After decades of economic populism and missed opportunities, Argentina is at last opening up to the global economy, thanks to new political leadership in Buenos Aires.
This was evident in Sydney on 21 March when the Vice President of Argentina, Ms Gabriella Michetti, and her delegation of 6 Ministers, met with Australian business and university representatives over a breakfast discussion sponsored by Austrade.
‘Argentina is now a go-to destination for global investment’, said Steve Howard, Secretary General of the Global Foundation, who hosted Ms Michetti’s Sydney meeting with Australian entrepreneurs, including those already present in Argentina, who indicated they are planning to expand their investments.
Vice President Marchetti was elected as the running mate of President Mauricio Macri, former Mayor of Buenos Aires and a successful businessman, in December 2015. In the short period of time since, they have demonstrated a new openness in Argentina to international business and investment and a fast-tracking of business approval processes.
Ms Marchetti emphasised that the Macri Government, as with governments elsewhere, faces a continuing challenge to ensure that economic development benefits the poor and is sustainable, beyond the short-term. Also, early on in this new era, partnership between incoming foreign firms and local business is the generally preferred model and her Government stands ready to encourage and facilitate inbound investment efforts.
This balanced, pro-growth approach, known as ‘co-operative globalisation’ by the Global Foundation, is a deliberate and contrary force to populist and protectionist tendencies that Argentina has experienced in the past and that have recently emerged in major economies. It emphasises that enlightened business must lead the way in promoting inclusive growth and that nations including Australia and, it now appears, Argentina, have no choice but to be open to the world. The co-operative approach requires that the benefits of this openness are fairly shared within and between nations.
Pope Francis, who also hails from Argentina, and other world leaders, specifically endorsed the Global Foundation’s approach to ‘co-operative globalisation’ at its recent 2017 Rome Roundtable meeting.
‘We were heartened to hear Argentinian Vice President Marchetti also endorse this inclusive approach to economic growth at our Sydney discussions’, said Steve Howard. ‘This is good news for Argentina and very good news for the world, that an unusual coalition of global leaders, from governments, faiths, institutions and civil society, is growing. They are encouraging a positive and balanced leadership role by enlightened business and are together striving for continuing global openness and sustainable growth’.
At the invitation of Vice President Marchetti, the Global Foundation, in conjunction with Austrade, is considering a business mission to Argentina, to further explore opportunities for co-investment in infrastructure and service sectors, including education.
At the same time, the Global Foundation has extended an invitation to Vice President Marchetti to participate in the 2018 Rome Roundtable, expected to be held next January, at which time the progress that participants and the world in general have made towards achieving inclusive growth, will be reported and evaluated.