Argentina, Qatar build infrastructure fund

Argentina, Qatar build infrastructure fund

Argentina Project & Infrastructure Finance

Argentina and Qatar are setting up a $1.3bn fund focused on infrastructure projects in South America’s second-largest economy.

The fund was announced during a state visit by Argentine Vice President Gabriela Michetti to Qatar over the weekend. The new fund is the result of an agreement between the Qatar Investment Authority, the Middle Eastern country’s sovereign wealth fund, and a fund managed by Argentina’s state pension agency ANSES.

Qatar plans to invest $1b over three years and ANSES will contribute $300m, according to Argentina’s state-run new service Telam. The fund’s initial focus will be infrastructure projects but could extend to other areas including energy, Telam said.

The agreement underscores a push by Argentine President Mauricio Macri to stimulate investment in infrastructure in Argentina. Macri has announced plans to invest more than $26bn in infrastructure over the next four years, the bulk of it coming from the private sector. Argentine officials have said they would like to increase infrastructure investment to least 5% of GDP from 3%.

To lure investors, the government has introduced legislation for public-private partnerships (PPPs). The bill recently passed Argentina’s lower house and is now pending approval in the Senate.

Michetti also said Argentina had signed a bilateral treaty with Qatar to promote investments between the two countries. Michetti said the agreement could develop a market for Argentine exports, particularly agricultural goods.

"Some 85% of the food that is consumed in the United Arab Emirates is imported," she said, according to Telam. "This is an enormous opportunity for Argentina with a country that wants to be the logistical and commercial center of the Middle East."