areas including digitalization, gender equity, and climate change. It also aligns with the IDB Group’s Country Strategy with Panama for 2021-2024, where the digital transformation of public administration is a priority area.

About the Inter-American Development Bank
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social, and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance, and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.