Former Howard Air Force Base Being Converted Into “Multinational Magnet”

Former Howard Air Force Base Being Converted Into “Multinational Magnet”

Monday, November 22 2010 @ 09:45 AM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 35
Of the former Howard Air Base only the airport will remain. What was once a place reserved for U.S. military operations is going through a conversion. You now have an economy open to multinationals and residential projects developed by the Agency of the Panama Pacific Special Economic Area (AAEEPP). Through an agreement reached with London & Regional Panama, the master developer of some 1,400 hectares of area of a total landmass of 2,005 2.005 hectares, already $120 million dollars has been invested as part of an ambitious project that aims to invest $705 million dollars in the contract established for 40 years. This was announced by Olmedo Alfaro, the manager of the AAEEPP, who says his mission is not to plan but to “execute.”

MULTINATIONAL MAGNET – Since 2004 when the AAEEPP was created, companies involved in logistics, call centers and technology development have found in the former Howard Air Force Base not only a place with tax incentives (tax exemption) and one-stop procedures, but a strategic position that will be connected to the Free Zone through a highway that will be specially constructed in order to enhance the efficiency of the area.

Among some of the more than 80 companies already operating on Howard are Dell, which has the highest number of labor contracts with more than 2,000 people working in three shifts, Albacrome, 3M, and Panama Aerospace Engineering, located on the campus of the Howard International Airport, dedicated to the maintenance, repair and conversion of aircraft.

THE CHALLENGE OF EMPLOYMENT – According to Alfaro, these large companies in turn attract others that will provide them the services they need and that have opened offices in the special zone, such as Cable & Wireless Panama has already installed a data center, and a new nursery has opened call the Howard Kids Development. The administrator says the establishment of enterprises, and the growth that has been generated since 2007, has led to the creation of 4,200 direct jobs, however, the plan is to multiply these benefits to reach young people and workers in the western sector of the city. The AAEEPP strategic plan states that, in 2012, the agency will have created a workforce of 11,382 permanent employees. (La Estrella)

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