Córdoba, Argentina: Economic Research and Analysis
08 Oct 2018
In a land of great diversity and culture, Argentina seeks to unlock the potential of its natural resources
Argentina is a land of rich cultural and national heritage, and significant geographical diversity, which attracts visitors from around the world. The strategic importance of the country’s capital, Buenos Aires, whose port remains a significant trading centre both regionally and internationally, became the administrative centre of the Viceroyalty of Peru under Spanish rule in the late 18th and early 19th century.
Today, despite being one of the largest economies in Latin America, Argentina has suffered serious economic crises over the past two decades, which
have stymied its growth, constricted foreign direct investment into its productive sectors and limited the country’s ability to harness its vast natural resources.
The country’s economy is driven by the oil and gas industry, boasting significant onshore, offshore and shale oil and gas reserves, alongside its agricultural and livestock industries. According to the World Bank, in 2017 the country’s GDP was $637.6bn, up 2.3% from the previous year. Argentina ranked 45th out of 188 countries in the UN’s 2016 “Human Development Report”, and second in Latin America behind Chile, in 38th place. Health care and education have seen significant investment over the past decade, and account for around 7% and 6% of GDP, respectively.
On the regional and global stage Argentina has a high profile, where it currently chairs the G20 and is an observer member of the Pacific Alliance, while aspiring towards OECD membership. However, with the government having been granted a $50bn bailout from the IMF in June 2018, the spectre of economic crisis and indebtedness looks to have reappeared, just at a time when investors appeared to be showing renewed interest in the country following the election victory of pro-business President Mauricio Macri in October 2015.
Argentina has a rich heritage of human habitation and activity, and has 35 indigenous ethnicities, which include the Aonikenk, Kolla, Qom, Mapuche and Guarani peoples, who currently make up around 2.3% of the population. The native peoples suffered conquest by the Incas in the late 15th century, and then by the Spaniards the following century. Buenos Aires, the country’s capital, was founded in 1536 and was ruled under the Viceroyalty of Peru before becoming the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776. The country declared independence from Spain in 1810 as part of a wave of independence movements across Latin America that included Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Mexico. Following this, a federal state was founded in 1853, now known as the Republic of Argentina. Post-independence also saw Argentina receive successive waves of European immigrants, especially from Italy, evidenced by the large number of Italian surnames to be found in the country today. Before and after the Second World War immigration swelled once more.
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