President Alberto Fernández pitched Argentina’s growth potential to a host of top global investment funds on Tuesday, as he asked them to back the country and its bid for economic recovery.
A total of 18 funds, including Ray Dalio's Bridgewater Associates and Singapore's Temasek Holdings, participated in an online videoconference call with Fernández, presidential advisor Cecilia Nicolin and Economy Minister Martín Guzmán, during which a host of potential projects were highlighted and discussed. Representatives from funds in China, Japan and Saudi Arabia also took part.
"Argentina has an endless capacity to increase production and development, the only thing we needs is capital to mobilise it," Fernández said in the call. The country "does not treat foreign investors in any other way, that is to say, foreign investment in Argentina is treated exactly the same as local investment," he claimed.
The president invited those gathered to “turn your gaze to Argentina,” and told them he wanted “foreign investment” that “produces and wins.”
The country had “many opportunities” for foreign investors, he added, citing lithium reserves, agro-industrial production and the Vaca Muerta shale formation in Argentina’s south.
In tune, Fernández addressed the "broad national perspectives for further development of agribusiness" and argued that the "possibility that Argentina will become a producer of food in the world is very certain."
"What is lacking are investments that these industries need to produce local primary production," he said.
According to the reports, much of the call – which was organised by the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev – was devoted to Vaca Muerta, with the president describing the shale basin as "a fundamental pillar" for Argentina’s economic recovery.
Representatives from private and sovereign wealth funds in Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Italy, Oman, India, Brazil, Thailand and Azerbaijan were also on the call.
"We are very interested in developing our partnership with Argentina. The 15 partners of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which represents the administration of more than US$5 billion, have undertaken projects with us in Russia and other markets, and have expressed interest in using their potential and experience for joint projects with Argentina, "said Dmitriev.
Economy to grow 7%, says Guzmán
For his part, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán said that the economy is expected to grow by around seven percent this year, and that Argentina’s is beginning to see a recovery in employment levels and improved public accounts. Economists expect gross domestic product to rebound 6.2 percent from last year, according to the most recent Central Bank survey of analysts.
Guzmán assured investors that the government was working to “solve each of the structural problems” facing the economy, and claimed that Argentina was the fastest recovering economy in Latin America.
Fernández is seeking to boost investment from foreign capital in a bid to jumpstart a recovery of Argentina’s economy, which contracted by almost 10 percent amid the coronavirus pandemic. Strict capital controls introduced by the Peronist government have discouraged investment, while high inflation and dwindling Central Bank reserves have left investors low on confidence.
With Argentina’s ongoing talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over repayments for a US$45-billion credit line now seemingly postponed, the country’s sovereign bonds have fallen to 30 cents on the dollar, just six months after the government successfully renegotiated debt worth US$65 billion with private bondholders.