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Fax:+(9661) 4881073

P.O. Box 94348,

Riyadh 11693

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia




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Brazil in Focus

Brazil Today




New Brazil   

 Few places in the world have Brazil's readiness to accept new things, an attitude founded on the racial democracy built over the centuries. Concealed by racial prejudice on the part of the elite and only moderately apparent (compared with the example of the United States or Europe), this behavior has enabled the building of an effective political democracy in a nation where there were all the reasons not to have one.

On an initial basis of miscegenation was established a society in which slavery existed. However, despite slavery, it was never possible to do away with the custom that had already become a tradition - and which could be seen every day in the children of whites and Negroes, Negroes and Indians, mixed races with whites and whites with Indians. Condemned as being inferior, these people succeeded in transforming condemnation into identity with the arrival of Brazilian independence. This identity is so strong that there are no divisions within the territory or political disputes of great consequence. On the contrary, the nation has been built on the basis of agreements that often appeared nonsensical in European eyes - and also to many Brazilians - but which have worked until now in rather an unusual way.

Since the 1800's, the urge for democracy has translated into a deep-seated belief in the need to distribute power by means of devices of political representation. National elections have been held in Brazil since 1823 with a readiness to register electors that is unusual even by the standards of European democracies. Whatever may be said of the National Congress, it has been running like clockwork for 175 years. Only on three occasions during the entire history of the nation have elected representatives failed to fulfill their mandates. The power of Congress is such that not even the military dictatorship during the 1960's was able to renounce it. Even dictators know that a country is ungovernable without elected representatives.

The power of Congress exists because it is bound up with a great social force. The slave society managed to transform itself by absorbing a vast number of immigrants and even merging with them. The custom of considering attractive any matrimonial prospect, regardless of ethnic origin, prevailed over the tendency to remain closed that was a feature of most immigrant groups. In the same way that outsiders are absorbed without loss of identity, Brazil is able to absorb companies. The first foreign company was established in Brazil in 1825 and is still trading today. A foreign-owned company has never had its system of ownership modified beyond the strict terms of the law.

Those are just some of the consequences of the basically democratic structure of the nation. Brazil is one of the last of the earth's provinces where no-one is a foreigner and where it is possible to change destiny without loss of identity. It is precisely because of that feature that many call it the "country of the future": from being a Colony (1500-1822), becoming an Empire (1822-1889) and during the Republic (1889 to the present), globalization is part of the natural make-up of every Brazilian. Perhaps Brazil can now be seen as the seed of a cultural reality where group pride is not above the possibility of accepting anything new.


Science and Technology  

In the same way as the physical infrastructure, the science and technology infrastructure is also a determining element of the systemic competitiveness. In current technological paradigms the competition bases itself in growing interaction and intensive use of science and technology. Technical knowledge is not enough for efficient production; enterprises need the capacity to innovate and to adequate products and processes to strict technical and environmental regulations. This kind of technological capacity requires efforts and investments - of high costs and risk - in research and development (R&D) from the companies themselves. For that, the interaction of enterprises with S&T infrastructure becomes essential.

Investment in technology: guarantee of

development for the domestic industry

In the 80`s and especially in the first half of the 90`s, there has been in Brazil, a persistent and profound weakening of the institutions of research and S&T infrastructure in general. They have lost their human and financial resources and little developed their ties with the productive sector. Today research institutions are highly concerned with inside matters, the concession of grants concentrates strongly in pure science, and the important functions of technology information, standardisation and metrology are found restricted and antiquated in comparison to international requirements. Therefore it is essential the recovering and strengthening of this S&T basis, rendering it more sensitive to the needs of the productive sector and society as a whole, and concerned with the formation of human resources and the development of innovative capacity.

National Computers Policy (PNI)

The PNI was established by a law approved by the National Congress in October 1984, with an enforcement expiry date of eight years. In this sense it represents a unique case of sectorial policy regulated by law and with a previously established termination. Despite that it was a target for strong internal and international pressures contrary to market protection.

The implementation of the PNI had positive and negative aspects. Within the positive aspects stand out the fast growth of the computer industry in the 80`s, while the manufacturing industry as a whole remained stagnant; the majoritarian presence of national companies; the significant creation of direct jobs (79 thousand until 1989, of which 24 thousand of superior education level); the high spending level in R&D of national companies (around 5% of the net revenue) comparative to the average of the manufacturing industry, and the high import coefficient (18%) comparative to the manufacturing industry as a whole.

