Panama booms as poor look on
Panama is expanding its famous canal and solidifying free-trade, but a third of its people remain in poverty.
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2010 23:17 GMT

Panama's strategic location at the crossroads of trade in the Western Hemisphere has driven its economy for nearly a century - the nation currently has the highest growth rate in Latin America.

Nearly 100 years after first building its famous canal, the country is now expanding the waterway to allow the world's largest vessels to pass through. It is similarly trying to expand free trade agreements, such as one with the United States that has yet to be ratified in Washington, DC.

But Panama's thirst for growth runs the risk of sidelining its working population, as roughly a third of the country remains in poverty.

Al Jazeera's Monica Villamizar reports from Panama City.

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