Brazil’s developmental success is of interest to South Africans because Brazil is also a middle-income democracy confronting the challenges of inequality and poverty.
Between 2005 and 2010, Brazil achieved a GDP growth rate of 4, 2 percent, which was accompanied by unemployment falling from 12 to 6 percent.
Between 2000 and 2009 the real per capita income of the poorest 50% grew by 68%. The Brazilian poor experienced Chinese growth rates of 6.8% per year during this period.
While Brazil played to their strengths by exporting their minerals, expanding employment and using land productively, South Africa created barriers in areas of mining and agriculture, which could have played an important role in creating growth and employment.
There are no simple ‘models’ that South Africa can import from Brazil – it is a completely different country that operates at a scale and in an economic and skills context that is completely different from that of South Africa’s.