Brazil Investment Conference

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November 28, 2012 | Foreign Affairs | New York, NY

brazilThis timely event brought together senior government officials, global business leaders, and financial experts to examine and discuss the latest developments, investment challenges and opportunities that exist in Brazil and Minas Gerais: the country´s second-most industrialized state and a symbol of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Standard & Poor´s rating agency recently assigned “brAAA” national scale issuer credit ratings to Minas Gerais. The state has benefited from the continuation of administrations under the same political party for almost a decade, which helped strengthen management procedures and internal systems.

After opening remarks by Mr. Antônio Augusto Junho Anastasia, governor of the state of Minas Gerais, the responding panel began with a series of questions and answers. Albert Fishlow, professor emeritus at both the University of California, Berkeley, and Columbia University; Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow for Latin America studies at the Council on Foreign Relations ; Otávio Azevedo CEO of industrial conglomerate Andrade Gutierrez S.A.; and Riordan Roett, professor of political science and director of Western Hemisphere studies at the Johns Hopkins University, took part in the discussion.

INNOVATION PANEL Over the past decade, emerging economies have become fertile sources for creativity and disruptive business models, and the innovation revolution is alive among both start-ups and the 21,500 multinationals currently located in emerging economies. A new report from INSEAD and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Center argues that by developing new business models, “in several revealing cases, Latin American businesses are redefining global business.” This is the case of Minas Gerais, a role model when it comes to innovation and creativity. With a rapidly growing population – currently 20 million people – the state of Minas Gerais has been investing heavily in infrastructure to support both trade and a higher quality of life.

Dorothea Werneck discussed the various developments underway, innovation programs and the public-private partnerships created to fund them. Speakers participating in the debate included Olavo Machado, president of the Federation of Industries of the State of Minas Gerais (FIEMG); Adriana Machado, CEO of General Electric Brazil; Nelson Jamel CFO of Ambev; and Dorothea Werneck, secretary of development for the state of Minas Gerais.

ENERGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE PANEL The subsalt oilfield discoveries could generate considerable wealth, with the potential to transform Brazil’s economy, but to ensure the full development of these subsalt fields, foreign technical expertise and massive investment are required. What are the major tax, regulatory and legal challenges for foreign investors in this industry? What are the central opportunities and challenges of investing in and financing power-generation projects? These were some of the issues raised by panelists.

Michel Di Capua, head of analysis for North America at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, moderated the event. Luiz Fernando Rolla , CFO of CEMIG and John D. Kasarda, Kenan distinguished professor of strategy and entrepreneurship participated in the vibrant question-and answer session.