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Infrastructure in the Northeast: An Introduction

Photo: AP Images

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On February 8, AS/COA will hold a conference in Recife to discuss opportunities and challenges of infrastructure in Brazil’s northeast. For more information on the agenda and speakers, click here.

Prior to the 2008 global recession, investment opportunities in the northeast focused on tourism. But in the past decade, infrastructure opportunities abound in a region where the GDP growth rate has surpassed the national average. In 2010, Ceará state grew by 7.9 percent, and Pernambuco state grew 9.3 percent. According to a 2011 Nielsen report, Brazil’s northeast would be the thirty-ninth largest economy in the world if it were its own country, with a larger GDP than Chile or New Zealand. Multinational companies that have established themselves in both Ceará and Pernambuco include Fiat, Gerdau, Kraft, Odebrecht, Pepsico, Petrobras, Samsung, and Whirlpool.

Port infrastructure is crucial to the region’s development, particularly the Port of Suape in Pernambuco and the Port of Pecém in Ceará. The Suape complex encompasses 87 square miles, with 100 companies and 30,000 employees. The Port of Pecém exports nearly 50 percent of Brazilian fruit shipments, and exported over 989,000 tons of cargo in 2011. A railway is under construction that would connect both ports to one another, as well as the agricultural heartland of the northeast. During the AS/COA conference, attendees will visit Suape, and AS/COA Online will cover the trip to the port.

Recommended Reading


  • Watch a video by the Pernambuco government about the Suape port. (em português)
  • Watch a video by the Ceará government about the Pecém port. (em português)
  • Watch a 2010 video of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and President Dilma Rousseff inaugurating the first oil tanker built in Brazil in a decade at Suape Port. (em português)
  • See photos from the Port of Suape on Flickr.
  • See photos of transportation projects from Brazil’s Growth Acceleration Program.

Rachel Glickhouse is the editorial associate at AS/COA Online.