All American eyes will be on Brazil this weekend for a variety of reasons other than just watching the girls leading the samba troupes at Carnival.
US president Barack Obama will visit Brazil as part of a South America tour this weekend, and it’s true that IT is not the first thing on Obama’s agenda here, but the CEO Forum meeting will include the Chairman of Stefanini IT Solutions, Marco Stefanini. Marco may need to practice his elevator pitch to ensure the IT industry gets heard, as there is going to be a lot of noise in the room.
Obama is looking for a number of things during his visit, but mainly he wants to create jobs and inject some much-needed prosperity back in the US – he needs fast-growing economies such as Brazil to help the US recover from the global economic meltdown of 2008.
With the FIFA World Cup 2014 and Rio Olympics coming in 2016, the USA is hovering around Brazil looking for major construction and infrastructure contracts. Brazil is also on the cusp of becoming one of the world’s leading producers of oil, once the pre-salt reserves start coming on stream and energy stability is at the top of Obama’s agenda.
With the soaring oil price and political uncertainty in the MENA region, who can blame the US for trying to forge closer links with a friendly nation in the Americas that is much more culturally aligned than all the places where they tend to end up fighting wars or engaging in ‘regime change’?
The IT industry in Brazil will find many opportunities in all of this activity. There is technology being developed locally for the energy market that will eventually be sold around the world. And hosting both the World Cup and Olympics in the same country in the same decade means that Brazil’s tech firms have immense opportunities to support the infrastructure for these events.
But what can Marco Stefanini say to Obama this weekend?
Forget tariffs, taxes, iPad prices, and everything else that is too complex to talk about at a high-level leaders forum. Just ask Obama to include Brazil within the visa waiver program, so Brazilians can more easily visit the US for tourism and business without the need for embassy visits and endless bureaucracy. Brazil has been on the visa waiver roadmap for six years now, surely that’s long enough?
Obama can see how fast the Brazilian economy is growing. He can see how investment from Brazilian firms is helping to create jobs and tax revenue within the US. He must be able to see the advantages of making it easier to travel between Brazil and the US both for business and pleasure.
This would be a simple, but effective measure that helps to stimulate trade. It would make it easier for both American and Brazilian firms to partner on projects together – symbiotically achieving growth.
Will it happen? Let’s see what they announce next week…
Photo by Elliot Scott licensed under Creative Commons