Brazil experienced a decade of economic and social progress from 2003-2013 in which over 26 million people were lifted out of poverty and inequality was reduced significantly (the Gini Coefficient has fallen 6% in 2013 to 0.54).The income of the bottom 40% of the population grew on average 6.1% (in real terms) between 2002 and 2012, compared to an 3.5% growth in income of the total population. However the reduction in poverty and inequality shows signs of stagnating since 2013.

GDP growth in Brazil has slowed from 4.5% in 2006-10 to 2.1% over 2011-14 and 0.1% in 2014. Inflation remains high, ending 2014 at 6.4%.

To address the current macro imbalances and revitalize growth, the authorities have formulated primary surplus targets for 2015 and 2016 (at 1.2% and 2% of GDP, respectively), compared with a primary deficit of 0.6% and an overall deficit of 6.7% of GDP in 2014. So far, they have announced measures to reduce entitlements, cut discretionary expenditures and reduce Treasury’s support to public banks and the electricity sector, in order to reduce the fiscal deficit.

The Current Account deficit has widened from 2.1% of GDP in 2011 to 4.2% in 2014 reflecting worsening terms of trade and declining exports of manufactured goods. While the deficit remains largely financed by FDI inflows (2.9% of GDP), portfolio flows have been volatile, highlighting vulnerabilities to capital flow reversals.  Despite the poor economic performance and the pressures on the external sector, there is no immediate threat of an external crisis as Brazil has $360 billion of reserves (about 17% of GDP), and a solid financial sector.

Due to a prolonged drought, there is risk of water and electricity rationing in parts of the country, which would have consequences for economic activity and prices, posing risks to real incomes, especially those of the poor.  

Brazil’s medium-term outlook will depend on the success of the current adjustment and the adoption of further growth-enhancing reforms. To achieve higher growth in the medium-term, raising productivity and competitiveness is the crucial challenge for Brazil. With the growth drivers over the past decade — credit-fuelled consumption, labor expansion and the commodity boom — receding, growth will need to be based on higher investment and gains in productivity.

Brazil experiences extreme regional differences, especially in social indicators such as health, infant mortality and nutrition. The richer South and Southeast regions enjoy much better indicators than the North and Northeast.

Despite the achievements in poverty reduction over the last decade, inequality remains at relatively high levels for a middle income country. After having reached universal coverage in primary education, Brazil is now struggling to improve the quality and outcomes of the system, especially at the basic and secondary levels.

There has been enormous progress in decreasing deforestation of the rain forest and other sensitive biomes, but the country faces important development challenges in combining the benefits of agricultural growth, environmental protection and the sustainable development.

As one of the leading nations on climate negotiations, Brazil has committed voluntarily to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by between 36.1% and 38.9% until 2020 and should achieve this goal early.             

The Bank’s mission is to help Brazil secure long-term sustainable growth, providing development opportunities for its population. Under the Bank's 2012-2015 Partnership Strategy were approved U$ 8.8 billion in new IBRD lending. The key pillars of the strategy are to:

    (i) strengthen public and private investment;

    (ii) improve service delivery to the poor;

    (iii) strengthen regional and territorial development; and

    (iv) support the effective management of natural resources and the environment. The focus of the investments has been for subnational entities (states and large municipalities) and Brazil's Northeast, the country's poorest region.

In April 2015, there were 53 active projects financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) in Brazil, for a total of US$10.2 billion in commitments. Another 62 global environmental projects, carbon finance, and recipient-executed projects were also active, totaling US$129 million in grants.

Social Protection

The World Bank Group’s support focuses on reaching the poorest and achieving higher levels of quality and efficiency in social services. The main goals are to eradicate poverty and share prosperity in the country through the support of Government actions by the World Bank and its branch for the private sector, the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Bank-financed projects include support for the highly effective Bolsa Família conditional cash transfer program that reaches 12.7 million families (or nearly 50 million people). The program is among the most effective social protection programs in the world, having contributed to the reduction of inequality and extreme poverty.

Active projects also include several sustainable rural development projects in the Northeast and many education, water and urban interventions. The Bank has also helped support Brazil’s internationally renowned AIDS program and the Amazon Region Protected Areas Initiative, which helps contain deforestation in the Amazon.

In addition to directly supporting programs in the country, the Bank also produces numerous important research reports, such as the “20 Years of SUS”, and uses its global network to ensure that other countries benefit from Brazil's knowledge in areas where the country is an acknowledged global leader, such as clean energy, tropical agricultural research, conditional cash transfers, AIDS prevention and community-driven development.

