Governments keep changing, people stay therefore for long lasting relations, people to people bonds provide continuity  between two countries. 

By Raja G Mujtaba

Talking on Pakistan-Brazil relations, a seminar was conducted at the Brazilian Embassy in Islamabad with the collaboration of IPRI that was inaugurated by Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan. The seminar was conducted to cover various aspects of mutual relations.

Prior to this seminar, my personal information about Brazil was very sketchy, what I learnt here was amazing. This seminar compelled me to do some research and find the true picture of Brazil. Going through its history of development, diversification of economic base and adaption of the latest technology is worth studying. Pakistan has a lot to learn from Brazilian experience that can be replicated in Pakistan.

There are many similarities between the two countries. Both have been under prolonged colonial rule with a difference that the Portuguese adopted the country where as British remained the colonial masters and had no intention to own the place thus they remained exploiters who planted some serious discords to keep the war looming.

Pakistan and Brazil have almost same population; Brazil is 200 million whereas Pakistan is close to that much but in area Brazil is huge. It’s ten times bigger than Pakistan. In fact it’s as large as the US minus Alaska. Brazil is an agriculture economy and so is Pakistan but Brazil has managed her agrarian economy much more efficiently, whereas in Pakistan neither the feudal class that holds the most of the arable land is prepared to give up that it cannot bring into production nor the new breed of rulers who understand nothing about agriculture are prepared to meet the challenge. Secondly our water management is not efficient. We lose most of the water in irrigation channels that leaves very little for the land. Brazil has the advantage of regular rains and sunshine that it gets in abundance besides the rivers that flow through it.

Following more than three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil gained its independence in 1822, as compared to Pakistan that got its independence in 1947. So here Brazil has a definite advantage that it got a much longer period to establish itself as an independent country. Although there is another common feature of Brazilian and Pakistani history that from time to time, both have been going under military rule.

The man who turned around Brazil is Lula da Silva who came from a poor family was twice elected and remained President from 2002 to 2010.  In 1978 Lula was elected head of a steel-workers’ union. He became convinced that the true path to fair treatment for workers was not through unions and strikes, but through political power, thus he moved into mainstream politics.

“Lula,” is a liberal politician who often adopts centrist positions. He was a very effective president, avoiding scandals and allowing Brazilian industry to prosper while taking steps towards combating Brazil’s legendary poverty.

Lula was born in October, 1945 to poor parents in the town of Caetés, Pernambuco, but soon moved to a coastal city in São Paulo province. There was little time or money for young Lula to get an education, and he was working in the streets as a shoeshine boy and street vendor before he was in his teens. He was a hard worker and soon found full-time work in São Paulo’s booming automotive industry.


In the contemporary period, there are several examples of politicians who come from a poor families; Ahmadinejad of Iran, Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Mohamed Morsi of Egypt. When compared, all these political leaders including Lula of Brazil have done extremely well for their countries. The lesson for Pakistan is to bring one from a middle class who is committed to the country and the people.

Today, modern, efficient and competitive, Brazilian agribusiness is a prosperous, safe and profitable enterprise. In addition to meeting domestic food needs, it has made Brazil into one of the largest food exporters in the world.

Brazil’s robust agricultural production is based on small family properties. These are projects that rely on support from a credit program that reaches 5,387 towns (96.8% of all Brazilian towns) and encompasses 4.1 million production units that account for 70% of the food delivered to Brazilian households.

With the largest commercial cattle herd in the world, today Brazil is also the third largest poultry producer. Even in pork production, Brazil is the third largest in the world.

Industry exports grew from US$ 30.6 billion in 2003 to US$ 71.8 billion in 2008. Later figures are not available but seeing the rate of growth one can safely say that it should be well over 120 billion dollars.

Again Brazil is way ahead in its literacy rate as compared to Pakistan. Brazil has offered several scholarships to Pakistani students all paid for. These students have already arrived there and undergoing their education. Some of them have been offered one year free language course also. Now this is a big contribution towards improvement of Pakistan’s education level and establishing a long term relations. In fact Brazil focuses on ‘people to people’ relations. Governments keep changing but people are a constant factor, hence relations established at people to people level is longer lasting.

Brazilian Development Plan (PDE), which has invested US$ 8 billion by 2011 in its education. Brazil pursues significant advances in the quality of its public schools and provides free education to all.

Aware of the need to give priority to the rural areas and the lower income suburban areas, the Federal Government has placed new emphasis on vocational education. Seventy-five new units are already up and running. The goal was to open 354 federal technical schools by 2010, Brazil ranked 12th in the world market for software and services in 2007, generating close to US$ 11 billion. There are 7,900 Brazilian companies operating in this segment. The information technology industry is traditionally the scene of mergers and acquisitions in Brazil in order to increase market share and achieve scale for providing services abroad, attracting not only clients but international investors as well.

In its industrial quest, Brazil is world’s fourth largest manufacturer of aircraft and seventh largest in automobiles. It manufacturers both military and commercial aircraft that it’s selling around the world. In the military aircraft its building advanced trainers that are capable of combat and electronic surveillance aircraft. It has also built twin engine jet cargo aircraft that can also be modified to be an aerial tanker.  On the jet liners, Embraer builds up to 120 seats regional airliners besides a variation of executive jets.

In its diversification effort, Pakistan Air Force and the Navy have an option to look at Brazilian aircraft for operational needs. Perhaps Army may also acquire some light combat aircraft like Super Tucano for fighting the terrorists.

