The vice-president of the World Bank (IBRD – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) for Latin America and the Caribbean, Pamela Fox, warned, of the need for Brazil to invest in infrastructure to ensure long-term sustained development.
Fox, who is making her first official visit to Brazil since assuming the post on January 1, left her meeting with the Minister of Finance, Antônio Palocci, saying that she is enthusiastic over the country’s macroeconomic policy and the 5% growth in the Gross Domestic Product in 2004.
“The economic team has been working very well in the Ministry of Finance. They presented sustainable macroeconomic policies, and we hope that the Ministry continues along these lines.
“We don’t think the pace of growth will decline. But, in the long run, Brazil shares growth obstacles with other Latin American countries. One of them is the need to keep investing in infrastructure,” Fox observed.
In her view, the government knows it must invest in infrastructure. “But there exist fiscal space limitations in the budget.”
One of the alternatives she mentioned is the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP’s) program, which was the theme of her conversation with Palocci.
She said that the IBRD supports the PPP’s project, which was sanctioned by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on December 30, and is studying ways to participate, but there is still no specific project on the table.
“We are ready to analyze any infrastructure project in which the government is interested in including the bank,” she affirmed.
Water and sanitation are other areas of interest to the IBRD for future PPP’s.
The World Bank has been collaborating with Brazil since 1949 and has already provided US$ 35 billion in funding.
Currently, the IBRD is financing 50 projects involving US$ 6.2 billion in direct investments.
The projects are related to the war on poverty and social and economic development, with an emphasis on health, education, water, infrastructure, and environment.
Translation: David Silberstein