The Woodrow Wilson Center has announced the launch of a new programme dedicated to improving US-Argentine ties and leading policy-relevant research of Latin America’s third-biggest economy.
The Argentina Project, which counts on the support of former US ambassador to Buenos Aires, Noah Mamet, will be headed by Dr. Bejamin N. Gedan, the current South America director on the National Security Council at the White House.
It will be housed in the Wilson’s Center’s Latin America Program and arrives on the back of President Mauricio Macri’s attempts to improve the country’s international profile, opening up the country to global investors after years of protectionism under his predecessor, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Argentina’s ties with the United States changed greatly after Fernández de Kirchner left office in 2015, culminating in former US president Barack Obama’s visit to the country in 2016 during his final year in office.
Obama is due to return to the country this year, when he will visit Córdoba in October this year to close the 2017 Green Economy Summit, organised by the Advanced Leadership Foundation.
Potential. Those involved in the project, which was launched at the US Embassy on Wednesday, say they see great potential for development and transformation in Argentina under the leadership of Macri and aim to provide “independent analysis” for “senior decision-makers, lawmakers, investors, diplomats and journalists.”
“The level of interest today in Argentina and in our bilateral relationship is extraordinary,” said Mamet, a Latin American Program board member who spends some of the year in Buenos Aires.
“It is critical that the US and Argentine governments take full advantage of this historic moment. The Argentina Project at the Wilson Center will work to ensure both countries maximise this great opportunity,” he added.
Macri’s attempts at reform have triggered renewed interest in the United States and beyond about Argentina. Despite the president’s recent decision not to attend the recent United Nations General Assembly, the Macri administration will see its profile among the global community given a considerable boost next year, when Argentina spends a year as president of the G20 group of nations and hosts the summit in Buenos Aires.
Woods Staton, the chairman of the Latin American Program’s advisory board and executive chairman of McDonald’s franchisee Arcos Dorados, hailed the initiative, which will focus on issues such as trade, energy and infrastructure.
“The Argentina Project couldn’t have come at a better time” he said. “For a country with a dizzying history of differing policies, this project will help to institutionalise the historic reforms underway and pave the way for sustainable economic growth.”
Cynthia Arnson, the Latin American Program director said “Argentina and its neighbours are at a critical moment, as they adjust to developments in Brazil and the United States. The next few years will determine whether the economic repositioning is real and permanent. The Argentina Project will provide policymakers insights to help manage this historic process.”