  Road accidents deadlier than terrorism

Coming to energy sector, Brazil is not only self-sufficient in its oil needs but has surplus to export also. Besides oil, it has diversified itself in organic fuels and hydro-power. This in turn is helping to curb carbon dioxide emissions to check pollution.

Brazil is recognized worldwide for its building of hydroelectric plants and in the use of renewable sources for generation of electricity. In 2008, hydropower supplied 73% of the country’s electricity needs. To sustain the growth of the Brazilian economy, every year supply must expand by 4,000 megawatts (MW). Projections point to the need for approximately 120,000 MW by 2030 to supply the needs for the domestic market, according to the National Energy Plan (PNE-2030).

The 10-year Energy Extension Plan, by the Ministry of Mines in Energy for 2008 to 2017, projects an increase in demand for electricity at an annual rate of 5.4% over 10 years, and the addition of around 54,000 MW of installed capacity in Brazil. In this manner, in 2017, the electricity generation will reach approximately 155,000 MW of installed capacity, 80% of which from renewable sources.

Brazil has made a sharp turnaround from 2002 when it had obtained an IMF loan of 30 Billion US Dollars, the biggest in the history of the IMF, to avoid a massive debt default. Brazil is now lending money to IMF, 10 Billion US Dollar had been given to the IMF. This remarkable turnaround had not taken place suddenly. This goes back to the 1990’s when having exhausted all option it finally site on a sensible set of economic policies. Following are few of the major steps followed by the Brazilian Governments over the years to make possible this huge turnaround. Brazil is fortunate not to have any disputes on its borders, if there were any as Pakistan is facing, Brazilian economy would have never improved.

Today, Brazil is a fast emerging economic power; it stands as sixth largest economy of the world. This recovery in a span of ten years speaks volumes about the imaginative application of resources and the political will from the top. Now the entire focus is on economy that is making the society more affluent thus raising their standards of living to the level of the developed countries. Apparently Brazil has no military designs in the region; this makes other developing countries quite comfortable in developing relations with Brazil that in turn is boosting it economy. Pakistan should invite Brazilian business community and open the doors to them for trade and industry.

Pakistan-Brazilian   defence relations have also been established. Pakistan is working to acquire some missile system for its Air Force. The same is in the process of advanced test and trials. It is likely the system would be inducted that would give Pakistan Air Force some edge in defence against missiles. Besides this there are other areas of cooperation also that may all not be revealed at this moment.

One area where Pakistan could focus with Brazil is collaboration in regional jetliners. Embraer has proved to be a good aircraft that has been acquired even by those countries that have strong aircraft industry and are world leaders. While on a vacation to the US I had a chance to fly in one of those, it was a very comfortable flight that I enjoyed. If Pakistan’s defence services and civil operators pool up their resources, then co-production may also become feasible.  

  9/11: Ten Years On

By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil underwent more than a half century of populist and military government until 1985, when the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader, one of the first in the area to begin an economic recovery. Highly unequal income distribution and crime remain pressing problems.

Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries, and Brazil is expanding its presence in world markets. Since 2003, Brazil has steadily improved its macroeconomic stability, building up foreign reserves, and reducing its debt profile by shifting its debt burden toward real denominated and domestically held instruments. In 2008, Brazil became a net external creditor and two ratings agencies awarded investment grade status to its debt. After strong growth in 2007 and 2008, the onset of the global financial crisis hit Brazil in 2008. Brazil experienced two quarters of recession, as global demand for Brazil's commodity-based exports dwindled and external credit dried up.

Today Brazil is the 6th largest economy of the world with reserves of over 355 billion dollars. It has become world’s leading producer and exporter of iron, coffee, soybean, orange juice, corn, beef, chicken, sugar, tobacco and ethanol. In sugar Brazil accounts for half of the world’s market. World’s 4th largest manufacturer of aircraft and top producer of models seating up to 120 passengers.

However, Brazil was one of the first emerging markets to begin a recovery. In 2010, consumer and investor confidence revived and GDP growth reached 7.5%, the highest growth rate in the past 25 years. Rising inflation led the authorities to take measures to cool the economy; these actions and the deteriorating international economic situation slowed growth to 2.7% for 2011 as a whole, though forecasts for 2012 growth are somewhat higher. Despite slower growth in 2011, Brazil overtook the United Kingdom as the world's seventh largest economy in terms of GDP. Urban unemployment is at the historic low of 4.7% (December 2011), and Brazil's traditionally high level of income equality has declined for each of the last 12 years. Brazil's high interest rates make it an attractive destination for foreign investors. Large capital inflows over the past several years have contributed to the appreciation of the currency, hurting the competitiveness of Brazilian manufacturing and leading the government to intervene in foreign exchanges markets and raise taxes on some foreign capital inflows. President Dilma ROUSSEFF has retained the previous administration's commitment to inflation targeting by the central bank, a floating exchange rate, and fiscal restraint.

To develop better ties, following are recommended:

·         Establishment of a Ministerial Commission to develop trade, scientific cooperation, education and promotion of travel cultural ties.

·         Establish a joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

·         Establish a regular air service between the two countries.

·         Student exchange program.

·         Language teaching centers where both Urdu and Portuguese is taught.   

Here if the efforts of Ambassador Alfredo Leoni are not mentioned in bringing the two countries closer, it would not be fair to him. Wish the two countries a great success in the times to come.