With its rising population, abundant natural resources, and growing presence on the global economic stage, South America is emerging as one of the world’s most important regions. GE has been a part of South America’s economic development for the past century, and at the World Economic Forum on Latin America from April 27-29, the company will present its ideas on the region’s future: what it will do, what it can do, and what it must do to grow as a superpower.
This year’s WEF will be held in Rio De Janeiro, which is apt — after all, Brazil is the undisputed financial powerhouse of the continent, with a gross domestic product of $2.1 trillion. The country has continued to thrive during the recession; in 2010, Brazil’s economy grew 7.5 percent, and is expected to grow at 4 percent this year. The poverty rate has plunged from 20 percent in 2004 to just seven percent in 2009.
This year, business and government leaders will gather to discuss new opportunities for entrepreneurial and technological innovation: expanding trade and transportation infrastructure; promoting environmental sustainability; improving security and addressing crime; and leveraging South America’s unique resources in food, oxygen, and energy. GE has considerable interests in the continent’s development, and the leaders of GE’s Brazil, Latin America health care, and Latin America energy divisions will be attending the conference to look for new opportunities and areas for further growth.
Tomorrow, GE representatives will present a specific edition of their recent Innovation Barometer, which was first presented at Davos this January; GE surveyed one thousand senior business executives around the world, asking them about the opportunities and roadblocks to innovation and economic growth in their particular countries.
Almost all of the respondents answered that the best innovation didn’t just make money – it also addressed key needs of people in each region. For tomorrow’s presentation, GE researchers surveyed 100 Brazilian executives about their specific needs, opportunities, and barriers to growth, and will present the results.
In addition, Reinaldo Garcia, president and CEO of GE Latin America, will sit on a panel on insuring that economic growth includes people from all segments of society, as well as the economic and social barriers to inclusive growth. Other panel participants include Brazilian Development Bank President Luciano Coutinho and Jorge Luiz Numa Abrahão, the president of the Ethos Institute for Business and Social Responsibility.