March 5, 2013
Andrew Downie – Reuters, 03/05/2013
The public transport projects designed to modernise Brazilian cities for the 2014 soccer World Cup are being scaled back, delayed or cancelled as legal challenges, corruption and a lack of planning threaten to rob locals of the tournament’s most lasting legacy.
The 12 host cities, keen to use the event to overhaul aging urban infrastructure, laid out ambitious plans to build new metro lines, monorails and dedicated bus lanes but, with 15 months to go before the games kick off, it seems unlikely that all the projects will come to fruition.
“The much-discussed social legacy looks like it won’t get off the drawing board,” Romario, a former World Cup winner who is now a lawmaker in Brazil’s Congress, wrote last month in a newspaper column. “Almost all the transport projects are behind schedule, some have been put back and will be opened only after the World Cup and others have been cancelled altogether.”
January 25, 2013
Brazil’s Social and Economic Development Bank (BNDES) has plans to invest 1.858 trillion Reais (approx 906bn dollars) between 2013 and 2016. In 2012, total investments amounted to approximately 156 billion Reais, up 12% compared to 2011, and a total of 2.394 trillion Reais was invested between 2008 and 2012.
The figures were released by the president of the bank, Luciano Coutinho, at the head office in downtown Rio de Janeiro.
The figures do not include the housing sector.
January 17, 2013
Catherine Boyle – CNBC, 01/16/2013
Brazil, long viewed as one of the most promising emerging markets, has seen its crown slip slightly in recent months. The country has been enshrined as Latin America’s economic powerhouse for more than a decade, fuelled by vast resource wealth and investment from China.
Yet its dominance is under threat as other emerging markets compete fiercely on cost.
“The last decade was very good for Brazil,” James Lockhart Smith, head of Latin America, Maplecroft, told CNBC.
January 11, 2013
The Economist, 01/12/2013
“Squeegee merchants of the seas”: that is the nickname shipping companies have bestowed on the pilots who guide ships into Brazilian ports. Their legal monopoly and unregulated fees place them among the country’s highest earners: 150,000 reais ($73,500) a month, estimates the shipowners’ association. It costs twice the OECD average to import a container to Brazil, says the World Bank—and since that excludes bribes and fees for go-betweens, the true figure is surely greater. Lack of upkeep and investment add to the misery.
Brazil’s government has woken up to the urgent need to improve the country’s infrastructure. It is auctioning road, railway and airport concessions. Last month it added ports to the list, promising to spend 54 billion reais to expand and dredge public ports and to improve landside access over the next five years.
Operating contracts for port terminals that have expired will be put out for tender, rather than rolled over. Contracts will go to whomever can ship the largest volume at the lowest price. Private ports will be able to compete with public ones (only companies with enough cargo to merit a dedicated port can build their own ports now). The government wants to soften the pilots’ monopoly by training more of them.
December 11, 2012
Paulo Sotero – CNN, 12/10/2012
This is the first in a series of entries looking at what we can expect in 2013. Each weekday, a guest analyst will look at the key challenges facing a selected country – and what next year might hold in store.
Editor’s note: Paulo Sotero is director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in Washington D.C. The views expressed are his own.
In her first two years as Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff did the improbable. A neophyte in elective politics seen by many as a mere extension of her revered predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Rousseff is today more popular at home than her creator. Remarkably, she gained the trust of the Brazilian people while her economic team and policies lost investors’ confidence – GDP growth moved in the opposite direction of her approval rating, shrinking from 7.5 percent in 2010 to 2.7 percent in 2011, and somewhere around 1 percent this year.
December 6, 2012
Associated Press/The Washington Post, 12/04/2012
Deforestation in the Amazon destroyed an area almost as big as the United Kingdom between 2000 and 2010, environmental watchdog agencies said Tuesday.
The study prepared by the Amazon Information Network was released in Bolivia. It showed that close to 93,000 square miles (240,000 square kilometers) of Amazon rainforest were devastated in the 10-year period, the network said in a statement.
