January 29 to February 2, 2024

CONNECTING THE WORLD FOR THE PEOPLE

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The world is changing rapidly

ACE catches you up to speed with the latest models, technologies, and mechanisms to propel inclusive economic development

Presentations of Economic Development Plans

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Visits to Top Innovation Sites

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Specialized Breakout Sessions

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Business Meetings

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Presentations of Competitiveness Strategies

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Impact Networking

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Exchange of Innovative Practices

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What is ACE?

ACE is the premier economic development, innovation, and entrepreneurial network of the Americas and is one of the leading high–level events of the Organization of American States (OAS) that is coordinated with the Government of the United States through the State Department and the Department of Commerce. It is a powerful cooperation mechanism that brings together high-level authorities and key decision makers from the Americas and beyond to explore mutually beneficial partnerships to strengthen inclusive economic development.

Testimonies

FAQ

• Promoting long-term multilateral commercial, trade and investment partnerships among decision-makers of the Americas and beyond;

• Identifying and sharing best practices in economic development, including public-private partnerships, building local assets that grow businesses, cluster development, promoting entrepreneurship and coordinating regional economic development strategies;

• Stimulating capital investment and job creation in the region;

• Fostering an environment for innovative companies to start and expand;

• Bringing together universities, industries and governments to solve complex challenges no one sector or business could address on its own;

• Facilitating commerce and trade;

• Promoting economic resiliency; and,

• Enhancing opportunities for underserved populations.

• Equity;

• Recovery & Resilience;

• Workforce Development;

• Manufacturing;

• Technology-Based Economic Development:

• Environmentally-Sustainable Development:

• Exports and FDI;

• Business Creation and Development; and

• Integrated Economic Development.

ACE Panama is organized by the Organization of American States (OAS), the Government of Panama, and the Government of the United States. It is an initiative facilitated by the Inter- American Competitiveness Network (RIAC). The United States Government, through the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) in coordination with the International Trade Administration (ITA), and the Department of State (Permanent Mission to the OAS), alongside the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) as the RIAC Technical Secretariat, jointly oversee and support ACE since its creation in 2014.

Since its inception in 2014, ACE has successfully delivered 16th editions and has evolved into a flagship hemispheric program, providing tangible long-term benefits to countries and communities involved.

ACE 1, Georgia, North and South Carolina, United States

ACE 2. Mexico DF, Aguascalientes and Guadalajara, Mexico

ACE 3, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, United States

ACE 4, Province of Córdoba, Argentina

ACE 5, Arizona and California, United States

ACE 6, Province of Ontario, Canada

ACE 7, Texas, United States

ACE 8, Florida, United States

ACE 9, Germany and Israel

ACE 10,  Northern California, United States

ACE 11, Puerto Rico, United States

ACE 12 Santiago de Chile and Valparaiso, Chile

ACE 13, Colorado, United States

ACE 14, Louisiana, United States

ACE 15, Quito, Ecuador

ACE 16, Seattle, United States

ACE 17, Panama, Upcoming

 

The next edition of the Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) will take place in Panama City, Panama from January 29 to February 2, 2024

The call for applications will open on Monday, September 4th and will close on Monday, December 11, 2023.

Applicants are encourage to apply early as the ACE Selection Committee reviews and accepts applicants on a rolling basis.

Top decision-makers from the OAS Member States and Permanent Observers who work on areas related to economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship from the public, private and academic sectors. 

For example:

• Ministers and Vice Ministers;

• Mayors and local top decision makers;

• Chancellors/Vice-Chancellors and Directors of Innovation Centers;

• CEOs and managers of leading companies;

• Presidents of Competitiveness and Innovation Councils and Innovation Agencies;

• Senior Leaders of Regional Economic Development Groups;

• Presidents and Vice Presidents of Chambers of Commerce;

• Top entrepreneurs, among others.

  • Have a professional and academic background that facilitates inter- and intra-country development; such as foreign direct investment, trade, exports, supply chain linkages, shared technology, etc;

  • Be able to allocate resources, propose and adopt critical policies, and possess the necessary connections to make identified priorities and actions possible within your country and in collaboration with other countries;

  • English fluency. Activities during ACE Panama will be carried out only in English;

  • Have a valid visa (if necessary) to enter Panama and be able to provide visa, passport, photo, and other necessary information to complete travel procedures;

  • Ability to participate in the five day-long ACE program. Partial participation is not allowed;

  • Ability to cover the cost of airfare and hotel accommodation is an essential point of consideration for the ACE Selection Committee. Limited financial support is available for specific requests presented to the ACE Committee for consideration

The list of past selected participants who attended previous ACE editions is available here: 
http://riacevents.org/ACE/?page_id=5104

What needs to be covered by selected participants-
Selected participants will be responsible for booking and paying for their airfare arriving and departing from Panama, booking and paying for their hotel accommodation at the ACE selected hotel, arranging and paying for their airport-hotel-airport transportation, and other small miscellaneous items.

What is offered by the organizers-
The organizers offer the ACE program to selected applicants with no registration fee. The organizers will provide meals during the official hours of the program and local transportation from site to site throughout the program.

Participants will be responsible for booking and paying for their airfare and hotel accommodation at the ACE selected hotels in the different host cities, airport-hotel-airport transportation, and other small miscellaneous items. The program will be held in Panama. More details about the agenda will be released closer to the program.

