Nation building

Nation building in Argentina: harnessing Australia’s experience for sustainable development

Dr Alexis Esposto leads a project funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through its prestigious Australia Awards Fellowship.  The team is made up of academics from Swinburne University of Technology, including Dr Aron Perenyi and Associate Professor Malcolm Abbott.  

The project aims to harness Australia’s experience for sustainable development in Argentina by:

  • providing short term study and professional development for Argentinian public officials on institutional best practice
  • producing research about aspects that facilitate and impede institutional change in Argentine government jurisdictions.

Video summary

Highlights of the project are presented in this YouTube video.

Press release

This press release announces Argentine interest in establishing a Productivity Commission style institution, based on the successful Australian model:


Institutional best practice

The first part of the project provided Argentine public officials with training on institutional best practices that promote efficiency, competitiveness, productivity, transparency and sustainable economic development in Australia.

The purpose is to create institutional configurations and partnerships that increase institutional compatibility and reduce psychic distance by promoting bilateral engagement, trade and investment between the two nations. 

Argentine delegates received intensive training at Swinburne University of Technology (Swinburne). Australian institutions were presented as examples of best practice and delegates undertook networking visits to the following: The Australian Productivity Commission, Australian Trade Commission, Parliament of Victoria, the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Victorian Government and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Argentine participants received tailored consultations from Swinburne experts on their plans for institutional development during an on-site follow-up visit.  

Institutional change

The second part of the project is research-based. Swinburne experts research, analyse and explore aspects that facilitate and impede the implementation of institutional change in Argentine government jurisdictions. This project addresses the gap in Argentina’s institutional framework of governing bodies that facilitate competitiveness and sustainable economic development. 

To assist the research, the Fundación Red de AcciónPolítica network provides access to a body of public officials in Argentina as well as networks and data.



Fellows receive extensive preparation for prospective economic, policy and institutional reforms in Argentina to foster a competitive economy. This supports the Fellows in their work, and provides opportunities for their individual career progress. Upon completion of the programme, Fellows will be able to use the title ‘Australian Awards Fellow’.


The project provides a deeper engagement opportunity for researchers to engage with Australia’s foreign economic diplomacy, and the related government bodies in Australia and Latin America. Successful delivery of the programme will open further grant opportunities for the researchers.

The research component of the project will deliver data upon which substantial academic and policy consulting work can be written and published.


Australian government bodies

Through the substantive involvement of Australian public sector institutions, the researchers ensure that the government can deliver on its complex set of objectives in engaging with Latin America.

Fundación Red de AcciónPolítica (RAP)

RAP’s mission is to engage Argentine politicians and expose them to institutional best practices internationally. This puts Australia on the list of international partners, including the United States of America and the European Union. 

Argentine government

Argentina is currently engaging in policy and institutional reforms.  It is in the process of opening up its economy and is using Australia’s experience and know-how as a mechanism to achieve their objectives. 

Australian industry partners

The industry partners in Australia will have the opportunity to develop direct contacts with key government stakeholders in Argentina, and by fostering these relations, grow their engagement with and access to the Latin American markets. 

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