ARGENTINA: A COMPETITIVE ECONOMY INTEGRATED INTO THE WORLD
Argentina offers opportunities that arouse enormous interest in investors: in a world where population is growing exponentially the country is one of the largest producers of food, has abundant reserves of minerals and drinking water, and optimal conditions for the development of renewable energy, such as wind and solar.
The Argentine Investment and International Trade Agency has identified more than US$ 300 billion in investment opportunities in niche sectors in different productive activities: telecommunications, renewable energy, forestry, industry, tourism, automotive, software, biotechnology or aquaculture, among many others.
Renewable energies, for example, are a key sector within the country's productive strategy, as it is an industry with great export potential and different business and investment opportunities. Argentina has a growth plan to integrate renewable sources in its electrical matrix and foresees its share of renewable energies rising from 8% by the end of 2017 to 20% by 2025. Meeting this objective implies clear investment opportunities of US$ 15 billion over the next 8 years for the construction and start-up of projects for the production of wind power, solar energy, biomass plants, biogas and small hydroelectric usage.
Among the most strategic sectors is also the oil & gas sector, which leads the ranking of announcements since President Macri took office with almost US$ 50 billion, and which was revitalized after the agreement to promote Vaca Muerta (second reserve of shale gas and fourth of shale oil, worldwide). This agreement had an enormous impact because it substantially improved production costs. Argentina has achieved a real revolution in the unconventional energy sector. Today, Vaca Muerta has costs that allow the country to have productivity levels similar to those of the United States.
Infrastructure is another of the areas where there are many opportunities, and which is about to enter a very interesting phase with the Public-Private Participation (PPP) projects. After investing as never before in the country's history to improve connectivity and infrastructure throughout the country, the launch of the PPP system opens extraordinary prospects for companies interested in doing business in this sector. In the first stage alone, a US$ 30 billion plan is being implemented for the next six years, mainly in roads, energy and logistics works, to enhance the structural competitiveness of sectors such as agro-industrial, mining, energy and construction.
Precisely mining is another of the central sectors in the strategy of attracting productive investments, where the country is becoming increasingly prominent on the global stage especially for the opportunities offered by production of lithium. Argentina's lithium reserves covers 750,000 km2 of areas of high potential for sustainable mining exploitation, being 75% still unexplored. In lithium, for example, it has the capacity to multiply current production 11 times, going from 13,000 tons to almost 150,000 tons. Something very similar happens with copper, which has the potential to multiply its production 9 times, and even in silver and gold, which are a little more developed, production could triple and double, respectively.
In addition, the country has a consolidated regional leadership in Knowledge-Based Services (KBS), with an important business base made up of both SMEs and large companies, which develop and apply technologies at the frontier of knowledge, along with the best human capital. Argentina is the second exporter of KBS in Latin America in all categories and the first software exporter. It also has many opportunities in technology-based niches with high added value such as AgTech, FinTech, video games and audiovisual, for example.
Almost 3 years ago, with the onset of President Macri's government, the international community celebrated Argentina's return to the global discussion on the 21st century agenda. At the same time, the country began a path of transformation towards a more competitive modern economy, well integrated into the world, which ensures a balanced and sustained development for society. His administration established clear rules for business endeavors and rebuilt the national statistics bureau, thus restoring transparency and institutionalism, breaking with international isolation and regaining trust from the world.
These macroeconomic and institutional transformations have allowed the country to start working on an ambitious productive agenda, creating the conditions and tools that make it possible for the landing of new investment projects.
Today Argentina has an economic program based on investment and exports as engines of growth. For the first time in 10 years, it presented a budget to balance its public accounts in 2019 and to achieve a primary surplus in 2020. This will allow it to move towards a solid and autonomous economy, finally breaking the cycle of recurrent crises, permanent trade deficits, exchange rate instability and inflation.
The National Government is committed to this structural transformation and continues with the plan of essential reforms to boost investment, improve productivity and increase competitiveness, because that is where real quality employment exists.
The conditions are right and ripe. If there ever was a promising moment in Argentina to invest and do business, it is surely now.