Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

World Economic Forum 2019: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says Brazil is open for business

The Brazilian leader said he will fight corruption, reform taxes and improve security

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends the World Economic Forum in Davos. Reuters
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends the World Economic Forum in Davos. Reuters

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro presented to the world "the new Brazil" at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday.

Mr Bolsonaro launched a pitch to investors in the room, saying he will fight corruption and money laundering, improve security and open up the country to investment.

"I admit I am very moved and I do feel very honoured to be in a position to address such a distinguished audience," he said as he opened his speech, before stressing the world's eighth largest economy is open for investment in front of an audience of business and political leaders.

The country's right-wing president said his aim was to put Brazil in the top 50 countries in the world to do business with and argued for the reform of the WTO.

The controversial leader also said he will reduce and simplify taxes, open up the country's economy and reduce corruption in Brazil.

"Brazil's economy is still relatively closed to trade and it is my administration's mission to change that," Mr Bolsonaro said.

Brazil's economy, which was once the fastest growing in the world, has struggled to recover from its deepest recession in decades, but economic forecasts are positive.

In September, the Brazilian central bank predicted 2.4 percent GDP growth, compared to 1.4 percent in 2018.

Mr Bolsonaro said the country will invest heavily in security infrastructure to reignite its tourism industry, stressing the beauty of the Amazon rainforest, encouraging investors to bring their families to see if for themselves.

Much of Mr Bolsonaro's plan for improving security in the country stems from the liberalisation of firearm legislation in a country already awash with guns.

In line with the strong environmental theme running through the conference, Mr Bolsonaro also spoke of the need to preserve the country's natural resources.

"The environment must go hand in hand with development efforts," Mr Bolsonaro said.

"We will work with the world in decarbonising the economy, reducing CO2 emissions and of course preserving the environment," he said.

The Brazilian president was interviewed by Klaus Schwab, the founder and chief executive of the World Economic Forum, who announced Brazil is the location for the Latin American summit next year.

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"This will give an opportunity to see the results of your transformation efforts," he said.

The World Economic Forum in Davos is considered to epitomise the established liberal economic order and many members of Mr Bolsonaro's audience will have social views different to his.

Mr Bolsonaro won election to the Brazilian presidency on a platform of anti-corruption, strict law and order and no-holds-barred rhetoric. His campaign was marred with controversy, making derogatory comments about women, rape victims and homosexuals. He dismissed much of this criticism as "political correctness".

Updated: January 23, 2019 08:21 AM

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