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January 28, 2014

Economic and Social Development Council (CDES)

Brazil must get rich before it gets old

Brazil must get rich before it gets old

Photo: www.cdes.gov.br

The so-called midlife BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) crisis,highly commented on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum 2014 in Davos, Switzerland, more than a sense of humor to raise awareness on the plight of emerging countries amid the global crisis, should raise an important reflection: the United States and Western Europe nationsgrew rich before they got old. The phrase is an allusion to the fact they have taken profit of the so-called demographic bonus to achieve high levels of income and development.

Were it not for this bonus (phase where most of the population is in the economically active age), the time-consuming global crisis would have done more damage to its economy. Therefore,they were saved on time, considering the most recent prospects concerning their new growth flow, albeit moderate.

The BRICS, in turn, have continued to grow during the crisis because they knew how to adopt countercyclical measures and also because they have a great potential for economic expansion. Only the social inclusion process, as occurred in Brazil, which preceded the crash of 2008 and remained in the following years, secured a few more percentage points tothe annual GDP variation. Moreover, our country is experiencing exactly the beginning of itsdemographic bonus, which should last for two decades. This is an important factor.

We must seize this rare moment of the population pyramid to make us, as happened with Americans and Europeans, a high-income economy and a developed nation. We cannot, under any circumstances, to waste such an opportunity. Losing it would mean to grow old without enriching, and that would be absolutely disastrous. Thus, regardless of the vicissitudes of the other BRICS, we can not afford to, no matter what, waste our time in philosophicalissues, existential dilemmas and crises of identity over the course of our economy. It is necessary to work hard to fulfill the development agenda.

And the agenda requires specific measures, such as credit recovery, scarcenowadays, after a period of widespread availability. Another crucial factor is stimulating foreign direct investment. Brazil is still the eighth place in the world ranking, which is very positive. Brazil was, however, the seventhin such ranking, more highlylosing positions from the second half of 2013. That is, the government should informthe world, with transparency, that is steadfast in its purpose of fiscal responsibility, inflation control and legal certainty.

These are the factors which have sharpened skepticism among investors about the prospects for our country. It is not comfortable, as it becomes embarrassing, to focus on structural reforms, forgotten for nearly three decades. However, we can not ignore the need for a shock of productivity, innovation and competitiveness, without which we would take less advantage fromour blessed demographic bonus.

We did many things right in this 21st century, especially the creation of a significant consumer market through the socioeconomic improvement of approximately 50 million people. Any setbacks could lead the country to a destination of aging without richness, alethal equation for the future.

Source: www.cdes.gov.br