RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This city is in the midst of changing so fast it is outgrowing itself like a pair of high-water britches. That is the name for when a kid’s pants are too small, they are short on the leg and other kids tease them about expecting a flood.
Rio is expecting a flood of people, as the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games approach. It is expecting a flood of investments also, from the mega-events and even more importantly the oil industry.
The transportation system is bursting at the seams, and Brazil is working to upgrade, but it is not always smooth sailing. The Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT) is expanding across the city – for better or worse, the airports are being privatized, for billions of dollars, and construction projects are being developed.
We had an analyst tell us he estimated direct investment for the 2016 Olympic Games are approximately R$30 billion between 2009-2016, with indirect investment estimated at R$90 billion.
We also have the Petrobras (the government-majority-owned oil mega company) investment plan of US$224.7 billion for the period between 2011-2015. The company hopes it can nearly triple its production by 2020.
Then there is the PAC (Aceleração do Crescimento), introduced in 2007 and laid out investment plans of nearly R$504 billion (US$306 billion) until 2010. Then the PAC 2, released in March of last year, was a continuation of the project that promised spending of R$959 billion (US$582 billion) from 2011 to 2014.
These numbers all sound so big, and I guess in the context of Brazil now being the sixth largest economy in the world it makes sense. Brazil’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was predicted to reach US$2.44 trillion by the end of the 2011, narrowly outstripping the UK’s – which was set to reach US$2.43 trillion.
All this means that there are mega plans in the works, and of course it is not always easy to keep everyone happy. The latest development in the forced relocation of the Vila Autódromo favela in Rio, bordering the TBD Olympic Park has unfolded as the COB (Olympic Organizing Committee) made a visit at the United nations Human Rights Council.
Not to make light of the situation, it is very dire for the community living there, and we hope they get a fair and amicable solution. The city and the country is growing so fast but hopefully they will do better at it then the U.S. did in terms of human rights during the 1800’s, or more recently China.