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Published On: Wed, Dec 28th, 2016

Half of Panama’s Rural Population Affected by Poverty

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nsnbc : Some 50 percent of the Panamanian rural population lives under what is regarded as the poverty line. 14 percent of the country’s urban population including those in the capital is also affected.

Mossack Fonseca’s Panama office. EPA/Alejandro Bolivar

Mossack Fonseca’s Panama office. EPA/Alejandro Bolivar

The Labor Foundation of Panama published these disturbing data about poverty rates in the country. The foundation also stressed that poverty creates a vicious, self-perpetuating circle.

Poverty, especially in rural districts contributes to unemployment as many won’t even have the means to go to places where they could seek employment. Poverty especially contributes to the isolation of indigenous communities. The foundation noted that as many as 87 percent of people in rural indigenous communities live below the poverty line.

Moreover, the situation also contributes to lowering the country’s GDP thus further contributing to increased poverty. The Labor Foundation stressed that as many as 75 percent of jobs created in 2016 were jobs in the “informal sector” while the net employment rate in the private sector has decreased by about 15,000 jobs.

The data also reveal precarious economic vulnerability of people in rural areas where many barely hand on to life due to subsistence farming. The most recent poll on homes by the Panamanian General Comptroller’s Office revealed that the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed people increased for the fourth consecutive year in the country.

The poll also showed that the unemployment rate increased up to 5.8 percent of the economically active population, with greater incidence among young people between 20 and 24 years of age. Meanwhile, the country and its elite accumulates considerable wealth by giving Panama the status of a tax-haven for transnational corporations and international oligarchs.

F/AK – nsnbc 28.12.2016

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