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Panama ( / ˈ p æ n ə m ɑː / ( listen ) PAN -ə-mah ; Spanish: Panamá [panaˈma] ), officially called the Republic of Panama ( Spanish : República de Panamá ), is a country in Central America. [8] It is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia (in South America ) to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City , whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half of the country's 4 million people.

Revenue from canal tolls continues to represent a significant portion of Panama's GDP , although commerce, banking, and tourism are major and growing sectors. In 2015 Panama ranked 60th in the world in terms of the Human Development Index. [10] Since 2010, Panama remains the second most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum 's Global Competitiveness Index. Covering around 40 percent of its land area, Panama's jungles are home to an abundance of tropical plants and animals – some of them to be found nowhere else on the planet. [11]

There are several theories about the origin of the name "Panama". Some believe that the country was named after a commonly found species of tree ( Sterculia apetala , the Panama tree). Others believe that the first settlers arrived in Panama in August, when butterflies abound, and that the name means "many butterflies" in an indigenous language.

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