Economic Progress

Can Argentina's new president save the country's economy?

Supporters of presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez, and his running mate and former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, react in Buenos Aires, Argentina October 27, 2019.   REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes - RC1BE2860970

Supporters of newly elected President Alberto Fernández react in Buenos Aires Image: REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

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Economic Progress

There were celebrations in Argentina last weekend following the election of a new president. But for the winner, Alberto Fernández and his running mate Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (a polarizing former president dubbed "CFK" by supporters), the sobering task of repairing a ravaged economy may dull any post-victory glow.

Mauricio Macri was elected in 2015 on a business-friendly platform that included promises to cut inflation and invest in vital infrastructure. But the country’s GDP proceeded to decline by more than 3% during his tenure, accompanied by a surge in inflation, a currency crisis and a $57 billion IMF bailout – the biggest loan in the international organization’s history.

President Macri’s reelection slogan ahead of Sunday’s vote (“Si, se puede” or “Yes, we can”) may have sounded familiar to anyone who followed Barack Obama’s successful 2008 US presidential campaign (and to fans of the Pointer Sisters). But unlike Obama, Macri faced insurmountable odds as he sought a second term. Argentina’s downbeat economic outlook ultimately doomed his prospects.

Just weeks before the election, a group of investors holding the country’s bonds – heavyweight lenders who would very much like to be paid back with interest – came away from a meeting with Fernández associates and IMF officials braced for steep losses. Meanwhile, Macri’s last-minute warnings that his Peronist opponent is a populist whose interventionist policy proposals are exactly what Argentina doesn’t need were unheeded.

Now, Fernández and his high-profile vice president, who faces an added distraction in the form of a trial for alleged corruption, will have to figure out how to get the world’s 24th-biggest economy, as of 2018, back on track. For more context, here’s a set of links to deeper reading (and viewing) courtesy of the World Economic Forum’s Strategic Intelligence platform:

On the Strategic Intelligence platform you can find feeds of expert analysis related to Argentina, civic participation and hundreds of additional topics. You’ll need to register to view.

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Joe Myers

April 12, 2024

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