Despite being one of the richest countries in South America per capita in 2020, Argentina is currently grappling with poverty and an economic crisis. Argentina’s economy has been dramatically up and down for decades but the COVID-19 pandemic and the war with Ukraine and political instability have recently worsened it. Because of these combined factors, Argentinians are currently dealing with rising energy and food prices, state bankruptcies and reduced wages. Inflation is above 70% and could reach 90% before the end of the year. Today, 40% of Argentines live in poverty and about 10% of them could not afford “a basic basket of only food” in 2021. Here is some information about Argentina’s economic crisis as well as how the U.S. is providing aid.
The United States and Argentina have an alliance based on trade and shared priorities. These priorities include “democracy and human rights, counterterrorism and rule of law, improving citizen security, science, energy and technology infrastructure, people-to-people ties, and education.”
In recent years, the U.S. has been assisting with COVID-19 recovery, renewable energy development and promoting women-led small businesses. These measures aim to address as many factors as possible that led to the economic crisis and tackle them one by one.
Since the pandemic broke out in 2020 up until April 2021, the U.S. military has given $3.5 million in recovery aid to Argentina. According to U.S. Southern Command Admiral Craig S. Faller, this aid includes “protective equipment, medical supplies, and monitoring and screening tools.”
Another way the United States is improving Argentina’s economic crisis is by improving national security. In 2020, the U.S. Department of State gave $3.1 million to Argentina for counterterrorism efforts, including military education and training, improved worker’s rights, reduced child labor and job creation. The U.S. also helped develop the Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial (WHCM), an alliance dedicated to reducing terrorism in western hemisphere countries and Argentina has been “a leading participant” and hosted a second ministerial in 2019. In the same year, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to declare Hizballah a terrorist group. In 2020, the U.S. made plans to strengthen security in Argentina through “legal, financial and law enforcement tools,” the U.S. Department of State reported.
Women in Business
Having more women entrepreneurs is critical to the well-being of the economy. In 2019, a “high-level U.S. interagency delegation” came to Argentina to support and grow women-owned businesses, which are “essential for creating economic growth and security,” the U.S. Department of State reported. This visit sparked the launch of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs in 2021, an online and in-person program that focused on helping 30 Argentine women expand their businesses.
Through poverty, pandemic and inflation, the United States is improving Argentina’s economic crisis by extending COVID-19 relief, improving national security, expanding job opportunities and training and empowering women. In fact, Argentina’s poverty rate dropped by about three percentage points from the first half of 2021 to the latter half of the year. There is still a long way to go, but this alliance has been making progress.
– Ava Ronning