Breakfast meeting with the Norwegian Ambassador to Brazil, Nils Gunneng

More than 40 members of BNCC were present in a breakfast meeting at NHO premises in Olso. The Norwegian Ambassador to Brazil, Nils Marting Gunneng shared his impressions with the audience regarding the Brazilian economic and political situation. The Head of Global Public Affairs at Norsk Hydro, Gustav Saastad presented the case Barcarena. Also, Chargé de Affaires Silvana Polich had an intervention about the next General Elections, which will take place in October in Brazil.
Gunneng presented his first impressions about Brazil to BNCC and NHO members in February this year. Back then, Brazil was under recession and is currently going through a deep depression. The Brazilian economic recovery is not yet guaranteed. The ambassador explained his overview on interconnected political and economic factors that play a role in the restoration of the country.
A lower income achieved millions of families in the country.  Today the population is power than in 10 years ago, reaching higher levels of inequality. A critical trucker’s strike this year sliced Brazil’s growth and brought a vast consequence to the economy. The inabilities of the current government to make the necessary policy adjustment and October’s election have also contributed to undermining the recovery of the country.

The ambassador presented his perspectives for the next Brazilian general election, which will take place in October. Imprisoned former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has a growing popularity and raised the possibility of Lula’s running could ultimately become the new president.  Brazilian law forbids the candidacy of a corrupt convicted, as is Lula’s case. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro is in second place, and environmentalist Marina Silva is third. Excluding Lula as a candidate, anything can happen, depending on how the 39% votes intentions for Lula will be transferred to his running mate and former mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad, Jair Bolsonaro and Marina Silva.

The ambassador pointed as well the power of social media in the campaign. However, as reminded by him, only 50% of Brazil’s population has regular access to the Internet. TV advertising time will play an essential role in the campaign. Center-right candidate Geraldo Alkmin, who remain stuck behind other candidates, will have more TV advertising time than any other candidate, due to his large coalition.

From the business perspective, the ambassador spotted Norway’s investment in Brazil. According to him, a Norwegian company can bring much more than investments to Brazil. Moreover, know-how, technology, Norwegian companies can potentially contribute with their strong values, such as zero tolerance for corruption, gender equality, security and safety and environmental protection. Plus, Brazilian companies owned by Norwegians also generate taxes to the country, concluded the ambassador.

Katarina Sætersdal (NHO), Haakon Gram-Johannessen (UD),
Minister Silvana Polich (Brazilian Embassy), Ambassador Nils Gunneng
(Norwegian Embassy in Brasilia) and Gustav Saastad (Hydro).

He summarized the Brazilian-Norwegian partnership, and the Amazon Fund achieved progress in reducing deforestation in the rainforest. The Norwegian contributions have supported deforestation monitoring, environmental policy, and sustainable development for indigenous peoples and other inhabitants in the Amazon forest.

The Ambassador gave the floor to the Head of Public Affairs of Norsk Hydro, Gustav Saastad, who presented the main findings of the situation in Hydro’s plant Alunorte in Barcarena, Pará.

At the end of the meeting, Minister Silvana Polich, from the Brazilian Embassy highlighted three crucial points to the Ambassador’s perspective.  Brazil is facing its 7th direct national elections after the fall of the military dictatorship. All of them were legitimate, what shows a maturity of the Brazilian Democracy. The next election will also choose members of the Congress. The new Congress is highly essential to take into consideration because the support of the Congress is fundamental to the job of the president. Regardless of the results of elections, the economy is picking up and Brazil still being a country full of attributes and opportunities.

After the presentations, a Q&A session was open to the audience. Rich discussions took place, with representatives from academia, civil society, public and private sectors.

 Katarina Sætersdal (NHO), Haakon Gram-Johannessen (UD),
Minister Silvana Polich (Brazilian Embassy), Ambassador Nils Gunneng
(Norwegian Embassy in Brasilia) and Gustav Saastad (Hydro).
By Larissa Costa Slottet, BNCC