Selected participants will receive an official letter of acceptance to attend ACE Panama with a welcome package that includes and information bulletin. Only selected applicants will be contacted by the organizers.

Prior to arriving in Panama, the group of selected participants will have the opportunity to interact with the organizers and other fellow participants through the ACE Hours Sessions that will be scheduled before the program starts.

The program will be conducted in English.

Selected participants cannot transfer their space to other participants. The program will request that the alternative official apply to the program to be considered.
 

Selected participants must commit and be available to participate for the whole duration of ACE Panama and fully engage in the activities and visits during official program hours as set by the agenda. Partial participation is not allowed.

Once in ACE, always in ACE! Selected participants to ACE Panama who attend the program are part of the network of 1,500+ regional and global leaders that comprise the vibrant and diverse ACE Community.

Every ACE Edition reserves some spaces for former and future ACE hosts and seeks to achieve geographical, sectoral and gender balance in the delegation  whenever is possible.

Only participants who have been sent an official acceptance letter can attend ACE Panama as a delegate. If you have not been sent an acceptance letter, you should consider that you have not been selected. We encourage unsuccessful applicants to reapply in the future and consider attending other ACE events. Please stay tuned for future opportunities to connect with the ACE Network, its technical exchanges, and cooperation opportunities, by following the ACE LinkedIn Page.  

More information can be accessed on the RIAC website http://riacevents.org/ACE/ to read more about prior ACE Editions.

Please follow us in social media using #ACXchange

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Transportation and Logistics

Panama is considered a logistics and transportation hub due to its strategic location and the presence of the Panama Canal. Sitting at the crossroads of North and South America, the Panama Canal provides a vital link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, facilitating global trade, and attracting international shipping companies.  By leveraging its geographic advantage, maritime infrastructure, free trade zones, air connectivity, infrastructure development, and regional integration efforts, Panama has positioned itself as a key player in the global logistics industry.

Clean Energy

Panama has been actively working to diversify its energy mix, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and increasing the share of renewable energy sources. Currently, the primary sources of electricity generation in Panama include hydroelectric power, thermal power (including natural gas and oil), wind energy, and solar energy. The country’s favorable climate conditions and geographical location contribute to the viability of renewable energy projects.

Hydroelectric power is the largest source of electricity in Panama. It accounts for a significant portion of the country’s energy generation capacity and plays a crucial role in meeting the growing demand for electricity. Panama’s hydroelectric power potential enables it to generate surplus electricity that can be exported to neighboring countries. The country is part of the Central American Electrical Interconnection System (SIEPAC), a transmission infrastructure that enables the exchange of electricity among Central American countries. This interconnection enhances energy security, promotes efficiency, and facilitates the integration of renewable energy resources across the region. 

Regenerative Tourism

Panama’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and rich biodiversity make it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and eco-tourists. Panama is actively promoting sustainable and responsible tourism initiatives. Its vision for regenerative tourism focuses on restoring and regenerating natural and cultural resources while providing meaningful experiences for travelers. In collaboration with local communities and stakeholders, the government is encouraging a focus on conserving biodiversity and minimizing negative environmental and socio-cultural impacts. This includes promoting eco-lodges, nature-based tours, and community-based tourism initiatives that provide economic benefits to local communities while preserving natural resources.

Sustainable Water and Agriculture

Panama’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change makes sustainable water and agriculture a high priority for the country. To address potential challenges, Panama is interested in adaptation measures that would promote sustainable agriculture and water management. The country is committed to fostering a blue and green economy through the sustainable use of natural resources. They recently became the first country from Latin America to accede to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention). Further, the new State Agri-Food Policy Act represents a big step towards making its agricultural production more sustainable. The act adopts an inclusive, territorial, and sustainable approach, designed to create jobs and promote the rural economy.

https://unece.org/media/press/380975 

https://www.iica.int/en/press/news/panama-launching-its-state-agri-food-policy-designed-assistance-iica-and-aimed-making 

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Panama is home to various research centers and businesses focused on Technology and Innovation. Information and Communication is a sector with one of the highest FDIs in the country. As part of the Panama Hub Digital strategy, which aims to develop the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Sector and make Panama a Digital Innovation Center, the country seeks to make the ICT sector competitive at an international level through coordinated programs and projects. Financing from the IDB has supported the creation and strengthening of ICT and cybersecurity skills throughout public administration. Panama holds many advantages including a favorable legal framework that protects data privacy making it a natural destination to house data for large companies and governments.  Additionally, Curie, a Google-owned subsea cable, added a branch in Panama, which will enhance connectivity and bandwidth to Central America.

https://propanama.gob.pa/en/Digital 

https://www.trade.gov/market-intelligence/panama-ict-opportunity-new-regional-ixp 

https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/infrastructure/curie-subsea-cable-set-to-transmit-to-chile-with-a-pit-stop-to-panama 

https://www.iadb.org/en/news/panama-will-advance-its-digital-transformation-idb-support

Advanced and Transformative Technologies

Panama’s entrepreneurial spirit and innovation ecosystem are driving the growth of technology startups and digital businesses. The Panamanian government has shown a commitment to promoting the digital sector through various initiatives. This includes creating programs to foster entrepreneurship, providing incentives for technology investments, and developing policies to support the growth of the digital economy. In addition, Panama’s strategic location and well-established logistics infrastructure position it as a potential regional hub for technology services. The country seeks to attract regional headquarters of tech companies, IT outsourcing services, and data centers, leveraging its connectivity and business-friendly environment.