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Global Connections

Connecting Panama and the UAE

By Matthew Knight for CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Did your suggestion make our shortlist of connections?
  • Panama and UAE are important financial and world trade centers
  • Dubai and Panama City both have modern highrise skylines
RELATED TOPICS

London, England (CNN) -- Last week, Global Connections asked you to find links between Panama and the United Arab Emirates.

Once again you responded in your hundreds. Here are some of the connections you made.

"Amar" and "Kurt" wrote in to say both countries are large financial centers, while Angelo Pereira from Costa Rica got in touch via iReport to say that both countries have free trade economic areas.

CNN's Becky Anderson explored these business connections with Panama's vice minister of foreign trade, Jose Domingo Arias and Oussama El Omari from the UAE's Free Trade Zone Authority.

Becky also spoke with Tom Hall, Lonely Planet's travel editor this week to find out what connections he could find between the two.

Track the countries via our interactive map
Video: What connects Panama to UAE?
Video: UAE and Panamanian business connections
Video: Connecting the UAE and Panama

He plumped for a bird connection as both countries feature one on their national flags - the UAE has a falcon. Panama, a harpy eagle.

"Walter Hilliger," "Eapen Mathew" contacted CNN via the blog and Imad Wake from Lebanon sent in an iReport to say that both countries are transport hubs.

Panama's famous canal links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the UAE is home to the Jebel Ali port -- the biggest in the Middle East and the largest man-made harbor in the world.

Dubai is well known for its audacious building program, building a new skyline almost from scratch. But Global Connections viewer Fahima Karmostaji, who lives in Dubai, says that Panama also has many construction projects underway.

Two buildings in particular share an uncanny resemblance as Panamanian viewer, Asia Sher pointed out.

Panama City's Trump Ocean Club, which is currently being built, has a similar sail shape to Dubai's Burj Al Arab tower.

It was a link that students at the Balboa Academy in Panama City also made in their video of connections which they posted on YouTube.

We also spoke to the young Arab fashion designer Khalid AlQasimi, whose designs draw from his upbringing in the Middle East.

As well as being a trade hub, we also learned from Javier Mateo-Vega at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute that Panama is a "hub of biodiversity."

Keep those comments coming in and make sure you join in with our next connections challenge. This week we're looking for links between Germany and India.

The connection can be anything you like -- business, entertainment, sporting, quirky or personal. Whatever your story, we would love to hear from you.

So, thinking caps on, leave your messages on our blog and we'll investigate the best on Connect the World this week.

Happy connecting!