Mayor of Buenos Aires Horacio Rodríguez Larreta Presents His Views on Argentina’s Future
On December 9, the Georgetown Americas Institute hosted Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, mayor of the city of Buenos Aires, for a conversation on Argentina’s political and economic outlook.
During his two terms in office, Rodríguez Larreta has implemented several administrative reforms in Buenos Aires and raised the international profile of the city. Today, polls show him as a leading presidential candidate for the Juntos por el Cambio coalition, promoting hope and promise. He is also a leader of one of the coalition’s leading parties, Propuesta Republicana (PRO), which he co-founded in 2005. However, he warned that despite his optimism, years of erratic policies and economic decline can only be overcome through substantial structural reforms, which require the sustained support of a sizable and broad political coalition built around the political center.
Rodríguez Larreta believes that to end the stagnated growth of the last decade, Argentina needs to reform its economy and lift the structural barriers that impede its export potential. Reducing inflation, lifting export barriers, and providing a stable investment framework are key for the country to attract foreign investment. These investments are necessary if Argentina is to meet rising demand for sectors that it already has a competitive advantage in.
According to Larreta, three strategic industries will be at the core of this recovery: agroindustry, mining, and technology services. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has significantly disrupted the global supply of the first two, giving Argentina a unique opportunity to benefit from the new global environment and position itself as a major supplier of agricultural and mineral products such as soybeans, cereals, lithium, copper, and gas. The country has a ten year window during which it could set upon a path of sustained economic growth.
However, the recovery will be dependent on the political viability of necessary economic reforms. In the past Argentina has not been able to sustain reform agendas as a consequence of the country’s entrenched polarization. As such, Rodríguez Larreta positions himself as a centrist deeply committed to build a broad and sustainable coalition to carry out the needed reforms were he to win this year’s elections.
Leading Buenos Aires Into the Future
As mayor, Rodríguez Larreta has significantly reformed the city’s administration while promoting its reputation abroad. Buenos Aires hosted the G20 meeting in 2018 and the C40 World Mayors Summit in 2022. During the C40 meeting the city took on a leading role in the fight against climate change in the preview to the latest UN climate summit in Egypt.
Among other key issues, his administration also restructured the city’s education system. These reforms placed merit and professional preparation as key determinants for education workers to rise within the city’s public education system.
Rodríguez Larreta explained that his commitment to build a broad coalition is rooted in his work in Buenos Aires. As mayor he has governed under a coalition that includes parties and movements from the center-right and the center-left.