BNDES Helped Save the Olympics. But Is it Hurting Brazil?

Olivia Arguinzoni- Americas Quarterly, 08/09/2016

New leadership atop Brazil’s massive national development bank is unwinding a decade of rampant lending that fed large conglomerates and strained the country’s finances.

Over the past half-century, Brazil’s Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES) built huge power plants and highways through the industrial southeast, aided social programs in the drought-ridden northeast, and helped create some of today’s world-leading companies like airplane-maker Embraer and pulp producer Fibria. More recently, it helped save the Rio Olympics with an emergency loan.

Such mega-investment projects played a central role in Brazil’s economy over the last ten years of Workers’ Party rule, during which former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and suspended President Dilma Rousseff showed a particular penchant for state-sponsored development.

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