The main culprits are illegal logging, the construction of highways, mining, farming and ranching, the construction of hydroelectric dams and oil and gas drilling and exploration.
Sixty-three percent of the rainforest’s 2.4 million square miles (6.1 million square kilometers) are in Brazil, and 80.4 percent of the 2000-2010 deforestation occurred in that country, the study said. Peru was responsible for 6.2 percent of the deforestation, and Colombia came in third with 5 percent.
The pace of Amazon deforestation in Brazil and the other countries, with the exception of Colombia and French Guiana, has slowed, the study said.
December 4, 2012
Howard Schneider – The Washington Post , 12/03/2012
When the Brazilian economy began to stall last year, officials in Latin America’s largest country started pulling pages from the playbook of another major developing nation: China.
They hiked tariffs on dozens of industrial products, limited imports of auto parts, and capped how many automobiles could come into the country from Mexico — an indirect slap at the U.S. companies that assemble many vehicles there.
A large state-funded bank grew larger, steering cheap money to projects that rely on locally made goods and equipment rather than imports. Other rules and tax breaks for local products proliferated under President Dilma Rousseff’s “Bigger Brazil Program.” The latest statistics show continued sluggishness, with Brazil growing at an annual rate of about 2.4 percent, less than the United States.
November 29, 2012
AFP/The Sun Daily, 11/29/2012
With congested airports, ramshackle roads and nighmarish urban traffic jams, Brazil faces a major transportation headache as it gears up for the 2014 World Cup.
Despite planned investments of $13.65 billion for the soccer extravaganza, this continent-sized country cannot make up in the remaining 18 months for decades of neglect of its infrastructure, experts say.
The key challenge in preparing for the tournament “is the infrastructure around the (host) stadiums and how to access them. Brazilian roads are dreadful, except for those of Sao Paulo and the airports are horrendous,” said sports analyst Juca Kfouri.
Am estimated 500,000 foreign tourists and three million Brazilians are expected to attend matches in 12 host cities for the first World Cup to be held in Brazil since 1950.
The road system is saturated in Brazil — traveling less than 30 kilometres in Rio can take two hours and in Sao Paulo, the country’s economic capital, rush-hour traffic bottlenecks can be 250 kilometres long.
In Brazil, the world’s sixth largest economy with a population of 194 million, traffic accidents claim on average 117 lives daily, often due to the poor quality of roads and inadequate signs.
November 26, 2012
Will Smale – BBC, 11/16/2012
All 12 stadiums across Brazil will be ready for the 2014 World Cup, Fifa’s general secretary has said.
But Jerome Valcke told the Soccerex convention in Rio that the vital wider infrastructure work was lagging behind.
Mr Valcke, overseeing progress on delivering the World Cup in Brazil, has highlighted a lack of hotels for the estimated 500,000 overseas visitors.
He also said that Fifa and the Brazilian football authorities now had a much better relationship.
Mr Valcke has angered Brazilian officials in the past by suggesting that the stadiums would not be ready.
Now he believes the risk of delay has moved on to such matters as the necessary number of hotels and vital improvements to airports and public transport.
November 15, 2012
Andrew Downie – Reuters, 11/15/2012
Brazilians like to say theirs is the country of soccer and it certainly has a strong claim for the titles of the world’s greatest player, greatest team and even the greatest stadium.
In the nation that will host the 2014 World Cup, however, fewer people go to see professional soccer matches than in China or the United States.
With attendances falling further this year, Brazilian clubs are using different strategies to try to fill their grounds but they are hampered by antiquated stadiums, a lack of respect for fans, television stations that show every game live and insufficient policing and security.
In the home of Pele, the legendary team that won the 1970 World Cup and Rio de Janeiro’s giant Maracana stadium, just about everyone has a team and an opinion. But few actually go to support their side.