Argentina Population and Economy 1998

Argentina Population and Economy 1998


According to, the population of the Argentina it is increasing at rates below the average for Latin American countries; the residents are just over 36.1 million (1998) and have an irregular distribution, so that areas with a very high settlement concentration are counterpointed by almost deserted regions. The most densely packed region is centered on the capital, which with its metropolitan area, the so-called Greater Buenos Aires, hosts almost a third of the total population. On the other hand, there are areas with low or very low population density such as the western Pampa, a large part of Chaco, the Andean regions and Patagonia. Almost 90% of Argentines live in cities and in recent times there has been a change in internal migrations, which are gradually affecting the gigantism of the capital, but not that of its enormous gravitational area.

In fact, the attractiveness of the historic area of ​​Buenos Aires appears to be less and less, and indeed a process of demographic deconcentration is underway, as many leave the capital to settle in the peripheral areas of the metropolitan area. Public authorities tend to encourage this phenomenon through forms of relocation of production activities and through the strengthening of the communications system. However, the dominance of Buenos Aires heavily influenced the urban armor, as it limited the formation of other metropolises, so that only two other cities exceed one million residents. (Córdoba, in the preandina belt, a commercial and industrial center, and Rosario, an important port and seat of processing industries). Notable cities are also Mendoza, La Plata and San Miguel de Tucumán.

Economic conditions

Argentina is a rather advanced country, despite the fact that strong social and territorial imbalances remain within it and despite the framework of economic indicators present a rather heterogeneous situation; there. it is, among the South American countries, the one which, in recent years, has established the most intense and close relations with the European Union.

At the end of the Eighties the economic situation went through a serious moment of precariousness, with a scenario characterized by a high rate of inflation, a contraction of the GDP, heavy indebtedness with foreign countries; as a result, there have been capital flight abroad, collapse of foreign investment and a sharp decline in per capita income. The advent of President CS Menem marked the start of a phase of economic restructuring, through the implementation of a reformist policy, in an attempt to give the country political stability and economic development. In a few years the industries and state services have been dismantled; massive privatizations of state-owned companies (telephone, gas, rail, air and oil) have been launched; a liberal path was pursued, with openings to the market and the removal of customs barriers to push industrial entrepreneurs to modernize and rationalize themselves in comparison with foreign countries; in addition, the peso was reintroduced, a revalued currency equal to the US dollar, and a strict policy was launched to combat inflation.between 1991 and 1997 it almost tripled.

However, the economic recovery plan was not without its drawbacks and required high social costs. The transformation has mainly affected the middle class: even though the inflation rate is now under control, and labor productivity has significantly increased, real wages have not grown as much, remaining substantially stable. In fact, there has been an increase in the unemployment rate, as have social inequalities. The tightening is very evident in the urban context, where the distance between the poor, who live in the villas miserias, appears ever greater., and the wealthy classes, who live in luxurious residential neighborhoods. Similarly, the economic, social and labor policy of the early 1990s penalized the weakest and most peripheral regions, favoring the strongest and most central ones, except for limited urban areas and industrial development: so that the gap between the the Andean region, the Chaco and the western Pampa, compared to the Pampa húmeda, seat of a rational, technologically advanced agriculture, and Patagonia, the frontier of oil where some new refining plants were born.

The primary sector still plays an important role in the Argentine economy, and agricultural and mineral resources are key in exports. The country excels in cereal production (wheat and corn), which has been encouraged in recent years, above all to meet the growing demand of farmers who use it as fodder; oil plants are also growing strongly, in particular soybeans, of which Argentina it is one of the largest producers in the world; the zootechnical sector continues to be of great importance, with production of beef and wool. Among the mineral resources, natural gas, oil and uranium stand out, flanked by metal ores (iron, lead, zinc, silver and manganese); in the energy field, major developments have taken place in hydroelectric production, considering that a large part of the energy currently arrives from the power stations located on the Paraná and Uruguay rivers. The industrial apparatus is rather diversified, with a prevalence of the petrochemical, steel and metallurgical sectors. Even today, the main national industries are concentrated in the Buenos Aires metropolitan region. (V. fig.).

