The first edition of the Argentina Business Investment Forum was held in Buenos Aires from September 12 through September 15 as an initiative of the Federal Government and was hosted by the Argentina Investment and Trade Promotion Agency.

The Argentina Business Investment Forum was aimed to highlight investment opportunities and attract foreign direct investment. Gathering business leaders and government officials from Argentina and all over the world, the Argentina Business Investment Forum served as a springboard for showcasing investment opportunities and entice high-level meetings between Argentinean business, government leaders and international investors and partners.

Our firm had the honor to get an invitation to participate in the Argentine Business Investment Forum, which gave us a close and personal view of where Argentina is heading. A summary of some relevant data will be presented below.

First of all, the forum was an opportunity to have updated key figures and data on the potential of Argentina as an international investment destination, such as:

  • 8th largest country in the world with 53% of agricultural land;
  • 3rd largest economy in Latin America with a GDP of $500Bn (after Brazil and Mexico);
  • 2nd highest GDP per capita in the region in PPP terms (U$22,600, after Chile);
  • 2nd highest proportion of middle-class population, lowest Gini coefficient in Latin America;
  • Ranked #1 in Latin America in Human Development Index; #1 in Education Index; 98% literacy rate (Age 10 and over can read and write); High English Proficiency (Ranks 15th in the world according to the Education First English Proficiency Index);
  • World-class labor force, renowned for its technical skills, creativity, and versatility;
  • High connectivity levels, with 75% broadband and 141% mobile penetration;
  • 20 International Airports; 14 ports; 182,000 km of routes and 25,023 km of railways.

(Sources: Argentina Business Investment Forum and Argentina Investment and Trade Promotion Agency)

According to the Argentina Investment and Trade Promotion Agency, investment opportunities for approximately USD 240 Bn have been identified across multiple sectors, both at federal and local levels. Some of these areas are:

  1. Transportation infrastructure;
  2. Federal infrastructure and public works;
  3. Power and renewable energy (wind – 3rd largest wind reserve in the world- and solar – 2nd largest solar reserve in the planet);
  4. Mining (copper, gold, silver, lithium – 4th largest reserve in the world - potassium);
  5. Oil & Gas (4th largest shale oil reserve in the world);
  6. Real Estate and Urban development;
  7. Agribusiness;
  8. Telecommunications & High Technology; and
  9. Tourism.

The Federal and Local governments will foster the private sector participation in the finance, development, and operation of these sectors in multiple forms (e.g. concessions, construction contracts, etc.) and grant different and important incentives for investments.

Venture capital development will also be a public policy backed by the Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises Secretariat of the Argentine Ministry of production. The goals are double: on one hand, to support the creation of accelerators and expansion venture capital funds, specialized in launching, assisting and financing new companies; on the other hand, to promote the creation of high-impact Argentine business venture. Benefits for those qualifying for the programs will be significant.

Investment programs, incentives and benefits are not only backed by the Federal Government but also by the City of Buenos Aires, the Buenos Aires Province and some other major Provinces of Argentina, such as Santa Fe, Córdoba and Río Negro.

All of these programs and initiatives have a general legal business background (e.g. for setting up the businesses, human resources, taxes and intellectual property protection) and some activities even specific regulatory frameworks (such as those for energy and natural resources, mining, oil and gas, banking, insurance and securities). Therefore a professional and careful review and evaluation have to be conducted to take the most advantage of the business opportunities presented.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.