President Alberto Fernández is pledging that an accelerated vaccination campaign will help spawn economic growth for indebted and inflation-riddled Argentina.
The Peronist leader promised to vaccinate seven million Argentines in August with a second dose in a televised address on Friday. Only 17 percent of the country is currently fully vaccinated, while 57 percent have had at least one dose.
He added that the economy will grow seven percent this year and 4.5 percent in 2022 – the latter a new forecast. The president conceded that inflation remains high, but assured viewers that it’s slowing down, while job growth is picking up.
He also committed to a negotiation with the International Monetary Fund to reschedule payments on US$45 billion owed to the lender in a way that would be pain-free for Argentines.
“We’re growing now and we’re going to resolve the problem with the International Monetary Fund,” he said. “We’re going to do it without pressure, without rushing, and we’ll do it taking care of Argentines.”
Fernandez’s speech comes just hours before he and his team will discuss the IMF deal, among several other topics, with Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser to US President Joe Biden. Sullivan is in Buenos Aires after a day of meetings Thursday in Brasilia.
The president’s broad Frente de Todos coalition faces its first test with a PASO primary election in September and a national midterm vote on November 14.