Andréa Novais

Andréa Novais

The Brazil Business


7 Largest Investment Projects in Brazil

Andréa Novais

Andréa Novais

The Brazil Business


Brazil has received lots of foreign investments over the last ten years and has also invested in several aspects of the Brazilian economy and infrastructure in order to prepare the country for the sports events it is about to host. Learn in this article what are the largest investment projects taking place in Brazil.

1. Investments Made by PAC

PAC is the acronym for “Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento”, which is a set of initiatives to promote the socioeconomic growth of Brazil. As the projects are many, it would be impossible to set the costs for all of them, so I will only mention what they are about.

The following initiatives are a brief description of all the ongoing projects supported by PAC in Brazil:

  • Extension of the water and electricity services to the whole population: most related to water in urban areas (128 of them) and the remaining two are related to electricity.
  • Transportation: related to the construction of highways, equipment for back roads and the construction of waterways.
  • Electricity: related to geology and mining; electricity transmission, petroleum and natural gas.
  • Community: related to sports, health, daycare centers and recreation areas.
  • Minha Casa, Minha Vida: housing program with enterprises related to housing funding and urbanization of shanty towns.
  • Cidade Melhor: enterprises related to sanitation and paving.

2. Programa de Investimentos em Logística

“Programa de Investimentos em Logística” is a set of initiatives taken to improve the quality of the logistic services in Brazil. It aims to increase the number of public and private investments in the infrastructure of:

  • Highways and railways: the program aims to duplicate roads, restructure the investment and exploitation model of the railways and to expand and increase the capacity of the railroad.
  • Airports
  • Ports

The total investment is of R$ 133 billion, being BRL 79,5 to be invested over the next five years and BRL 53,5 to be invested in 20 to 25 years. The investment in highways is of BRL 42 billion; for railways, the amount invested is of BRL 91 billion.

Some stages of the road construction will be open for public bidding between December, 2012 and January, 2013; in April, 2013. For railways, the public bidding happens in April and June, 2013.

A major example of how investments in railways are happening is the bullet train that will connect Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo, passing through Campinas, Galeão and Guarulhos airports. The project will auctioned in 2013 and the estimated cost is of BRL 33,3 billion.

3. Petrobrás

Since its discovery, the Pre-Salt layer and its petrochemical resources have played an important role in the Brazilian economy. Its estimated 80 billion oil barrels have been a source of investment for several different areas of the Brazilian economy, from education to sports.

According to Agência Nacional do Petróleo, Gás Natural e Biocombustíveis (ANP), which is the institution responsible for oil, natural gas and biofuel resources in Brazil, pre-salt demands investments that will probably surpass US$ 400 billion in material, equipment, systems and services until 2020.

Petrobrás is one of the world’s fastest-growing energy firms and has recently stated that the investment increase is due to the approval of new projects valued at BRL 63,2 billion. With the investments, Petrobrás estimates to rise from 2.5 million barrels per day to 3.9 million in 2014 and 5.4 million in 2020.

4. Education

Despite several protests from the population demanding that the federal government would invest 10% of the country’s GDP in education, the amount invested still remains 5%. The federal government claims that the international pattern of 7% will only be achieved in Brazil in 2020.

Even with this negative scenario, there had been some initiatives in order to improve the quality of the Brazilian public educational system. Such measure was born from the professional shortage observed especially in areas related to engineering and technology.


Pronatec is an initiative taken by the federal government in a partnership with state instances and has as purpose to offer professionalizing courses. By 2014, the initiative will create 8 million vacancies in several different courses related to logistics, mechanics, occupational safety, mining and chemistry. The total investment is of BRL 460,5 million and was made in October, 2011.

Science Without Borders

The federal initiative “Science Without Borders” aims to promote the expansion and the internationalization of science and technology in Brazil. Science without borders will offer 75 thousand scholarships to students who want to do an internship, so that they can get in touch with more competitive teaching methods.

The fields of study are:

  • Aerospace technology;
  • Biotechnology;
  • Computer science and IT;
  • Engineering and other technological areas;
  • Nanotechnology;
  • Petroleum, gas and mineral coal;

The investments made by Science without borders will surpass BRL 3.2 billion in 2015.

5. Military equipment

The Brazilian military industry – that used to buy military equipment that had been discarded by other countries –, has finally started to receive some investment. For the upcoming 15 years, it is estimated that BRL 30 billion will be spent in order to refit the Armed Forces.

While countries like the US spend 4% of their GDP with their army, Brazil spends 1,5% of the GDP and most of it is spent with staff and not with weapons. The investments include the manufacturing of submarines, tanks, helicopters and cargo planes.

6. Ports

Brazil has got 34 public ports that have received several investments over the last ten years. Private and public investments have been summed up in an effort to modernize the Brazilian ports. Some of these investments are:

  • Dredging: BRL 1,122 billion for concluded or ongoing projects and BRL 1,076 for projects about to be started
  • Investments in the north of Brazil: BRL 274,8 million
  • Investments in the northeast of Brazil: BRL 1,908 billion
  • Investments in the southeast of Brazil: BRL 1,801 billion
  • Investments in the south of Brazil: BRL 935,5 million
  • Private investments: US$: 18,4 billion
  • Investments for the 2014 World Cup: BRL 740,7 million

The Brazilian ports are expected to receive an investment of BRL 30 billion in the next four years to come. According to Antaq (Agência Nacional de Transporters Aquaviários), the Brazilian public ports will receive an investment of BRL 9,5 billion. The remaining BRL 20,5 billion will be used in the construction, expansion and operation of private use terminals.

7. Belo Monte Dam

Belo Monte Dam is a hydroelectric that is being built in Xingu River, Pará state, in the north region of Brazil. It is going to be the third hydroelectric in the world and the largest totally present in Brazilian territory. The total cost of the dam is estimated in BRL 26 billion and it is expected to start operating in 2015.

According to Fiepa (Federação das Indústrias do Pará), the total investment in the project is of BRL 30 billion and BRL 3.2 billion will be destined to environmental constraints. Despite the “apparent” concern of the company in charge of the project, since its beginning the Belo Monte project has faced strong opposition from environmentalists from Brazil and from foreign countries, as well as from some local indigenous communities.

Fiepa also estimates that public and private investments made in Pará state will sum BRL 129, 619 billion between 2012 and 2016.