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Brazil

   Introduction   Geography   People   Government   Economy   Communications   Transportation   Military   Transnational Issues  

 
 
Brazil    Introduction Top of Page
Background: Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil has overcome more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of the country to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of the interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, Brazil became Latin America's leading economic power by the 1970s. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem.
Brazil    Geography Top of Page
Location: Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean
Geographic coordinates: 10 00 S, 55 00 W
Map references: South America
Area: total:  8,511,965 sq km

land:  8,456,510 sq km

water:  55,455 sq km

note:  includes Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than the US
Land boundaries: total:  14,691 km

border countries:  Argentina 1,224 km, Bolivia 3,400 km, Colombia 1,643 km, French Guiana 673 km, Guyana 1,119 km, Paraguay 1,290 km, Peru 1,560 km, Suriname 597 km, Uruguay 985 km, Venezuela 2,200 km
Coastline: 7,491 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone:  24 NM

continental shelf:  200 NM

exclusive economic zone:  200 NM

territorial sea:  12 NM
Climate: mostly tropical, but temperate in south
Terrain: mostly flat to rolling lowlands in north; some plains, hills, mountains, and narrow coastal belt
Elevation extremes: lowest point:  Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point:  Pico da Neblina 3,014 m
Natural resources: bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber
Land use: arable land:  5%

permanent crops:  1%

permanent pastures:  22%

forests and woodland:  58%

other:  14% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 28,000 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: recurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south
Environment - current issues: deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers the existence of a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities

note:  President CARDOSO in September 1999 signed into force an environmental crime bill which for the first time defines pollution and deforestation as crimes punishable by stiff fines and jail sentences
Environment - international agreements: party to:  Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified:  Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: largest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador
Brazil    People Top of Page
Population: 174,468,575

note:  Brazil took an intercensal count in August 1996 which reported a population of 157,079,573; that figure was about 5% lower than projections by the US Census Bureau, which is close to the implied underenumeration of 4.6% for the 1991 census; estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years:  28.57% (male 25,390,039; female 24,449,902)

15-64 years:  65.98% (male 56,603,895; female 58,507,289)

65 years and over:  5.45% (male 3,857,564; female 5,659,886) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.91% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 18.45 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 9.34 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth:  1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years:  1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years:  0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over:  0.68 male(s)/female

total population:  0.97 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 36.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population:  63.24 years

male:  58.96 years

female:  67.73 years (2001 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.09 children born/woman (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.57% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 540,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 18,000 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun:  Brazilian(s)

adjective:  Brazilian
Ethnic groups: white (includes Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish) 55%, mixed white and black 38%, black 6%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 1%
Religions: Roman Catholic (nominal) 80%
Languages: Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
Literacy: definition:  age 15 and over can read and write

total population:  83.3%

male:  83.3%

female:  83.2% (1995 est.)
Brazil    Government Top of Page
Country name: conventional long form:  Federative Republic of Brazil

conventional short form:  Brazil

local long form:  Republica Federativa do Brasil

local short form:  Brasil
Government type: federative republic
Capital: Brasilia
Administrative divisions: 26 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceara, Distrito Federal*, Espirito Santo, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Paraiba, Parana, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins
Independence: 7 September 1822 (from Portugal)
National holiday: Independence Day, 7 September (1822)
Constitution: 5 October 1988
Legal system: based on Roman codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: voluntary between 16 and 18 years of age and over 70; compulsory over 18 and under 70 years of age
Executive branch: chief of state:  President Fernando Henrique CARDOSO (since 1 January 1995); Vice President Marco MACIEL (since 1 January 1995); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

head of government:  President Fernando Henrique CARDOSO (since 1 January 1995); Vice President Marco MACIEL (since 1 January 1995); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

cabinet:  Cabinet appointed by the president

elections:  president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 4 October 1998 (next to be held NA October 2002)

election results:  Fernando Henrique CARDOSO reelected president; percent of vote - 53%
Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congresso Nacional consists of the Federal Senate or Senado Federal (81 seats; three members from each state or federal district elected according to the principle of majority to serve eight-year terms; one-third elected after a four year period, two-thirds elected after the next four-year period) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara dos Deputados (513 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)

