BUENOS AIRES, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- China's investment and infrastructure projects in Argentina have helped jumpstart development in various underserved communities and offer dynamic business opportunities, said Alejandra Conconi, executive director of the Chinese-Argentine Chamber of Production, Industry and Commerce.
On the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Argentina and China, Conconi highlighted the increase in Chinese investment in the South American country over the past decade, emphasizing renewable energy projects, telecommunications and transportation, among other areas crucial to improving quality of life.
"We see that China began to invest in the country in the late 1990s and again at the beginning of the 21st century. However, the vast bulk of Chinese investment and capital began in 2010," said Conconi.
"An estimated 36 billion U.S. dollars have been invested in our country through 38 companies. There has been investment in energy resources, in agri-food, and today we see with special interest investment in renewable energies, everything from solar parks and wind farms to hydroelectric dams," she said.
Among the projects completed under bilateral cooperation is the photovoltaic plant in the country's northern province of Jujuy. Considered the largest of its kind in Latin America, it powers some 160,000 homes.
With the solar plant in place, the net profits for the northern province at the beginning of 2021 were estimated to reach 400 million dollars, an amount earmarked for the construction of 258 schools and the renovation of another 700, the governor of Jujuy Gerardo Morales told Xinhua earlier.
In the first quarter of 2021, the Chinese-constructed Loma Blanca Wind Power Projects launched a commercial operation, injecting energy into the national power grid.
"Some of the Chinese investment has been made in provinces and major cities where there have already been a lot of industrial development," but recently, "it has also been made in provinces with a lower degree of development," Conconi said.
Whether completed or underway, large-scale Chinese-backed infrastructure projects in Argentina have spurred the development of a "business ecosystem" that has generated greater employment opportunities and increased sources of income for residents.
The projects "opened up a range of opportunities in the provinces," including long-term job opportunities and the development of the service sector, such as logistics, transportation and catering, Conconi said, adding she hopes the growth opportunities "will be sustainable over time."
In addition, noting that "Argentina is a country lacking infrastructure," Conconi said the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Argentina joining China's Belt and Road Initiative would serve to broaden the country's development outlook through greater infrastructure building. ■