However, many negative aspects damaged (or were a result of) its implementation. In the first place, the lack of a strategic vision, demonstrated by the absence of synergies with other industries of the electronic group, the non - development  of  the  microelectronics  industry,


the inattention to software capability, and the non-application (or only partial application) of the instruments predicted by the computers law. In second place, the absence of an export policy, which has put limits to the possibilities of enlarging the scale. In third place, the underestimation of the rhythm and intensity of technical change in the electronic industry. Lastly, the policy's non-selectiveness which has overestimated the possibility of arousal of innovative businessmen and has given opportunity, in fact, to the appearance of rent-seekers businessmen in the computer industry, in a similar way to what happened in the manufacturing industry in general, under the industrial policy's protective schemes. But, besides everything, the absence of a clear policy position and of support by the federal government's economic area itself, and the absence of society's support for the computer policy must be mentioned.

In 1991 a new computers law was approved by the Congress, confirming the end of market protection at the predetermined expiry date (October 1992), altering the concept of national industry in order to favor a larger participation of foreign money, and creating new tax incentives for the computer industry with investments in R&D of a minimum of 5% of the net revenue in return.

Social Communications

Brazil's communications network is considered to be one of the most efficient in the world. Despite their regional, social and economic diversity, the 157 million Brazilians have one passion in common: Television, is seen as the medium that unites the nation from north to south and from east to west. The national craze for "soap opera" has led to the growth of the Rede Globo, Brazil's largest TV network, internationally acclaimed for its high standards of quality. In its wake, other TV companies are seeking to gain a toe-hold in the market and together they inform, entertain and more importantly, have a calming effect where there is tension and unite where there are differences. The small screen is in every home sharing the audience with Radio, the second largest information medium, chiefly on the AM (medium wave) frequency, and it is via this that news reaches places as far away as the Amazon Forest and the gaucho pampas.

Radio is another national craze but unlike TV is not an evening leisure activity but rather a means of communication that wakes Brazil up in the morning. Present in 88.4% of Brazilian homes, it is the vehicle that guides the citizen through his day. By listening to the programmes, Brazilians can choose his route to work and hear up-to-the-minute news. Broadcasts cover Brazil's 8,547,403.5 km2 by means of 1,335 commercial radio stations on AM and a further 938 operating on FM. It is a highly diverse universe that meets the listeners' demand for news, information, sport, services, leisure, music, entertainment and even religion.

Despite its more limited circulation compared with broadcast media, the Brazilian Press is considered to be bold and aggressive, exerting enormous influence on the nation's political and institutional life. The first newspapers appeared just over 200 years ago and now there are more than 2,500 titles. As in almost all the world, the Brazilian press has close ties with the State, and particularly the cities in which the papers are published. Newspapers are the main source for accusation, investigation and the monitoring of Brazil's economic, political and social life.

Side by side with the broadcast media and the press is Advertising. As the world's sixth largest advertising market, Brazil has won prizes each year at the Cannes International Festival in France. Its expertise is on a par with that of the largest and most creative countries in the market, such as the UK and the USA. To give just one example, at the 1997 Cannes Festival, Brazil gained no fewer than 27 "Lions", once again winning the acclaim of advertising professionals and journalists from all over the world for the excellence of its work.

This skill is reflected in another field of communication, that of Video where Brazil has also won international awards, despite the low level of penetration in society where it is currently gaining popularity. During the 1970s, it was used exclusively by the fine arts which were seeking new media and support for their creative ideas. During the 1980s, the generation of the independent video emerged, extending the coverage of the creative video and reaching a wider public. Finally, in the 1990s, the so-called new generation set out with a style that was more mature, more creative whilst at the same time consolidating its previous achievements.

Within the communications sector, Cartoons are another source of creativity as well as being part of Brazilian daily life. This graphic language form that combines humour with political and moral criticism has a strong tradition in Brazil. In the nineteenth century, the Italian Angelo Agostini pioneered the recounting of stories picture by picture. But it was only after the 1950s that this market gained ground, with a fierce debate between the readers of two of Latin America's largest publishers, Globo and Abril.


Copyright�2008 Brazilian Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.