The BRICS Report

BRICS – Brazil


Countries in the Americas, Oceania and Africa could stand to lose billions in tourism income due to Zika, the virus that causes deformities in newborns. There are currently 30 countries in the world with active transmission of the disease, which is spread through Aedes mosquitoes. Among them are Mexico and Brazil. Brazil, which is due to host the Olympics this summer, had the second highest income from tourism, with more than $7billion in the same year. Although there is currently no official statistics about how Zika is affecting travel numbers, widespread fears about the virus could drastically reduce visitor numbers. Though the Zika virus isn't scaring away Brazil's Carnival revelers and the country's hotels are reporting higher bookings than last year. Over 1 million tourists are expected to come to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival. Brazil is signing an agreement with the University of Texas to develop a vaccine against the Zika virus, the country's health minister said on Feb. 11, adding the goal is for the vaccine to be ready for clinical testing within 12 months.   Growth expectations for South Africa have tumbled in recent weeks as the government struggles with growing budget and trade gaps. Brazil walked a similar path a couple of years ago – but can South Africa draw any lessons from that spectacular fall? Economists nearly halved their 2016 GDP growth forecasts in January alone to a median 0.9 percent, from 1.6 percent in December. Such a souring in expectations is extraordinarily fast according to Reuters Polls data, which usually show incremental change over such a short period of time.   Brazil’s school feeding program first started in 1954 to address child hunger and improve school attendance. “At the beginning it was about a matter of feeding kids to go to school,” says Eduardo Manyari, an international adviser to the National School Feeding Program. “Some of them were very hungry. Through this action, they attended school more often.” Back then, the program was targeted to only the poorest parts of the country. In 2003, it was made a part of the national Zero Hunger Program to reduce hunger and ensure food security. At the time it was estimated that 44 million people, or 28 percent of the total population of Brazil, made less than $1 a day. But as the Zero Hunger Program brought down levels of poverty and hunger, overweight and obesity-related health problems began to rise.

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