The $60 million loan will support the strengthening of the Central American country’s innovation ecosystem
Panama will promote the digital transformation of management and public services with a $60 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The operation will finance a program to enhance the efficiency of transactions and services by improving cybersecurity effectiveness in digital services and meeting the demand for digital transactions. This will lead to a cost reduction in the government’s interaction with citizens and companies, with an emphasis on vulnerable populations.
The loan will support the institutional strengthening of the digital innovation and cybersecurity ecosystem in the country. It will finance the design, construction, and launch of the Digital Government Innovation Hub building, which will house technical units linked to the digital transformation process and cyber security. In addition, it will finance an upgrade to the government cloud and the management framework of the government’s digital innovation projects.
The program will also promote the simplification and digitization of priority processes for economic and social recovery. Some of the most important tasks to this effect include the implementation of improvements to the Unified Citizen’s Portal – integrating more public agencies – the inclusion of unique digital files, and support for the design and implementation of a National Data Strategy.
In the area of digital talent training, IDB financing will support the creation and strengthening of information and communication technology (ICT) and cybersecurity skills throughout the public administration.
Other IDB initiatives include a pilot program in three public agencies for an ICT career plan with a gender and diversity focus, as well as the development of ICT skills focused on the economic empowerment of indigenous women, with the potential to be adapted for other groups.
The project will also finance the use of mobile structures for training activities in competencies, digital transactions, and ICT skills with a gender perspective, to reach areas where vulnerable populations have a greater presence.
Citizens and companies in general will be the program’s direct beneficiaries. Its implementation will reduce transaction costs with the government, with a safer digital environment and adequate management and protection of their data. The most vulnerable population, particularly indigenous women, will have better access to and skills for processing transactions and using digital services.
This operation is in line with Vision 2025 – Reinvest in the Americas: A Decade of Opportunity , created by the IDB to achieve recovery and inclusive growth in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the areas of digital economy, gender and inclusion, and climate change, as well as with the IDB Group Country Strategy with Panama for 2021-2024, where the digital transformation of public administration is a priority area.
The IDB loan of $60 million has a repayment term of 20 years, a grace period of 5 and a half years, an interest rate based on SOFR (Secured Overnight Financing Rate), and local counterpart funds for $14.4 million and with government approval.
About the IDB
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.
María Inés Vásquez
IDB Project Team Leader