Panama has become one of the main destinations for Venezuelans, having received so far more than 120,000 migrants. One of the main challenges faced by these populations is to achieve economic integration as migrants see their income generation options limited due to legal and financial barriers. In order to remain in Panama and participate in some economic activity, Venezuelans need to obtain legal status (regularization) and have a work permit. For this reason, and according to a report on the 'Situation of the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Population in Panama' (IOM, UNHCR)', about 43% of those surveyed are self-employed or are in the informal sector, which may increase due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given this reality, one of the main migrants’ needs in self-employment or in the informal sector is accessing the formal banking system and financial instruments. In Panama, financial services are not adapted to the needs and particularities of the migrant population, limiting their ability to save, access credit and carry out transactions.
With financing from JuntosEsMejor, the pilot program 'Emprendedores Banesco', promoted by Banesco Panama, will be scaled up to promote the economic and financial inclusion of the Venezuelan migrant population and their vulnerable host communities. The program will promote the development of productive enterprises, the development of soft and administrative skills, access to a special banking instrument, and will establish a seed capital fund to support entrepreneurship.
|Entrepreneurship, Economic Growth, and Finance|