Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, is also the world's 11th largest economy. However, its relatively recent growth has not been accompanied by the investment needed to modernize its economy. The government in Brasilia is aware of this weakness and is now devoting an increasing share of the country's gross domestic product to research and development, as well as to diversifying its sources of energy. Brazil is also developing its aircraft and space sectors, activities that are a luxury of the richest countries.
Rémy Lestienne, a researcher with the French state research organization (CNRS), describes the extent of Brazil's achievements and its plans in these areas. He highlights the successful results of past investment, in agriculture and above all in energy, since Brazil appears to have understood the importance of not being dependent on others for energy supplies sooner than many Western countries. Yet much still needs to be done, especially in creating wider access to education and to technology. Brazil must also ensure that its development does not damage the biodiversity of Amazonia. In addition, Rémy Lestienne regrets the fact that the tradition of scientific and technological co-operation between France and Brazil has recently been allowed to lapse - a partnership that both countries would benefit from reviving.