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Brazil, 20 years from now

February 24, 2010

From the Chrystal Ball series:

The Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology released today a study that outlines how the country and the planet will (probably) evolve in the next 20 years. Produced by the Centro de Gestão e Estudos Estratégicos, the document offers a time line based on several sources. It is meant to help government plan its future strategies.

Part of its content is easily predictable, considering recent tendencies. But there are some surprises.

Among its main forecasts:

Economy

  • In four years, Brazil will go back to its tradition of successive commercial balance deficits
  • Brazilian Gross Domestic Product will be 925 billion dollars in 2015 (which means, less than our present GDP, around 1.6 trillion dollars. It is not very clear how Goldman Sachs, the original source of this information, came up with this number)
  • Brazil, the brand, will increase its value. The demand for products associated to the country’s cultural diversity will grow

Science and Technology

  • The rhythm of innovation will speed up and new technologies will migrate quicker from the lab to the market. Biotechnology, nanotechnology and information technology will be increasingly integrated. The nanotechnology market should reach 2.6 trillion dollars in two years.
  • By 2012, cell phone batteries will be recharged once every two months
  • In only three years, hybrid cars will represent 30% of the global automotive market
  • Electric cars will become more and more competitive

Society

  • In 20 years, the number of senior Brazilians will be 4 million superior to the number of children and teenagers. This difference will reach 35.8 million by 2050. By then, there will be 75 inactive individuals for each 100 workers in the labor force (more about that here)
  • By 2027, Brazil will have more women than men studying in universities
  • More people will be living in small and middle-sized towns. Migration to the metropolis will slow down (a tendency that has been going on for a few years now)
  • Immigration from other South American countries and from Africa might increase
  • Brazil should comply with the UN Millenium Goals by 2015 (halve the number of people with an income of less than 1 dollar a day, halve the number of hungry individuals, among others)

Environment and Energy

  • Brazil will lose R$ 7.4 billion in 2020 due to the impact of global change over the production of grains (I wrote recently about this topic)
  • By 2028, 45% of the energy produced in the country will be renewable.
  • Many more hydro power dams will be built in the Amazon till 2030 (this might be a big environmental issue, once the region is mostly flat, which means those dams will probably flood huge areas)
  • By 2021, the volume of rain during the dry season should diminish in the tropical areas of the country

Food

  • According to the World Bank, quoted by the study, global food demand  might grow 50% in the next 20 years, due to population growth and the adoption of a Western diet by the growing middle classes of the world. There will be enough food to feed everybody, but its distribution will continue to be extremely unequal
  • Scarcity of water to supply the agricultural demand will reach critical levels and many areas that are fertile today are likely to lose their production capacity
  • Brazil should remain an important food producer thanks to its dimensions and the availability of fertile land and water

I was surprised that the country is close to comply with all the Millenium Goals.  As far as I know, the federal government considered a few of these goals unattainable within the schedule proposed by the UN. I hope to write a post about that soon.

And Goldman Sachs’s forecast for the evolution (involution?) of Brazilian GDP seems really strange. I wonder if there is no transcription mistake. Maybe somebody forgot to add the number 1 before 925…

What’s your forecast? What will Brazil look like in 20 years?

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2 comments

  1. Raquel,
    Very interesting, can you post the link to the document?
    Thanks,
    Steve


  2. Steve, the two links I have are the ones in the opening paragraph of my text (on “document” and “time line”). The first is the press release distributed by the Ministry and the second is the time line itself (all of them are in Portuguese). I tried to find the original Goldman Sachs document, quoted by the study, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.



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