Marvin Uehara is a current participant of the 2009 – 2010 Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) at the East-West Center. Marvin is part of the Generation Nine of the APLP (also known as G9), where 21 countries are being represented. If you’re interested in submitting an article for the EWCA Blog, please contact our Alumni Assistant.
Brazil Heading to the Twenty-First Century
By Marvin Uehara (APLP 09-10)
Acre is the Brazilian state located closest to the Pacific ocean. 1.900 kilometers separate this state to the south part of Peru. Indian faces are everywhere. They can be seen in rural and urban areas. 50 percent of Acre population live in the capital, Rio Branco. There are about 300.000 people living in the largest city of Acre. The story of this state is recent. It became part of Brazilian territory in 1903. Before, it was under Bolivian administration. However, as many Brazilians moved to Acre due to the exploration of rubber, the Brazilian government had successfully reached an agreement with the Bolivian government to make Acre part of Brazil.
The twenty-first century, it has been said, will be the Pacific one. Countries like China and India have had an increasing importance in world affairs. Along with the United States and Japan, they are expected to lead the world to new levels of economic growth. Some obstacles, however, are to be overcome in order to increase the commercial trade in the region. Infrastructure – more precisely, transportation – has become an important issue to be addressed. China, for instance, has invested billions of dollars to improve its infrastructure and make its products more competitive abroad.
The Interoceanic highway linking the Atlantic and the Pacific is expected to be inaugurated in 2011. This highway is a joint effort of Brazil and Peru administrations, and Inter-American Development Bank. The 1.700 kilometers expected to be constructed and paved in Peru have an estimate cost of 1.6 billion dollars. 2.600 direct jobs are being created. The Peruvian stretch is expected to be finished within two years. The high altitudes of the Andes have posed a great challenge to engineers. In 2011,the shipping trade between Brazil and the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be twenty-four hours faster.
The Interoceanic highway will catalyze important transformations in Brazil and Peru. In economic terms, exporters and importers will have faster access to the Pacific. Thus, trade will increase and local economies thrive. The highway will also foster economic integration between Brazil and Peru. Brazilians will import at a lower cost Peruvian products and Peruvians benefit from Brazilian commodities. Tourism is also expected to boom after the highway inauguration. Brazilians, Peruvians, and people all over the world will be even more willing to visit Brazil’s rain forests and the ancient cities of Peru.
Brazil and Peru, therefore, have done a great effort to integrate their economies through physical infrastructure. Under the project of Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), these two economies are expected to foster their economic growth and, eventually, strengthen, explore, and fully participate of the twenty-first century. The Pacific one.