With a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than US$475 billion (2012) Argentina is one of the largest economies in South America. In recent years, President Cristina Fernandez has focused on promoting economic development with social inclusion.
On the international front, Argentina enjoys good relations with most of the countries in the region, particularly Brazil and Venezuela. The country also has a leading role in advocating the region's policy stance, as it represents Latin America at the G-20, jointly with Mexico and Brazil.
Education and health: Argentina has a strong tradition in advancing public education and health. Currently 6% of the GDP is invested in education and culture, and 9.5% of the GDP is invested in health services.
Commerce and industry: in recent years, the country has experienced a record growth of its national industry, in particular automobile, textile and power. The main commodities exported are wheat, soy pellets and meal, soybeans, crude oil, gasoline, and meat. The opening up of China's markets has been a boost to support exports.
Environment: Currently, 7.7% of the territory is under protected areas. There are 36 national parks and 400 provincial natural reserves. In the last 7 years, national protected areas increased by 24% and recently new marine reserves have been created. In 2009, the National Administration regulated the Forest Law, which aims to preserve the conservation of native forests. As part of its commitment to the environment, the Matanza-Riachuelo basin, one of the most polluted in South America, is being cleaned.
Economy: Following a sharp slowdown in 2012, the economy is recovering this year. Consecutive years of rapid and pro-poor economic growth enabled poverty and unemployment to be cut to levels experienced prior to the country's 2001-2002 economic crisis. President Cristina Fernández seeks to support economic growth and stability after 10 years of continued GDP increase.
During the first half of 2013, the economy expanded by 5.1%, thanks to an increase in industrial production of 1.4% between January and July this year. In the second quarter of 2013, unemployment stood at 7.2%, after rising during the first three months of the year.
The external sector of the economy faces significant challenges. The trade surplus has shrunk by 32% in the first seven months of the year. The fiscal accounts remain under pressure while expenses grow at a faster rate than income. On the other hand, there has been a significant increase in the value of imports of energy and fuels.
Social spending continues as priority. Thanks to the fiscal effort made, there were increases in the amounts of pensions and the Universal Child Allowances that benefit 3.7 millions of children and teenagers up to 18 years, 9.3% of total population.
For more data on Argentina, go to World Bank's Open Data site.