Argentina 1997Argentina

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Argentina - Introduction 1997
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Background: A part of the Spanish empire until independence in 1816, Argentina subsequently experienced periods of internal political conflict between conservatives and liberals and between civilian and military factions. Meantime, thanks to rich natural resources and foreign investment, a modern agriculture and a diversified industry were gradually developed. After World War II, a long period of Peronist dictatorship was followed by rule by a military junta. Democratic elections finally came in 1983, but both the political and economic atmosphere remain susceptible to turmoil.

Argentina - Geography 1997
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Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay

Geographic coordinates: 34 00 S, 64 00 W

Map referenceSouth America

Total: 2,766,890 km²
Land: 2,736,690 km²
Water: 30,200 km²
Comparative: slightly less than three-tenths the size of the US

Land boundaries
Total: 9,665 km
Border countries: (5) Bolivia 832 km; , Brazil 1,224 km; , Chile 5,150 km; , Paraguay 1,880 km; , Uruguay 579 km

Coastline: 4,989 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: mostly temperate; arid in southeast; subantarctic in southwest

Terrain: rich plains of the Pampas in northern half, flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in south, rugged Andes along western border

Extremes lowest point: Salinas Chicas -40 m
Extremes highest point: Cerro Aconcagua 6,962 m

Natural resources: fertile plains of the pampas, lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, uranium
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 9%
Permanent crops: 1%
Permanent pastures: 52%
Forests and woodland: 19%
Other: 19% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 17,000 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: San Miguel de Tucuman and Mendoza areas in the Andes subject to earthquakes; pamperos are violent windstorms that can strike the Pampas and northeast; heavy flooding

Note: second-largest country in South America (after Brazil; strategic location relative to sea lanes between South Atlantic and South Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage)

Argentina - People 1997
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Population: 35,797,985 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 1.3% (1997 est.)

Noun: Argentine(s)
Adjective: Argentine

Ethnic groups: white 85%, mestizo, Amerindian, or other nonwhite groups 15%

Languages: Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French

Religions: nominally Roman Catholic 90% (less than 20% practicing), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 6%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 28% (male 5,042,521; female 4,855,874)
15-64 years: 62% (male 11,133,884; female 11,155,104)
65 years and over: 10% (male 1,499,538; female 2,111,064) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.3% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 20.01 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 7.68 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.67 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: erosion results from inadequate flood controls and improper land use practices; irrigated soil degradation; desertification; air pollution in Buenos Aires and other major cities; water pollution in urban areas; rivers becoming polluted due to increased pesticide and fertilizer use

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 19.6 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 74.31 years
Male: 70.67 years
Female: 78.12 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.69 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 96.2%
Male: 96.2%
Female: 96.2% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Argentina - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: Argentine Republic
Conventional short form: Argentina
Local long form: Republica Argentina
Local short form: Argentina

Government type: republic

Capital: Buenos Aires

Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia), and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Buenos Aires; Catamarca; Chaco; Chubut; Cordoba; Corrientes; Distrito Federal*; Entre Rios; Formosa; Jujuy; La Pampa; La Rioja; Mendoza; Misiones; Neuquen; Rio Negro; Salta; San Juan; San Luis; Santa Cruz; Santa Fe; Santiago del Estero; Tierra del Fuego, Antartida e Islas del Atlantico Sur; Tucuman
Note: the US does not recognize any claims to Antarctica

Dependent areas

Independence: 9 July 1816 (from Spain)

National holiday: Revolution Day, 25 May (1810)

Constitution: 1 May 1853; revised August 1994

Legal system: mixture of US and West European legal systems; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Carlos Saul MENEM (since 8 July 1989); Vice President Carlos RUCKAUF (since 8 July 1995); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Head of government: President Carlos Saul MENEM (since 8 July 1989); Vice President Carlos RUCKAUF (since 8 July 1995); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
Elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 14 May 1995 (next to be held May 1999)
Election results: Carlos Saul MENEM reelected president; percent of vote - NA

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate (72 seats; three members appointed by each of the provincial legislatures, one-third of the members appointed every three years to a 9-year term) and the Chamber of Deputies (257 seats; one-half of the members elected every two years to four-year terms)
Elections: Senate - last held NA May 1995 (next to be held NA 1998); Chamber of Deputies - last held 14 May 1995; (next to be held NA October 1997)
Election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PJ 38, others 34; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PJ 132, UCR 68, Frepaso 26, other 31

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), the nine Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president with approval of the Senate

