Israeli businesses should examine Panama’s potential


Cybertech Latin America, held for the sixth consecutive year in Panama City, closed yesterday with the participation of more than a thousand people and cyber and technology experts from around the world.

Panama is interested in becoming a sustainable investment center and wants to increase cooperation with the State of Israel in technological and economic fields.

Among those who participated in the conference were Panama’s Foreign Minister, Janaina Tewaney Mencomo; Israeli ambassador to Panama, Itai Bardov; entrepreneur and founder of “Cybertech”, Amir Rapaport; Danilo Fernandez, senior manager at Cable & Wireless LTD; Aviram Atzaba, Director of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate; Lisa Plaggemier, CEO of the National CyberSecurity Alliance, along with many executives from around the world in the fields of cyber, artificial intelligence (AI), IOT and more.

During the conference, workshops were held by CAPATEC, a leader in the field of promoting information and communication technologies (ICT) in Panama.

A 3D-printed Cyber word standing on PC motherboard is seen in this illustration picture, October 26, 2017. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION)

The conference raised issues such as cyber security in the age of artificial intelligence, the major cyber challenges for 2024, building cyber ecosystems, the Israeli cyber battle during the Israel-Hamas war, the challenges of artificial intelligence, and women in technology.

Cybertech Latin America was founded in 2017 and is connects the worlds of cyber, innovation and business in Latin America.

The organization of the international event was partnered, among others, by the Israeli Embassy in Panama and the AIG company, with corporations from around the world in attendance, along with dynamic start-up companies from Latin America and prominent industry, government figures, and decision-makers.

The conference combines technology, industry, government, and academia in a unique way. It positions Panama as the host of an event of utmost importance in the cyber world.

The Panama Chamber of Telecommunications and Innovation is working to render Panama a global center for digital transformation, shaping the future of technology.


The entrepreneur and founder of “Cybertech,” Amir Rapaport, said, “the Cybertech conference is of great importance in strengthening the economic, technological and commercial ties between Panama and Israel.”

Israel’s ambassador to Panama, Bardov, said in an interview that “the situation with Panama is good along with the relations with the Panama government, which is friendly. The media coverage definitely highlights and mentions the attack, the October 7 massacre, and Hamas’s terrorism. Of course, there are also pro-Palestinian voices, But I’ve seen several statements of support for Israel, including from the Jewish and evangelical community.

“Five days after the attack, we organized a huge event here in the park with over 3,000 people. They came with Israeli flags. A month ago, I spoke here at an event for the evangelical community in front of 35,000 people. I spoke about the need to release all the hostages and defeat Hamas, and I received applause. All in all, the situation in Panama is not as difficult as in Europe.”

Is there an increase in antisemitism here in Panama?

“No. There are not many incidents of antisemitism in Panama. There is a Jewish community of 15,000 people. It is very active. It is largely religious. You will see crowds of Jews going to the synagogue. They are not attacked. We have not encountered any antisemitic incidents. On social media, like everywhere in the world, you can encounter antisemitism. But there is no antisemitism here. People feel safe here, and the situation is positive. Israel has many, many friends in the world, and they are not always reflected in the media. And they do not go out en masse to demonstrate because Israel is winning the war against Hamas. We have many friends here in Panama as well.”

Can you expound upon your activities in Panama and the economic situation?

“Since October 7, we have been focused on a public diplomacy campaign regarding Hamas terrorism, what the terror group has done, and the need to remove the threat of Hamas both to Israeli citizens and to Gazan citizens.

“We emphasize the immediate release of all the hostages. At the same time, we know that the state needs to move forward and get stronger. And one of the Foreign Ministry’s actions in relation to October 7 is promoting the Israeli economy.

“We are promoting partnerships. Before October 7, we signed an agreement for a free trade area between Israel and Panama. We are promoting additional projects. This week was the Cybertech Conference event, the sixth time we’ve held the conference here in Panama. During COVID-19, the conferences were online. But last year and this year, we returned to do it physically. This is a huge conference in the field of cyber and cooperation with Cybertech Israel. And it serves all the countries of Latin America. To present Israel’s capabilities in the cyber field and to promote cooperation between Israeli companies and companies from the Latin American region. To promote cooperation in the field of cyber security and technologies. We have had successes in past years, including the agreements we signed and promoted, and I hope that this year we will also be able to continue promoting agreements.”

Why Panama?

“Panama has several advantages. It is a bridge between North and South America. It is the only land area that connects North and South America. It serves as a geographic and digital center. As such, all internet infrastructure in Central America passes through Panama. So much server activity and internet activity goes on here.

“Panama is also a transportation center. A Panamanian company named Copa Airlines reaches the most destinations in South, Central, and North America. Panama is also strong in fintech and the financial banking sector, including banking services. This sector is very strong and developed. Fields such as cybersecurity, fintech, and financial systems protection are very strong here. Therefore, all these things are an advantage for Israel as well because they allow us to present our capabilities to a large number of companies and relevant parties throughout the continent.”

What about the import and export of products from Panama to Israel?

“We’ve promoted a number of agreements with Panama. For example,  the Technology Park in Be’er Sheva. In April, I participated in a delegation with the Foreign Minister, the Agriculture Minister, and the Economy Minister of Panama. We were together in Israel and visited the base camp in Be’er Sheva. Similarly, we invited Base Camp to a conference last year in Panama.

“We signed an agreement with OU which ensures Cybertech Israel will establish a technology park here in Panama. We have signed agreements between the Innovation Authority of the Government of Panama and the Innovation Authority of Israel, and on this basis, we promote all kinds of activities in the fields of technology and cyber.

“Imports and exports are spread over several fields. In Israel, we import pineapples and coffee from Panama. From Israel, our exports are related to industries, industrial machinery, and plastics-related fields. The potential for trade between Israel and Panama has not been fully realized. One of the problems is because of the great distance between Israel and Panama. Since it is possible to work a lot online in the field of cyber and technologies, it is easier to create business relationships between companies and countries.”

Besides cyber, is there anything big you are trying to promote between the countries?

“Technologies related to water and agriculture are very much in demand here. I am in contact with the Panama Canal, which is currently dealing with a drought and quite serious water problems, and I am trying to offer Israeli technological solutions for the canal. We also promote projects in the field of health. There is a place here called the City of Health. It is a huge hospital complex. Israeli companies sell solutions there in the medical field.”

What about the subject of accessibility in Panama?

“We are working on projects with Panama’s Paralympic team. A year and a half ago, we held a Zoom conference regarding accessibility and which solutions Israel can provide for people with disabilities. We donated a large number of wheelchairs to underprivileged populations in cooperation with the Israeli Foreign Ministry. They value Israel. I would recommend that businessmen in Israel come to Panama to examine the business and economic potential of the country. Because many things can be promoted. Panama’s geographic location is an advantage for doing business with other countries in Latin America. Panama is home to the Israel-Panama Investments Office, which helps Israeli investors who want to conduct business in Panama.”

Does Panama grant tax benefits to investors?

“Panama has various programs designed to help investors, including tax benefits. On the other hand, they have requirements to maintain the economy. For example, a company that wants to promote activity in Panama must work with a Panamanian partner. That is, find a Panamanian company that will be your partner. An Israeli company cannot independently operate here. Foreign investors are given benefits here. Salary levels here are not high, which makes it easier. It is worthwhile for Israeli companies to come and examine the advantages that Panama has to offer.”