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Brazil’s economy hindered by current policies, say experts

Business leaders and prominent thinkers gathered at IMD to discuss what’s next for Brazil

October 9, 2014

At a recent IMD event focusing on future prospects for Brazil, experts agreed that economic policy has been one of the main things holding back Brazil's economic growth in the past few years.

However, if there is a shift in policy following the current presidential election, Brazil could get back on track and return to stronger economic growth, according to academics and business leaders at the conference.

The one-day event, titled "Brazil: What Next?", was organized by IMD's Evian Group as part of its BRICS conference series. More than 25 experts spoke at the conference, sharing their ideas on Brazil's economic prospects, new business models in the country, the impact of mega sports events, investing in Brazil, and more.

The event took place just two days after the first round of Brazil's presidential election, which saw incumbent Dilma Rousseff win 41.6% of the vote. She will contest a second-round runoff on October 26 with Aecio Neves, who came second with 33.6%.

IMD Professor Carlos A. Primo Braga, Director of The Evian Group@IMD and a former high-level official with the World Bank, chaired the event.

"Business leaders and policy makers walked away with key insights about how to navigate Brazil's complicated environment, and some hope for the future of business and growth in the country, which will be even clearer when we know the outcome of the current election," Braga said.

Speakers included senior executives from leading Brazilian companies such as Vale, Klabin and Embraer; Murilo Portugal, President of the Brazilian Federation of Banks; Leonardo Gryner, Deputy CEO of the organizing committee for the 2016 Rio Olympics; Humberto Antunes, CEO of Swiss skincare company Galderma; top academics and renowned international analysts such as Elizabeth Farina, President, UNICA; Werner Baer, Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Otaviano Canuto, Senior Adviser, World Bank; and Rubens Ricupero, a former Finance Minister of Brazil and Secretary-General of UNCTAD.

IMD Professors Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Anand Narasimhan and Paul Strebel participated in a panel discussion on Brazil and the BRICS, the acronym that refers to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Although the BRICS concept highlights the increasing importance of faster-growing emerging markets in the world economy, several participants questioned the BRICS' coherence and collective political power.

At the end, Professor Braga summarized the debates by referring to a well-known saying of Tom Jobim: "Brazil is not for beginners". He underscored the potential of the 7th largest economy in the world while saying that there is a need to rethink the development model being pursued and to put productivity growth at the center of the debate.

The Evian Group@IMD focuses its efforts on promoting a better understanding of how multilateral rules and governance can help businesses and societies to benefit from economic globalization.


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