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By: Ian Bremmer
TIME foreign affairs columnist Ian Bremmer had a chance to speak recently with Argentina’s reformist President Mauricio Macri. His piece is in this week’s edition of TIME—what follows is a transcript of their conversation in full:
Argentina is undergoing a transition and a process of economic and political change. Some of these changes have been painful for segments of the population. How do you evaluate the results so far, and what do you think are the major challenges ahead?
We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, there’s still a long way to go, but we are pleased with the results, they show we’re moving in the right direction while ensuring we don’t leave behind the most vulnerable and in need. The situation we inherited was complicated: the economy had been stagnant for five years with rampant inflation, while politics was too focused on conflict and competition; there was little respect for groups of people who thought differently, and absolutely no dialogue.
Immediately, we started to eliminate obstacles to growth and reduce inflation, and we are starting to see the fruits of this: inflation is clearly on a downward path, investments are picking up and there are signs that economic activity is recovering. Optimism amongst the business community here is the highest it’s been in 15 years. It was also very important for us from day one to try to bring about a change in the way politics in Argentina is conducted: we’ve opened up political dialogue, we’re placing a very high value on cooperation and teamwork – both within the administration and with people outside our government – and, importantly, we respect the law and our institutions.
This economic and political transition we are going through is in line with the main goals of my government: uniting Argentina and advancing towards zero poverty. The challenges, of course, are many, but I would point out two: (1) injecting vitality and innovation into our economy, creating millions of jobs as the principle means to reduce poverty; (2) continuing to strengthen our institutions and building long-term consensus, which will ensure that rights are guaranteed and reduce uncertainty.
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