TOKYO - The Argentine finance minister led a presentation on his country's growth prospects and its ambitious investment potential in infrastructure and energy projects in the Japanese capital Friday.
While speaking at the Japan-Argentina economic forum, attended by some 400 representatives of the business world, Luis Caputo said Argentina has the most ambitious infrastructure plan in its history, with investment opportunities worth $90 billion in this sector and $130 billion in energy and mining.
The country seeks to double the number of highways, increase aviation cabotage, airports, trains, and has bids worth $11 billion in transport, the minister said.
He added previous Argentine governments did nothing to encourage investment in infrastructure, and, in fact, the freezing of public tariffs affected investment, something the current administration seeks to tackle by boosting tenders.
Energy is another sector where Argentina has planned huge investments, including $4 billion in renewables, more than $2 billion in thermal energy and projected investments of $10 billion in oil and gas in the Vaca Muerta (Dead Cow) region in southern Argentina.
"These investments (in Dead Cow) will be spread over the next few years, to reach $15 billion in 2019," a figure that accounts for more than 2 percent of Argentina's GDP, said Caputo.
Caputo, who is accompanying President Mauricio Macri in his two-day work visit to Japan, also said the Argentine government plans to encourage the development of small and medium enterprises and facilitate access to credits.
He said Argentina has already noted that the market is confident about the measures it is taking to boost the country's economic growth - estimated at around 3 percent by 2017 - and its efforts to contain inflation between 12 and 17 percent this year, while hoping for single digit inflation in 2019.
"Last century (Argentina) was the seventh most important economy in the world. We want to recover that place of privilege amongst world economies," added Caputo.