Argentina’s return to The Soft Power 30 is no small achievement given recent financial turmoil. In a difficult economic environment, Argentine President Mauricio Macri can take significant credit for its re-entry into the rankings. Macri moved quickly to secure a $50 billion IMF rescue package, and his reformist government has pushed ahead with election promises to stem government spending. Strikes have tested his willpower, but his determination is good news for those who fear a return to Argentinian populism. This is not the first period of economic anguish for Argentina, but the country appears better positioned than before to weather the storm and emerge stronger. Thanks to Macri’s business-friendly and global approach, his reputation extends far beyond Argentina’s borders. This is due in no small part to the President’s impressive digital acumen. To combat Argentina’s shortcomings in the Engagement sub-index, Macri continues to build relationships online. His efforts have also helped guarantee Argentina a much stronger performance in the Digital sub-index than in 2016.
Strong links to Europe and with deep Latin roots, Argentina marries South American passion and European cosmopolitanism to position itself globally as a cultural hotbed. Home to the tango, the Andes mountain range, and arguably the world’s best football player, Argentina has a wealth of cultural assets. On the Education sub-index, Buenos Aires has seen a boost in popularity for students looking to study abroad.
The recent IMF rescue package points to a nation struggling financially. The effects of this have had significant impact on Argentina’s performance in the Enterprise sub-index – it sits at the bottom of the table. However, the IMF’s willingness to support Macri’s “gradualist” policy – as well as his commitment to repair Argentina’s reputation with foreign investors – hint at a brighter future.
Confidence is key. Despite difficult economic reforms, Macri has maintained strong domestic popularity and there is firm belief that he can change Argentina’s economic landscape for the better. If the President can translate support at home into confidence abroad, he will be better placed to prevent Argentina from dropping out of the The Soft Power 30 index again.