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), Australia Group, BCIE, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G- 6, G-11, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MINURSO, MTCR, NSG (observer), OAS, OPANAL, PCA, RG, UN, UNAVEM III, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNPREDEP, UNTAES, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Raul Enrique GRANILLO OCAMPO
In the us chancery: 1600 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,009
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 939-6,400 through 6,403
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 332-3,171
In the us consulates general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador James R. CHEEK has returned to Washington; replacement not yet appointed
From the us embassy: 4,300 Colombia, 1425 Buenos Aires
From the us mailing address: Unit 4,334, APO AA 34,034
From the us telephone: [54] (1) 777-4,533, 4,534
From the us FAX: [54] (1) 777-0197

Flag descriptionflag of Argentina: three equal horizontal bands of light blue (top), white, and light blue; centered in the white band is a radiant yellow sun with a human face known as the Sun of May

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Argentina - Economy 1997
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Economy overview: Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Nevertheless, following decades of mismanagement and statist policies, the economy in the late 1980s was plagued with huge external debts and recurring bouts of hyperinflation. Elected in 1989, in the depths of recession, President MENEM has implemented a comprehensive economic restructuring program that shows signs of putting Argentina on a path of stable, sustainable growth. Argentina's currency has traded at par with the US dollar since April 1991, and inflation has fallen to its lowest level in 50 years. Argentines have responded to price stability by repatriating capital and investing in domestic industry. Growth averaged more than 8% between 1991 and 1994, then fell to 4.6% in 1995, largely in reaction to the Mexican peso crisis. The economy grew at 4.4% in 1996, with the strongest growth occurring in the second half of the year. Unemployment increased slightly - to over 17% - and Buenos Aires was forced to renegotiate fiscal targets with the IMF. Although the economy is expected to grow by at least 5% in 1997, unemployment and fiscal concerns will continue to challenge the MENEM administration.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 4.4% (1996)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 7%
Industry: 29%
Services: 64% (1995 est.)

Agriculture products: wheat, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sugar beets; livestock

Industries: food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel

Industrial production growth rate: 5% (1996 est.)

Labor force
Total: 14.5 million (1995 est.)
By occupation agriculture: 12%
By occupation industry: 31%
By occupation services: 57% (1985est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 17.3% (October 1996)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $50.3 billion
Expenditures: $51.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.2 billion (1995 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $23.8 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
Commodities: meat, wheat, corn, oilseed, manufactures, fuels
Partners: Brazil 26.1%, US 8.5%, Chile 7.0%, Netherlands 5.7%, Italy 3.5% (1995)

Total value: $23.7 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
Commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals, transport equipment, agricultural products
Partners: Brazil 20.8%, US 20.7%, Italy 6.3%, Germany 6.2%, France 5.2% (1995)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $95 billion (1996 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: pesos per US$1 - 0.99950 (January 1997), 0.99966 (1996), 0.99975 (1995), 0.99901 (1994), 0.99895 (1993), 0.99064 (1992)

Argentina - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 67.369 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 1,606 kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Argentina - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 12,000 public telephones; extensive modern system but many families do not have telephones; despite extensive use of microwave radio relay, the telephone system frequently grounds out during rainstorms, even in Buenos Aires
Domestic: microwave radio relay and a domestic satellite system with 40 earth stations serve the trunk network
International: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Argentina - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $4.6 billion (1996)
Percent of gdp: 1.6% (1996)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Argentina - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 1,202 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 598
With paved runways over 3047 m: 5
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 25
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 55
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 44
With paved runways under 914 m: 469 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 604
With unpaved runways over 3047 m: 1
With unpaved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 2
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 59
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 542 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 598
Over 3047 m: 5
2438 to 3047 m: 25
15-24 to 2437 m: 55
914 to 1523 m: 44
Under 914 m: 469 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 604
Over 3047 m: 1
2438 to 3047 m: 2
15-24 to 2437 m: 59
914 to 1523 m: 542 (1996 est.)


Pipelines: crude oil 4,090 km; petroleum products 2,900 km; natural gas 9,918 km

Total: 37,910 km
Broad gauge: 24,124 km 1.676-m gauge (142 km electrified)
Standard gauge: 2,765 km 1.435-m gauge
Narrow gauge: 11,021 km 1.000-m gauge (26 km electrified)


Waterways: 11,000 km navigable

Merchant marine
Total: 36 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 263,266 GRT/385,211 DWT
Ships by type: cargo 11, chemical tanker 1, container 2, oil tanker 14, railcar carrier 1, refrigerated cargo 6, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1 (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

Argentina - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: short section of the boundary with Chile is indefinite; claims British-administered Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas; claims British-administered South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; territorial claim in Antarctica

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: increasing use as a transshipment country for cocaine headed for Europe and the US


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