In his participation in the G7 Summit this Monday (27), Argentine President Alberto Fernández wants to be Latin America’s spokesperson against the war that “happens in the North, but affects the South” and wants to install Argentina as a substitute for Russian gas for Europe and food for the world. To that end, he will ask the largest global economies to invest in Argentina as a stable and reliable supplier.
Márcio Resende, RFI correspondent in Buenos Aires
Due to this potential, Argentine President Alberto Fernández was the only guest from Latin America by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, host of the event.
In the rotating presidency of the group that also includes France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States and Canada, Germany is the country most affected in Europe by dependence on Russian gas and sees in Argentina the possibility of a new supplier.
For this reason, Scholz declared Argentina a “partner country of the G7 during the German presidency”. The appointment was made after Fernández’s trip to Europe in early May, in which the Argentine president also visited Olaf Scholz in Germany, President Emmanuel Macron in France and Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Spain.
Voice of Latin America
On that trip, Alberto Fernández defended that Latin America, Africa and Asia intervene in the search for a peaceful solution to the war, as they are the affected parties most at risk of a famine scenario.
The Argentine president repeated the concept again on Friday (24), during the BRICS Summit. “I want to raise my voice so that the world understands that, although the war takes place in Europe, its tragic consequences affect the entire southern hemisphere. We are a periphery that suffers”, insisted Alberto Fernández.
“Argentina is a safe and responsible supplier of food, recognized in the field of biotechnology. We have great energy resources such as the second world reserve of ‘shale gas’ and the fourth in ‘shale oil’. We started the exploration of lithium, of green hydrogen and of other renewable energies”, he pointed out.
However, despite the fact that Argentina has the second largest reserves of unconventional gas in the world, capable of returning it to self-sufficiency and still supplying Europe, the country requires strong investments to extract, transport and transform natural gas. in liquid to be exported.
Argentina is also one of the world’s largest producers of corn and wheat, precisely the two products most affected by the war in Ukraine. The country produces enough grains and cereals for ten times more than its population of 47 million and can still increase production.
However, the Argentine economy is disordered. The degree of arbitrary government intervention in price controls, restrictions on the foreign exchange market and capital movements drives investment away.
“The country has a huge opportunity, but it requires investment. Argentina was seen as an international pariah until the beginning of the war. Now it is invited to the G7 meeting. Has the country changed? No. But it has potential. in relation to what Argentina can give”, “, explains to RFI the business consultant and international analyst, Marcelo Elizondo, a reference in Argentina.
“If the country organizes itself, North American and European companies can come to explore oil and gas or generate wind and solar energy. They can increase grain production. Argentina cannot respond immediately because it lacks infrastructure, but it can respond in two or three years”, calculates the expert.
The Argentine president defends that the West, led by the United States, give up on cornering Russia, through the strengthening of NATO. He believes that leaving a margin of dignity for Russia helps a negotiation for peace.
“It is urgent to build negotiation scenarios that put an end to the war catastrophe. Without humiliation or desire for domination. Without dehumanized geopolitics or privileges of violence”, Alberto Fernández asked during the Summit of the Americas earlier this month.
The other four non-G7 countries invited to this meeting are Senegal, Indonesia, South Africa and India.
Senegal presides over the African Union whose member countries are 44% dependent on average on Russian wheat. Senegal’s dependence reaches 60%.
Indonesia, in the rotating presidency of the G20, is the world’s largest producer of nickel, used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. It could replace Russia, the world’s third largest producer.
South Africa, the second largest producer of palladium, used in car catalytic converters, will be instrumental in replacing Russia, the largest producer.
India is one of the countries most at risk of suffering from food shortages due to war. Therefore, Alberto Fernández will have a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, to also place Argentina as a supplier to a market of 1.4 billion inhabitants.
The G7 meeting was initially scheduled to deal with climate change, the fight against the pandemic, international cooperation and democracy. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine nevertheless imposed an urgent agenda. To the point that President Volodymyr Zelensky will have a virtual participation.