In 2009 the World Bank Group launched an innovative investment climate project in northern Brazil. The focus for the new approach was on the two border states of Pernambuco and Para. When fully up and running the programme will involve an investment of over $830 Million in the two states prompting the creation of nearly 4,000 new jobs in an area where they are sorely needed and therefore will be greatly welcomed.

The whole project is backed by APEX (the country’s investment promotion agency) who has been supplying training and support to the two states’ own agencies,ADDIPER (for Pernambuco) and DECOMEX (Para). The three organisations are working closely together to maximise the effectiveness of the general programme. Obviously the World Bank Group is monitoring developments very carefully.

In the state of Pernambuco, one example is provided by a joint effort on behalf of Oerlikon (Swiss based) and Ecosolar, providing a $300 million plant to make solar panels. The intention is to take advantage of Brazil’s growing demand for renewable energy facilities, prompted by a combination of public and private sector economic factors.

Another notable instance of the national scheme is in Para, where the local investment advisory team has helped the setting up of a new factory by Rexam PLC. The plant is designed to produce drink cans, mainly for local and regional use and ad full capacity will employ between one and two hundred workers.

Other major investment projects in these northern areas include a Dystar textile chemicals plant in Pernambuco plus a new facility for Kraft Foods in the same state. In Para, in the city of Belém, there are so far two major initiatives. One is by Var BV and is an eleven million dollar facility to process berry kernels into exportable biomass and carbon credit ratings. The other is by a subsidiary of Crown Holdings. This is a 120 Million dollar manufacturing plant for drink cans.

Together, these two facilities alone will provide at least six hundred jobs.The overall aim of this World Bank project i to attract investment to the north, rather than allowing it to gravitate towards the ever-popular (and previously booming) south and coastal regions. The potential for the frontier states inland has been sorely under developed and the new scheme is designed to try to redress that. It’s an urgent task because the levels of unemployment and therefore poverty in the north have always been worryingly high. This is hopefully the first step in an overall solution.

At the moment Brazil is at the top of most investors hotlists due to its flourishing economy and upcoming sporting events in 2014 and 2016 and it is set to stay there for a number of years, however you don’t need to be a rich investor to get in on the action as there are a number of very good low entry level investments open to everyone, one of these revolves around the governments minha casa minha vida social housing programme where companies such as teh UK based EcoHouse Group build social housing using investors money.

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