The 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference is on this month at the Alice Springs Convention Centre over Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 June. 

Maria Alejandra Vlek, Minister, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Argentina joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘Plan Belgrano: Bringing Progress For Northern Argentina.’

Abstract

The Belgrano Development Plan was presented by President Mauricio Macri in 2015. It is a programme of investment in social development, production and infrastructure, in order to promote a fair development in the poorest region of Argentina, the north. In 2018, the plan is in the second stage with an ambitious programme of investment in transport, infrastructure and social welfare.

The Belgrano Plan includes 10 Provinces in the Northeast and Northwest of Argentina: Formosa, Chaco, Corrientes, Misiones, Jujuy, Salta, Tucuman, Santiago del Estero, Catamarca and La Rioja. In 2017, these regions have exported the 8.7% of the total of Argentina and has 9 million inhabitants over a total of 42 million.

Historically, the north has been the least developed region of Argentina with low rates of employment and low wages, expensive transport costs to reach the main ports of Argentina and limited access to the health and education services, mainly in rural areas.
The name of the plan is a tribute to General Manuel Belgrano, one of the founding fathers of the independence of Argentina, who organized military campaigns in the north, at the beginning of the XIX Century.

The Belgrano Plan depends functionally from the Chief Minister’s Cabinet and involves a coordinated work between the Federal Government and the Provinces. It has four main goals: social development, production development, infrastructure and regional integration. These goals should be achieved through policies for social welfare, access to health services, building new homes, improving the infrastructure, logistics and all means of transport.

During many years Argentina has not been investing in infrastructure and this plan focuses on this kind of investment, with a balanced relationship between the Government and the private companies that have to put into practice the plan through the construction of roads, bridges, expand the capacity of the airports and ports, making more efficient the railways and bringing internet to the rural areas. The international organisations such as the Interamerican Development Bank, Eximbank and some regional organisations like Fonplata are cooperating with the Plan, providing funds for some of the projects.

Furthermore, as we pointed out before, the lack of investment provoked a serious energy crisis problem. Thanks to the natural conditions of sun in the high mountains and the wind, we are currently developing solar parks in the Andes that will allow the mining exploration in big scale projects.

Biography

Studies: Bachelor of International Relations, Del Salvador University, Buenos Aires, Argentina and joined the Diplomatic Service in 1995. -Languages: Spanish, English, French, German and basic knowledge of Russian and Dutch. -Current role at the Embassy: Minister, Deputy Head of Mission at the Argentine Embassy in Australia. Responsible for Trade and Economic Section. Posted in Canberra since February 2015. Previous postings: -Argentine Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine (1997-1999) -Argentine Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands (1999-2003) -Argentine Embassy in Quito, Ecuador (2006-2012) -In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, has worked in the Economic Bilateral Relations Division, Mercosur Division, Exports Development Programme and the International Organisations Division.

For more information on the 2018 Developing Northern Australia Conference and to secure your spot in Alice Springs this June please visit the conference website.