Mobility - July 2020 - 53

DESTINATION PROFILE:

BUENOS
AIRES
The 'Paris of the South' is both historic and contemporary
By M. Diane McCormick

E

xpats assigned to Buenos Aires can be forgiven for
thinking they've landed in Europe. Argentina is home to
the rich cultural traditions of South America but heavily
influenced by Spain and Italy. Even France gets a nod
through Buenos Aires' nickname, "Paris of the South."
And Argentina's location, at the tail of South America
where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet, gives the
nation its strategic importance in historic and contemporary commerce.
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina, where repressive and military
governments of the past transitioned to democracy in the early 1980s. In
the mid-2010s, President Mauricio Macri pursued economic reforms and
reintegration into the international scene, culminating in a US$57 billion
line of credit from the International Monetary Fund to help the country
climb out of economic crisis. The election of populist-leaning President
Alberto Fernández in 2019 essentially froze that funding stream (A Wall
Street Journal headline in December read: "Argentina's National Pastime:
Hating on the IMF."). However, by early 2020, Argentine officials indicated their willingness to accept IMF supervision.
The economic convulsions have sparked contraction in Argentina's
GDP, currently at US$470 billion. Natural resources, agriculture, and the
potential for renewable energy have remained the country's economic
mainstays, while Buenos Aires is cultivating a thriving tech startup
scene, second in South America only to Brazil's São Paulo. About 16%
of South America's tecnolatinas come from Buenos Aires, including nine
companies estimated to be worth more than US$100 million each.
Buenos Aires showed additional resilience when the city won
UNESCO's first City of Design title in 2005. The designation promotes
cooperation among cities that have positioned creativity-in Buenos
Aires' case, a thriving art scene and Latin America's biggest art festival,
arteBA-as a strategic factor in sustainable urban development.

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Mobility - July 2020

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