Argentina is a vast and diverse country, the eighth largest in the world, yet this major agricultural exporter mostly transports goods by road. But that’s changing.
CGTN’s Joel Richards reports.
Argentina has one of the world’s most extensive railway networks, once the pride of the nation, but it’s now mostly in a state of chronic disrepair.
Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich is overseeing an ambitious plan to transform the country’s transportation infrastructure and attract foreign investment.
“Argentina is a country of opportunities,” Dietrich said. “China and other nations have built up their infrastructure to boost development, but in Argentina, when it comes to transport, there’s still much to be done.”
The plans include revamping the railway network, in cooperation with China, to lower the cost of freight cargo for the agricultural sector.
Argentina is also opening up its skies to low-cost airlines to help boost the travel market.
Yet the economy is struggling. Ministries are facing cuts across the board. So the government is now placing its hopes on public-private partnerships to help finance infrastructure projects the country desperately needs.
On Friday, the transport ministry signed the first two Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects for new highways, valued at more than $2 billion.
Megan Cook , an analyst at the Buenos Aires consultancy Cefeidas Group, said the government has done what it can to create a framework for investment, receiving 32 bids for 10 major projects, but that economic conditions are still unstable.
“One of the main challenges is that it is hard to get financing to get these projects off the ground,” Cook said. “We have already seen some delays in PPP projects related to the perception that Argentina is a risky and uncertain place to invest large amounts of money.”
Argentina hopes upgrading its transport links will boost key industries such as agriculture, mining and tourism.
Argentine Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich discusses PPP for infrastructure
CGTN’S Joel Richards talks with Argentine Trasnport Minister Guillermo Dietrich about using public-private partnerships to improve the country’s infrastructure