A short country profile for science and technology
2. General background
Brazil with its population of 186,8 million (UNDP, Human Development Fact Sheet 2007/8) is by far the most populous country in Latin America and represents the second most populated country of the Americas after the USA. Out of this total, 84.2% were urban in 2005. With a total area of 8,511,965 km2 it is the third biggest country of the Americas after Canada and the USA and is more than double the size of the European Union.
Brazil became an independent nation, after three centuries of Portuguese domination, in 1822. Since 1889 is a republic. In 1985, after 50 years of constant intervention in the governance of the country, the military regime of the day peacefully ceded power to democratic institutions. In 1988, the Federal Constitution entered into force.
Brazil is a federative republic with 26 states and 1 federal district. The current President (both Head of State and of Government) since 1 January 2003 is Luiz Ignacio Lula Da Silva, re-elected end October 2006.
The legislative system is based on a bicameral National Congress (Congresso Nacional) composed by a Federal Senate (Senado Federal, 81 seats elected on majority principle: three members from each state and the federal district; they serve eight-year terms, one-third renewal every four years) and a Chamber of Deputies (Camara dos Deputados, 513 seats elected by proportional representation).
The eleven Supreme Federal Tribunal judges are appointed for life by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
The Human Development Indicator in 2005 was 0.8 ranking the country in 70th position out of 177 countries ranked by UNDP in the 2007/8 report, slightly higher than the Latin American average. In terms of building the capacities of women and gender disparity, Brazil figures in position 28. Life expectancy at birth in the period 2000-2005 was estimated at 71.7 years. The Brasilian population is relatively young with a median age of 28.2 years, however, birth rates have been falling to just over replacement (2000-2005). Adult literacy rate (>15 years of age; period 1995-2005) is 88.6%.
Public and private expenditure for health (2004) were 4.8% and 4% of GDP respectively. The percentages of the population using improved sanitation and water sources in 2004 were 75% and 90% respectively.
The internet users in 2005 were estimated to be 150/1000 inhabitants, fixed telephone line subscriptions 230/1000 and mobile telephones 462/1000. Brazil is very rich in natural resources timber and hydropower, uranium and petroleum and platinum, gold, nickel, manganese, iron and bauxite. Its industrial base is diversified and characterised by large and well developed manufacturing, agricultural, mining and service sectors. Brazil's economy is the strongest in Latin America and expanding its presence in world markets. The GDP composition by sector is: agriculture 8.4%, industry 40% and services 51.6%. GDP per capita was estimated at US $ 4,271 in 2005, but 21.5% of the population was below the national poverty line in the period 1990-2004.
Main exports partners in 2005 have been the USA (19.6%), China (7.5%), Argentina (6.9%) and Germany (5.3%). Main imports partners are the USA (19.7%), Germany (8.7%), Argentina (8.2%), China (6.2%) and Nigeria (6.1%).
Brazil accounted for 1.1% of global CO2 emissions in 2004 (331.6 MtCO2) against a share of 2.9% of global population. Per capita emissions increased from 1.4 t in 1990 to 1.8 t in 2004. Deforestation is believed to account for a major part of recent increases of CO2 emissions. Brazilian citizens face major environmental challenges from the severe air pollution in Rio and São Paulo, land and wetland degradation and deforestation in the Amazon basin, with global implications for biodiversity and climate.
A Strategic Partnership Agreement has been signed by Presidents José Socrates (Portugal, for the European Council), Luiz Ignácio Lula da Silva (Brazil) and José Manuel Durão Barroso (European Commission) in Lisbon in July 2007. Under the Strategic Partnership, a Joint Action Plan (JAP) has been developed in consultations between the two sides and has been adopted at the summit in December 2008. It contains a section on science and technology, thus lending additional impetus to cooperation in this area. Read the text of this section here.