In order to disseminate experiences and good practices, the Brazil Learning Initiative for a World Without Poverty (WWP) is part of a global effort to systematically capture knowledge about the implementation and results of government programs – an approach sometimes referred to as the ‘Science of Delivery’ – and disseminate experiences both nationally and internationally. It is a partnership between the World Bank, the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) of the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP), the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) of the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs (SAE) and the Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger (MDS).


The Bank has been very active helping states and municipalities put in place results-oriented management practices. Some examples include:

Natural Resources Management

In few countries is the ecosystem as crucial to development and people's welfare as in Brazil. The country has one-third of the world’s tropical rain forests, twenty percent of the world’s fresh water, and a savanna with the greatest biodiversity in the world, the Cerrado. A significant part of Brazil’s economy relies on the use of natural resources.

However, these resources depend on sustainable use for maximum social and economic benefits, and Brazil is increasingly suffering from extreme climate events, including floods and droughts, that especially jeopardize the livelihoods of the poor and make the country more vulnerable to natural disasters.

The World Bank's support for a sustainable Brazil is directed at improving quality of life through better local services in urban and rural areas, and for efficient management of Brazil’s abundant but fragile natural assets.

Indicators show progress on protection and sustained development of the large biomes, however, sanitation and pollution control are still major challenges.

In Brazil, a set of programs is allowing the country to preserve its rich environment without excluding economic opportunities for the traditional communities living in rich biodiversity areas, including the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program (ARPA) and the Marine Protected Areas – a pioneer initiative that will more than triple the marine area under protection.


The active promotion of gender equality is an essential component of the World Bank's strategy in Brazil, and has expanded considerably since 2010. Gender considerations are included in most projects, by establishing strategic partnerships, as with the women’s caucus in the Brazilian National Parliament -- and by undertaking dedicated research. In Rio de Janeiro, the innovative "Via Lilás Program" allows female users of the Supervia Urban Train System (PPP) to have greater access to basic gender support services. It will pilot the establishment of Women Support Centers, Women Services Kiosks, Child Care Centers, and a permanent public awareness campaign against domestic violence. In more than 14 states WBG projects incorporate gender such as anti-domestic violence actions, promotion of economic inclusion, improvement of health services, and/or reduction of teen pregnancy. 

Brazil’s project portfolio spans several areas of the economy, civil society, and the environment and has had significant positive impacts on the lives of people, including, especially, the most vulnerable.

The Bolsa Família Program has received technical and financial support from the World Bank since the program’s inception in 2003. The program reaches over 12.7 million families — more than 50 million people — a large part of the country’s low income population. It has contributed directly to reductions in poverty and inequality, as well as improvements in health and education indicators, and is also an important platform for other social programs.

In keeping with its commitment to help improve the quality of life of the rural poor, the World Bank supports the Ceará Integrated Water Resource Management Project, which helped complete a canal of over 200 kilometers in Fortaleza, thus ensuring water provision for over 2 million people for 30 years in one of Brazil’s most arid regions.

In the future, the canal will be extended to a nearby port and industrial district, helping create jobs and boosting the state’s growth.

Health and Education

On the health front, several initiatives have made a difference in providing health care access to the neediest, including the Sector-Wide Approach (SWAP) for Parana Multi-sector Development, aimed at upgrading the child and maternal healthcare network, and Integrated Health and Water Management Project that will increase access to clean water and sanitation for the population of 10 municipalities, and help to improve the quality of neonatal health care in 25 hospitals of the Northeastern state of Bahia.

In addition, with World Bank help, Brazil developed one of the most broad-based and efficient strategies in the world to slow the rate of infection and to care for those affected by HIV/AIDS. The program has stabilized the advance of the epidemic through the free distribution of drugs, and educational and awareness campaigns.


The Bank has also been involved in providing assistance for small-scale agriculture and production in innovative ways. These projects empower local communities in the poor Northeast and other regions to make their own investments and manage their own production. A second generation of these projects links small producers to markets, further increasing income and wellbeing.

The World Bank also supports a new generation of projects that focus on local and regional aptitudes for environmentally sustainable income generation. These include the Acre Social and Economic Inclusion and Sustainable Development Project (ProAcre).


In recent years, Brazil has improved its housing and rural electricity programs, as well as its environmental legislation, and has undertaken several climate change initiatives, including a voluntary program to reduce emissions between 36.1% to 38.9% over projected 2020 levels.

The Amazon Region Protected Areas Program – known as the ARPA Program - has contributed directly to reduction of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. It covers 60 million hectares of protected areas and supports the livelihoods of local communities by strengthening value chains of forest-based products. The program also includes activities to harmonize coexistence of small-holders’ plots, forest conservation and large scale agriculture in the Amazonian landscapes. It is estimated that the impact of ARPA alone will prevent emissions of 430 million tons of carbon by 2030. 


Brazil: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments