Panama City sits at a global crossroads. In 2022, more than 240,000 international migrants crossed through Panama, many of them with the goal of reaching the United States. Travelers are originating mostly from countries such as Venezuela or Haiti but also from Bangladesh, Africa, and Central Asia. Panama City represents the urban capital of a geographic crossroads.
Panama City is a dynamic urban center. The city is home to approx. 20,000 Muslims, mostly originating from Lebanon and from South Asia, and one of the first mosques established was associated with the Ahmadiyya Muslims.
Panama is also home to approx. 200,000 Chinese. The first arrivals to Panama from China were in the 1850’s, and despite historical periods of official government-sponsored discrimination, the Chinese community has played an increasingly significant role in the commerce and daily life of Panama City. It is the largest Chinese community in Central America. While a large Chinese community has existed for some time, most new arrivals to Panama have been coming from Hong Kong & Guangdong provinces and are Taiwanese and Cantonese speaking immigrants.
While Barrio Chino near Casco Viejo has the official designation of historical Chinatown in Panama City, El Dorado, a middle-class suburb, has become a growing unofficial Chinatown.
For disciple-makers hoping to serve in Latin America while recognizing the strategic importance of applying multiplication strategies in global cities, Panama City is a dynamic mission opportunity.