Brazil hopes to capitalize on the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games to advance its goal of becoming the world’s third largest information technologies and communications market, said an industry senior executive in an interview.
“Today we are the fifth largest market in the world of information technology and communication (ITC), valued at $ 210 billion dollars,” said Antonio Gil, President of the Brazilian Association of Companies (Brasscom).
Brasscom, which includes local and foreign companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Ericsson and Lenovo, is developing a study with global management consulting firm McKinsey on how Brazil can reach third place worldwide, after China and the United States by 2022.
Gil, a former IBM executive, said Brazil’s ITC strengths include its sophisticated financial services, electronic voting and tax systems; as well as, the widespread use of these technologies in energy, agriculture and industry.
In 2010, Brasscom, which works closely with the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology and other government agencies, coordinated the development of a roadmap that identified opportunities for information technology in the two major sporting events.
“Data from this study revealed that these major sporting events will generate investments of about $57 billion, of which 10% will be allocated to information technology, either directly to data and image transmission systems, or indirectly to areas of security, health, transportation and infrastructure,” the association pointed out.
“For the Olympics, it is estimated that 36 billion images will be sent from Rio [de Janeiro] to the rest of the world”, illustrated Gil.
“Today, Brazil has 250 million cellular phones, more than the population (of 191 million). But they are expensive due to high taxes, equivalent to 45% of the total price. Imagine if such taxes could be lowered by half,” he added.
This month, the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology announced a $250 million dollar program to promote initiatives in the software and information technology industry, in an attempt to reduce the gap with developed countries.
The goal is to train 50,000 new professionals by 2014, and 900,000 by 2022, all of whom will be added to the current 1.2 million professionals in the sector.
The government also recently launched a $2 billion dollar program called “Science without Borders,” which will award 75,000 scholarships to Brazilian students over the next four years so they can attend prestigious foreign universities.
Information technology currently represents around 4.5% of Brazil’s gross domestic product, a figure that should increase by 6.6% in 2022, according to Brasscom.
The country has 74 technology parks, located mainly in the richest regions of the south and southeast, according to the Brazilian Association of Developing Entities of Innovative Entrepreneurship (Anprotec).