Of the total of 5,700 municipalities in Brazil, around 4 thousand have economies that are stagnating or declining, approximately 800 have sustained balanced growth, and only 200 (capitals, beach resorts, and industrial zones) have experienced much faster economic growth than the rest.
These numbers are drawn from a study that the National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) has been conducting since the beginning of the year, in partnership with the Espírito Santo State Development Bank (Bandes), to identify the need for investments in cities.
The data were presented Thursday, October 13, at the first seminar of the Quality Cities ("Qualicidades") project, which studies ways to stimulate the development of Brazilian cities.
The director of Planning at the BNDES, Antônio Barros de Castro, said that the study, which should be completed by July, 2006, focuses on approaches to meet the urban crisis and compares successful and unsuccessful experiences in various cities. According to Barros de Castro, the analysis will serve to guide the bank in its investments.
The coordinator of the Quality Cities project, Luiz Paulo Vellozo Lucas, is in favor of cities’ having more autonomy to decide the best path for their development. He emphasized that cities with the highest rates of economic development are also the ones that face the most serious urban problems, such as slum formation, violence, and environment imbalance. For these cities, he explained, government policies and investments in housing, public safety, and basic sanitation are required.
"On the other hand, for the cities with stagnant economies, the majority of which depend upon family farming, what is needed are credit programs for irrigation and the purchase of agricultural machinery and equipment to warehouse and market what they produce," Lucas went on to say.