Vincent Bevins, a correspondent with the Los Angeles Times, highlights the economic transformation unfolding in Brazil’s north-eastern region. He cites the state of Pernambuco as an example. “[O]nce known for its vast plains of parched dirt and roving bandits,” it is now home to refineries, port projects, shipbuilding and tech industries. The unemployment rate in Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, has declined to almost 6% from 14% over the last twelve years, while its population has increased by 8% to 1.5 million.
The economic boom has reversed migration trends. Young northeasterners have traditionally flocked to the southeast, the economic powerhouse of the country, in search of opportunities. Now, however, more locals are deciding to stay home and large numbers of Brazilians from around the country are migrating north. Not only are Brazilians moving to urban centres like Recife or Fortaleza, they also are relocating to rural areas in the region owing to an agricultural boom.
Government social programmes, such as anti-poverty scheme Bolsa Familia, are key to the northeast region’s turnaround. These programmes are lauded for reducing income inequality, but there are other side benefits. By reducing economic disparities between regions, we believe Brazil is better placed for more sustainable, balanced growth in the years ahead.
By Mary Stokes, Timetric