Interior Minister Eduardo “Wado” de Pedro and nine governors from the Great North continue their tour of the United States. On Tuesday, they met with representatives of the World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, who asked them to finance $30 billion to implement “basic social” infrastructure work for the Norte Grande region, within 15 years. Chaco Governor Jorge Kapitanic said, “The governors have collected 2 billion people annually, but both the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Economy should be key in designing this project for it to be approved by the corresponding agencies.” . Meanwhile, de Pedro expressed the national government’s support for the initiative of the conservatives, who represent various political signals, because “all energies are being expended in solving regional problems”.
During Kapitanic’s address to the World Bank authorities, he spoke of a “productive investment master plan” that envisages 50 percent of the money allocated by the World Bank to Argentina could be for the north. Along those lines, the man from Chaco said that in the national budget bill sent to Congress, governors included an article providing for a multi-year aid mechanism with national and international funding sources. Argentina currently has access to financing mechanisms with multilateral credit organizations for $4 billion. We want to ensure that 50 percent of that can be devoted to programs that correct structural disparities in our region and that deserve historic compensation.”
After Capitanec, the opposition governor of Jujuy, Gerardo Morales, stressed that Chaco’s thesis was “extremely important” because he gave his first “detailed presentation of a strategic plan”. “The main challenge as a country, and your challenge as the World Bank, is to solve the structural problems, otherwise you will always have to solve the poverty situations in northern Argentina,” he stressed.
Gerardo Zamora, of Santiago del Estero, was one of the tour organizers as he is the interim head of Norte Grande, and he worked for four months on the mission with the Argentine ambassador to the United States, Jorge Arguelo, who accompanied them to all meetings. For his part, Zamora said the region is very competitive in terms of food, energy and mining and highlighted the extraction of lithium.
Kapetanić emphasized that the region “has all the potential for growth”, but it needs to improve infrastructure “from the border crossings to the Northern Oceans Corridor”. The governor of Chaco stressed that the country is experiencing a “scenario of political and institutional stability”, and that it is therefore conditioned on receiving investments. In addition to ordering a bi-ocean corridor, they demanded the construction of homes, potable water and sewage networks, the extension of electricity and gas grids, the development of solar energy, and businesses that solve environmental problems from droughts and floods.
Along these lines, de Pedro commented that the Federal Development Plan – in which, as well as the governors, the national government, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Production and the private sector participated – surveyed 1,580 infrastructure works that could strengthen the matrix Productivity of Argentina, which needs to be funded.
Once the meeting ended at the World Bank, the delegation had lunch with the Executive Directors of the Islamic Development Bank. Later, they returned to participate in a second meeting at the World Bank, in which Cecilia Nahon, the alternate executive director of the organization’s Southern Cone Foundation, participated.
In his address to the authorities of the Islamic Development Bank, the Minister of the Interior made a gesture to the Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, and highlighted his findings during the US tour he led with his team a few weeks ago. “I focused on opening money payments from international organizations with the aim of strengthening the reserves of the central bank,” he said.
At the end of the day, De Pedro visited the White House, where he met the director of the US government’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and President Joe Biden’s advisor, Julie Chavez Rodriguez. There they talked, among other things, about the elections taking place in the United States and that there will be next year in Argentina. There was also Arguello and US Ambassador to Argentina Mark Stanley.