Between 1990 and 1997 some infrastructures and energy and mining exploitation projects of particular importance were undertaken, and the economic-territorial program 1995 – 99provides for a further extension. In particular, the national development plan emphasizes both the improvement and expansion of urban and suburban aqueducts and the construction of plants for the conveyance and treatment of waste water in all the main metropolitan areas and in the peripheral regions of Chubut (Comodoro Rivadavia), Santa Cruz and the extreme North-East region (Misiones). Significant works are also underway for the sewerage system. The urban suburbs of Greater Buenos Aires are interested in the water and sewage project, which attempts to cope with sometimes very precarious conditions. For electricity, the expansion or construction of 6 large water plants, 9 thermal power plants and a new nuclear power plant (Atuchaii), which is added to the two already existing, and the restructuring of power lines between the Andes, the Río de la Plata estuary (and Buenos Aires) and the Paraná-Uruguay river system. Oil exploration is promising, both in the now traditional submarine area of ​​the South Atlantic, and in the Chaco, Chubut and extreme southern Patagonia, as well as in the Mendoza region where there are already productive oil fields. About one third of the territorial surface and a large part of the marine waters off the coasts (including those included in the ‘Exclusive economic zone’) are ‘offered’ by Argentina to multinational oil companies for prospecting and exploitation agreements. Natural gas production (34,in 1996) is increasing and for 2000 the expansion of the gas pipeline network is expected, which in 1996 was just under 4000 km. The gas extraction areas coincide with those of oil extraction.

The 1995 – 99 development planit also contemplates the restructuring of the central road network, between Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Mendoza, the edge of the Pampa and the Chaco (towards Resistencia and Corrientes). The metropolitan railway network, substantially in Greater Buenos Aires and for La Plata, Lobos, Mercedes, Zarate and Altamirano (extreme centers of the network around the federal capital) is being developed. The port facilities of La Plata, Buenos Aires, the Concepción river port on Uruguay and, further south, Puerto Madryn and Puerto Deseado will be further strengthened. The other major airports, in addition to those in large cities or close to Buenos Aires, are also interested in an expansion plan: for example, Comodoro Rivadavia in the south and Resistencia and Orán in the north. In the end,

Tourism has a certain importance, considering the extraordinary environmental and landscape heritage of which the Argentina disposes. The number of visitors is growing (4, 3 million tourists in 1996), thanks to the development of equipment and communications, which allow you to stay even in areas that were isolated time but exceptionally interesting for landscapes and sports opportunities and ‘adventure’ hiking, such as Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, some Andean areas, the subtropical river region of Chaco, the upper Paraná, the ‘Argentine Mesopotamia’ (between Paraná and Uruguay). In 1994, there were 115 national protected areas, extending out of 9. 395.400 ha (3, 4 % of the entire land area); there were two World Heritage Sites, five Biosphere Reserves out of 2. 409. 900 ha, and among the wetlands protected according to the Ramsar Convention there was one of 5240 ha.

As for trade, starting from 1995, the year in which MERCOSUR (Mercado Común del Sur) was established, founded together with Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, the trade balance of the Argentina it has experienced a significant improvement, which however has already disappeared in the years immediately following. Thus, in 1997 the trade deficit was equal to 5.3 billion dollars, largely determined by the imports of plants, required by the strong growth of industrial production (+ 9%) and in particular of the mechanical sector. Most of Argentina’s exports are represented by oil and derivatives, followed by agricultural products (wheat and wheat flour, maize and linseed) and livestock (meat, wool and skins). In 1997 the main supplier countries were Brazil (22.4 % of total imports) and the United States (20 %), while the main export customers were the countries of Latin America (48.1 %)., Brazil (27.8 %) and the countries of the European Union (19.2 %).

The banking system, governed by the central bank (Banco Central), was restructured after the Mexican financial crisis of 1995. The main stock exchange is that of Buenos Aires, the total capitalization, equal to 0.2 % of the world total, places the country in twenty-ninth place in the world ranking. However, in more recent years the Argentine stock market has been affected by the effects of the Asian crisis, particularly sensitive up to 1997, accentuated by the difficulties of Brazil, an important trading partner, and linked above all to the decline in the price of raw materials on the international markets.

Argentina officially includes in its territory for unilateral declaration, two Southern appendages, ie the Islas del Atlántico Sur and Antártida Argentina (the latter extended to 964. 250 km ²), for a total, including Argentina own, of 3. 761. 274 km ². In reality, the sub-Antarctic and Antarctic areas are de facto British: thus the Falkland-Malvinas, Sub-Antarctic South Georgia, South Orkney and South Sandwich (also involved in the 1982 war)between Argentina and the United Kingdom, lost from the first). The claimed sector of Antarctica partly coincides with the British one. Argentina maintains some scientific bases in Antarctica for evident purposes of international geopolitical presence.

Argentina Population and Economy 1998

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