Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises in Panama

What has been done

The ILO and Panama’s Consejo Nacional de la Empresa Privada (CONEP – National Private Enterprise Council) organized the National Enterprise Survey between 2018 and 2019, in order to collect primary information to assess the business environment of the Panamanian economy.

The survey and its sample

The survey was comprised of in-depth interviews with the owners or top managers of 1,237 enterprises, covering the whole country. The sample was stratified by enterprise size, with 49% of Micro enterprises (10 employees and less), 27% of small enterprises (11 to 30 employees), and 24% of medium and large enterprises (31 employees and above). The survey covered all economic sectors, i.e. primary (agriculture, energy, gas, and water), secondary (manufacturing and construction), and tertiary (commerce and services).

The survey gathered insights on business dynamics such as enterprise creation and longevity, diversification, internationalization, innovation, and human capital. Furthermore, enterprises were surveyed on the key obstacles to enterprise development, with a specific focus on access to finance, impact of administrative procedures, and the cost of running a business.


The statistical work carried out through the survey produced a unique and innovative perspective on the Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises in Panama. The data collected through the study will be used by the ILO and by CONEP to advocate for and guide reforms to improve the business environment in Panama, ensuring that such reforms are founded on a solid evidence base.

To complement the analysis of the enabling environment in Panama, a specific study on Technical and professional training for Enterprise Development in Panama was conducted. The study performed a detailed assessment of microdata from the labour force surveys and reviewed secondary data to provide insights on Human Capital creation through TVET in Panama.