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Brazil hopes to power rise on Olympics, World Cup projects

world Updated: Aug 25, 2010 12:43 IST

IANS
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Brazil, the world's eighth largest economy with a GDP of $1.5 trillion, is gearing up to host the football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 - two mega sports events that it hopes will help build the foundations of a "new Brazil" and herald its arrival as a global economic and political power.

Both the events will throw up projects worth $220 billion from 2011 to 2014, according to published reports. An estimated $5.5 billion will be spent on improving transportation in Rio in preparation for the Olympic Games while a high speed bullet train at a cost of $18.7 billion is being developed and is expected to be completed in time for the World Cup.

In March this year, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva launched a $878 billion programme to upgrade Brazil's infrastructure.

Some of the infrastructure projects include the construction of a nuclear power plant, a hydropower plant to be built at $4.1 billion and another hydropower plant at a cost of $3.1 billion.

There are also plans for 11,700 miles(18,720 km) of railroads facilitating improved access to the 12 cities hosting the 2014 World Cup while $43 billion will be spent on commercial and tourism construction in preparation for the event.

About $3 billion will be spent on airport expansion and improvement. Also, historic buildings will be restored and renovation of Rio de Janeiro city will be carried out. The budget for the Games alone will be a mind-boggling $15 billion.

A conference on the infrastructure projects for the two events is being organised here Aug 31-Sep 1.

Brazil has set a scorching economic growth rate and in the first quarter of 2010, the Brazilian GDP grew by a record nine percent and the estimated growth in 2010 is 7.6 percent, the highest in Latin America.

With the discoveries of large new off-shore oil fields, the country is emerging as an important global supplier of petroleum. It is a pioneer in fuel ethanol programme with 90 percent of cars running with flexi fuels of petrol and ethanol.