Economic growth matters, but it is just one facet of development. Policy makers should focus their attention on ensuring that their country’s development path is sustainable and that the lives of their citizens improve. This requires reconciling economic, social and environmental objectives.

OECD Development Pathways is a series that looks at multiple development objectives beyond an exclusive focus on growth. It recognises well-being as part and parcel of development and helps governments identify the main constraints to more equitable and sustainable growth by undertaking a multi-dimensional country review (MDCR). Governments trying to achieve economic, social and environmental objectives need to understand the constraints they face and develop comprehensive and well sequenced strategies for reform that take into account the complementarities and trade- offs across policies. The MDCR methodology is based on quantitative economic analysis, as well as qualitative approaches including foresight and participatory workshops that involve actors from the private and public sectors, civil society, and academia.

The MDCRs are composed of three distinct phases: initial assessment, in-depth analysis and recommendations, and implementation of reforms in the identified key areas. This approach allows for a progressive learning process about the country’s specific challenges and opportunities that culminates in a final synthesis report to inform reforms in the country.

The MDCR of Panama is the third review, following that of Peru and Uruguay, to be undertaken by the OECD in Latin America. The MDCR of Panama – Volume 1, Initial Assessment, identifies the main barriers to further inclusive development. It highlights that promoting equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and improving the well-being of all citizens should be at the core of Panama’s development strategies.

This MDCR is designed to help Panama formulate development strategies, and identify and support the policy reforms needed to achieve further sustainable and inclusive development. This first volume presents a diagnosis of some of the main impediments to development. Forthcoming volumes will present an in-depth analysis of the main constraints, accompanied by specific policy recommendations to carry out structural reforms and create the conditions for making reform happen. These analyses support Panama’s own development agenda towards achieving a brighter future for its citizens.