Argentines took to the polls to elect a new leader – Mauricio Macri – after more than a decade rule by the left wing political party, Justicialist, headed by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Her administration has been marred by gross misappropriation of public funds and as a result, Argentina is currently ranked by Transparency International as the 107th most corrupt nation in the world. (Transparency International is a body that measures public sector corruption globally.)
Asides from the high level of corruption that has crippled the economy of Argentina, the economic policies of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner were all anti-business discouraging foreign direct investment into the country – most especially cutting ties with the United States of America.
Her administration operated under strict capital control which unfortunately has affected foreign reserve putting it at a nine-year low. Inflation is currently soaring at above 20% and massive debt record also blocks the country’s access to credit facilities from international organisations.
Mr. Mauricio Macri, the incumbent mayor of Buenos Aires and chairman of Boca Junior football club, is a centre right politician who has promised to transform the economy of the country which was once among the top 10 global economies.
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He intends to put an end to currency control, end every trade relation with Venezuela on claims of human rights abuse, extend trade relations with other countries in order to extract foreign investments, reduce corporation tax, ensure the independence of the central bank and most importantly try and reduce the sky-high inflation in the economy. After his election victory, Argentina’s Marvel Index rallied by more than 20% on the back of his election.
However, his policies in the short-term might cause some hardships to the people of Argentina, with the economy possibly experiencing a downturn. Also, he has been criticised for the fact that his policies of neo-liberalism, which might lead to the privatisation of public corporations, could eventually cause a massive lay-off of workers.
If Mr. Mauricio Macri successfully transforms the economy of Argentina, this might pave the way for a change of government in the Latin America region from Brazil to Venezuela whose economy is currently experiencing a high level of corruption, from mismanagement and gross embezzlement of public funds.
Falling oil prices have added more to the pain of these economies and the current government continues to misappropriate funds thereby subjecting citizens to abject poverty.