Vice President of Panama visits St. Joe’s
Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado, ’89, Vice President of Panama, visited Saint Joseph’s University to give a talk entitled “Panama: A Critical UN Partner for Sustainable Development Goals” on April 10.
Saint Malo sat down with The Hawk before her presentation to answer a few questions regarding U.S. and Panama relations.
What changes do you expect in U.S. Panama relations under President Trump?
“Panama and the United States have always had a very strong relationship. Our collaboration is strongest I would say on issues like security and diplomacy because Panama is not such a big exporter I wouldn’t think that the changes in policies in that regard is going to really affect Panama, so we have a very positive outlook towards the new administration and we are looking forward to working on that bilateral agenda and strengthening the historic past.”
What are the primary reasons for Panama’s rapid economic growth?
“I would say that the fact that we have a very diversified economy, not one sector of the economy represents more than 20 percent of GDP, so it’s very diverse. You have the financial sector, you have the canal trade commerce and we have been very active in attracting foreign companies to make Panama their home. Taking advantage of I think what is our most priced asset which is our geographical position which makes us a maritime hub, an air hub and has attracted the presence of for example most United Nations regional offices to Panama and many multilateral cooperation’s.”
What can Panama share or teach the U.S. about economic growth?
“I think we try to be inclusive. Panama is what it is because we are very diverse. Before we were even a republic, we have received people from all over the world that have made Panama their home. That continues to happen and that allows us to attract talent in capacities from all over the world. I want to say that we can teach anybody that but I would say that is one of our strongest points in our economy.”