Explaining Brazil #43: Brazil’s infrastructure woes

This week’s podcast, Brazil’s infrastructure woes, was supported by Voom, an Airbus company. Voom is an on-demand helicopter booking platform that allows its passengers to fly between nine different helipads in the city of São Paulo from Monday to Saturday for less than BRL 500.

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Brazil’s infrastructure woes

Imagine you are a Brazilian soybean producer located in the state of Mato Grosso, deep in midwestern Brazil, neighboring Bolivia. And you have clients waiting for your products in China. So, how do you get your soybeans to your Chinese customers?

What would you say if I told you that the drive between your silos and Santos will be more expensive than the ship taking your grains all the way to the other end of the world to China? It sounds ridiculous, but it is true. The reason: infrastructure woes.

Infrastructure is one of Brazil’s main bottlenecks. The country ranked 73rd out of 137 analyzed by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report in 2018. It impacts multiple areas of life: healthcare — as only half of the country has access to a sewage system —, competitiveness — as everything gets more expensive due to higher transportation costs —, and even tourism — as travelers have fewer options to move around this gigantic country in an affordable fashion.

On this podcast

Gustavo Ribeiro has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de São Paulo, Médiapart and Radio France Internationale. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Abril Prize for outstanding political journalism. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

Ilana Ferreira has 10 years of experience in infrastructure and works for Brazil’s National Confederation of Industry (CNI). She holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Brasília, and focuses her work on analyzing public policies in energy, logistics, and basic sanitation.

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