elections:  Federal Senate - last held 4 October 1998 for one-third of Senate (next to be held NA October 2002 for two-thirds of the Senate); Chamber of Deputies - last held 4 October 1998 (next to be held NA October 2002)

election results:  Federal Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PMDB 27, PFL 20, PSDB 16, PT 7, PPB 5, PSB 3, PDT 2, PPS 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PFL 106, PSDB 99, PMDB 82, PPB 60, PT 58, PTB 31, PDT 25, PSB 19, PL 12, PCdoB 7, other 14
Judicial branch: Supreme Federal Tribunal (11 ministers are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate); Higher Tribunal of Justice; Regional Federal Tribunals (judges are appointed for life)
Political parties and leaders: Brazilian Democratic Movement Party or PMDB [Jader BARBALHO, president]; Brazilian Labor Party or PTB [Roberto JEFFERSON]; Brazilian Social Democracy Party or PSDB [Teotonio VILELA Filno]; Brazilian Socialist Party or PSB [Miguel ARRAES, president]; Brazilian Progressive Party or PPB [Paulo Salim MALUF]; Communist Party of Brazil or PCdoB [Sergio Roberto Gomes SOUZA, chairman]; Democratic Labor Party or PDT [Leonel BRIZOLA, president]; Liberal Front Party or PFL [Jorge BORNHAUSEN, president]; Liberal Party or PL [Francisco Teixeira de OLIVEIRA]; Popular Socialist Party or PPS [Ciro GOMEZ, president]; Worker's Party or PT [Jose DIRCEU, president]
Political pressure groups and leaders: left wing of the Catholic Church, Landless Worker's Movement, and labor unions allied to leftist Worker's Party are critical of government's social and economic policies
International organization participation: AfDB, BIS, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-11, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMOP, UNTAET, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador Rubens Antonio BARBOSA

chancery:  3006 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone:  [1] (202) 238-2700

FAX:  [1] (202) 238-2827

consulate(s) general:  Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador Anthony S. HARRINGTON

embassy:  Avenida das Nacoes, Quadra 801, Lote 3, Distrito Federal Cep 70403-900, Brasilia

mailing address:  Unit 3500, APO AA 34030

telephone:  [55] (061) 321-7272

FAX:  [55] (061) 225-9136

consulate(s) general:  Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo

consulate(s):  Recife
Flag description: green with a large yellow diamond in the center bearing a blue celestial globe with 27 white five-pointed stars (one for each state and the Federal District) arranged in the same pattern as the night sky over Brazil; the globe has a white equatorial band with the motto ORDEM E PROGRESSO (Order and Progress)
Brazil    Economy Top of Page
Economy - overview: Possessing large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and is expanding its presence in world markets. In the late eighties and early nineties, high inflation hindered economic activity and investment. "The Real Plan", instituted in the spring of 1994, sought to break inflationary expectations by pegging the real to the US dollar. Inflation was brought down to single digit annual figures, but not fast enough to avoid substantial real exchange rate appreciation during the transition phase of the "Real Plan". This appreciation meant that Brazilian goods were now more expensive relative to goods from other countries, which contributed to large current account deficits. However, no shortage of foreign currency ensued because of the financial community's renewed interest in Brazilian markets as inflation rates stabilized and the debt crisis of the eighties faded from memory. The maintenance of large current account deficits via capital account surpluses became problematic as investors became more risk averse to emerging market exposure as a consequence of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the Russian bond default in August 1998. After crafting a fiscal adjustment program and pledging progress on structural reform, Brazil received a $41.5 billion IMF-led international support program in November 1998. In January 1999, the Brazilian Central Bank announced that the real would no longer be pegged to the US dollar. This devaluation helped moderate the downturn in economic growth in 1999 that investors had expressed concerns about over the summer of 1998. Brazil's debt to GDP ratio for 1999 beat the IMF target and helped reassure investors that Brazil will maintain tight fiscal and monetary policy even with a floating currency. The economy continued to recover in 2000, with inflation remaining in the single digits and expected growth for 2001 of 4.5%. Foreign direct investment set a record of more than $30 billion in 2000.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.13 trillion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.2% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,500 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture:  9%

industry:  29%

services:  62% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line: 17.4% (1990 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%:  1%

