Brazil in Brief
BASICS :Land, Climate, Population and Language
Brazil is the fifth largest country of the world, with more than 8,5 million square kilometers, occupying more than 50% of the territory of South America. With great climatic diversity, it is divided in five regions: North (States Acre, Amapá, Amazon, Rondônia, Roraima, Pará and Tocantins), Northeast (States Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Bahia), Southeast (States Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo), South (States Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul) and Central-West (States Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Goiás and Federal District-Brasilia). In spite of its continental dimension and huge population - around 180 million inhabitants, the same language - Portuguese - it is spoken all over the country.
Brazil was discovered and colonized by Portuguese and had the sugarcane plantations, located mainly in the Brazilian northeast, as its first main economic activity. To create other sources of income, other regions began to be exploited, dislodging the economic center of the country gradually towards the Southeast, while slave labor was intensely used. Brazil became independent of Portugal in the 19th century and the economy of the new nation was based on the production of coffee exports for several decades.
From 1950 to 1970, big infrastructure projects were developed and the process of industrialization made possible the expansion of important sectors of the economy such as the automobile, petrochemicals and steel industries. In the decade of 70, thanks to the high inflow of external capital Brazilian GDP grew at the annual average rate of 8,5%.
During the eighties, both the oil crisis and the foreign debt crunch of developing countries caused this development model to collapse, resulting in economic stagnation and runaway inflation. During the nineties, Brazilian economy underwent profound changes due to sweeping economic reforms that brought down inflation to manageable levels and placed the economy back on a growth pattern. The economic opening was consolidated as trade liberalization became a fact and the MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) bloc area developed. Finally, an ambitious privatization program both reshaped the role of government in the economy and broke down the bottlenecks to growth thanks to renewed investments in infrastructure.
In 2004, Brazilian GDP reached US$ 606 billion, the 12th in the world ranking. Adjusted by purchasing power parity (PPP) the Brazilian GDP ranks 9th.
The Brazilian Industry
The Brazilian industry embraces 135 thousand companies and employs almost 6 million people, representing ¼ of the total formal labor force. It is modern and its production is diversified. A broad range of industrialized products is manufactured, including consumer goods, industrial inputs and capital goods. Due to the increasing use of modern technologies the Brazilian industry is adding value to its output and reducing the production costs. As a result, it has been substantially increasing its competitiveness in the world market. Transportation equipment and electrical goods, metallurgy and agribusiness are successful examples of sectors that won expressive share of the international market. As a result of the dynamism of the industry and of the strategy of prioritizing the external demand the manufactured goods represent today more than 70% of the total Brazilian exports. In 2004, the industry accounted for 38% of the GDP.
Brazilian Industry (WMV)