highest 10%:  47.6% (1996)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6% (2000)
Labor force: 79 million (1999 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: services 53.2%, agriculture 23.1%, industry 23.7%
Unemployment rate: 7.1% (2000 est.)
Budget: revenues:  $151 billion

expenditures:  $149 billion, including capital expenditures of $36 billion (1998)
Industries: textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, other machinery and equipment
Industrial production growth rate: 6.9% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 337.44 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel:  5.28%

hydro:  90.66%

nuclear:  1.12%

other:  2.94% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 353.674 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 5 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 39.86 billion kWh

note:  supplied by Paraguay (1999)
Agriculture - products: coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef
Exports: $55.1 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities: manufactures, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee
Exports - partners: US 23%, Argentina 11%, Germany 5%, Netherlands 5%, Japan 5% (1999)
Imports: $55.8 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemical products, oil, electricity
Imports - partners: US 24%, Argentina 12%, Germany 10%, Japan 5%, Italy 5% (1999)
Debt - external: $232 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient: NA
Currency: real (BRL)
Currency code: BRL
Exchange rates: reals per US dollar - 1.954 (January 2001), 1.830 (2000), 1.815 (1999), 1.161 (1998), 1.078 (1997), 1.005 (1996)

note:  from October 1994 through 14 January 1999, the official rate was determined by a managed float; since 15 January 1999, the official rate floats independently with respect to the US dollar
Fiscal year: calendar year
Brazil    Communications Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use: 17.039 million (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 4.4 million (1997)
Telephone system: general assessment:  good working system

domestic:  extensive microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system with 64 earth stations

international:  3 coaxial submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region east), connected by microwave relay system to MERCOSUR Brazilsat B3 satellite earth station
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1,365, FM 296, shortwave 161 (of which 91 are collocated with AM stations) (1999)
Radios: 71 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 138 (1997)
Televisions: 36.5 million (1997)
Internet country code: .br
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 50 (2000)
Internet users: 8.65 million (2000)
Brazil    Transportation Top of Page
Railways: total:  30,539 km (2,129 km electrified); note - excludes urban rail

broad gauge:  5,679 km 1.600-m gauge (1199 km electrified)

standard gauge:  194 km 1.440-m gauge

narrow gauge:  24,666 km 1.000-m gauge (930 km electrified)

dual gauge:  336 km 1.000-m and 1.600-m gauges (three rails) (1999 est.)
Highways: total:  1.98 million km

paved:  184,140 km

unpaved:  1,795,860 km (1996)
Waterways: 50,000 km
Pipelines: crude oil 2,980 km; petroleum products 4,762 km; natural gas 4,246 km (1998)
Ports and harbors: Belem, Fortaleza, Ilheus, Imbituba, Manaus, Paranagua, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande, Salvador, Santos, Vitoria
Merchant marine: total:  171 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 3,788,999 GRT/6,067,314 DWT

ships by type:  bulk 33, cargo 26, chemical tanker 5, combination ore/oil 9, container 12, liquefied gas 11, multi-functional large-load carrier 1, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 56, roll on/roll off 12, short-sea passenger 1 (2000 est.)
Airports: 3,264 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total:  570

over 3,047 m:  5

2,438 to 3,047 m:  21

1,524 to 2,437 m:  141

914 to 1,523 m:  370

under 914 m:  33 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total:  2,694

1,524 to 2,437 m:  68

914 to 1,523 m:  1,279

under 914 m:  1,347 (2000 est.)
Brazil    Military Top of Page
Military branches: Brazilian Army, Brazilian Navy (includes naval air and marines), Brazilian Air Force, Federal Police (paramilitary)
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49:  48,298,486 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49:  32,388,786 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males:  1,762,740 (2001 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $13.408 billion (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.9% (FY99)
Brazil    Transnational Issues Top of Page
Disputes - international: none
Illicit drugs: limited illicit producer of cannabis, minor coca cultivation in the Amazon region, mostly used for domestic consumption; government has a large-scale eradication program to control cannabis; important transshipment country for Bolivian, Colombian, and Peruvian cocaine headed for the US and Europe; also used by traffickers as a way station for narcotics air transshipments between Peru and Colombia; upsurge in drug-related violence and weapons smuggling; important market for Bolivian, Peruvian, and Colombian cocaine

 

Source of Information: CIA - The World Factbook 2001