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Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, is home to over 200 million people and hosts the largest rainforest in the world. The country is colorful, the people focus on living in the moment, and no one throws a better party. However, the country is also drowning in crime, political instability, and corruption. This SWOT analysis of Brazil clarifies the major strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats affecting the country today.
Some of the things discussed here may have been briefly touched upon in the previous PEST analysis of Brazil. I give more context and information in this SWOT version. Let’s start with the fun stuff — the strengths.
Strengths: The charms and laughs of the citizens
Brazilians are known to be jokesters — they enjoy telling jokes, being in on jokes, and have no qualms with laughing at themselves. Pranks are such a way of life for Brazilians that years ago, they even voted a clown into Congress. Brazilians love to live in the moment, despite the ongoing troubles caused by politics, the economy, and even each other.
The country is home to diverse music styles, much of which fits into the partying scene. The rhythms and Afro-Brazilian sounds are often accompanied by drums native to Brazil.
Surprisingly, Brazil is one of the leading countries providing and using plastic surgery. The Brazilian butt lift, a surgical procedure involving the transfer of fat from one body part to boost the buttocks, was founded by a Brazilian plastic surgeon. This procedure is popular in other regions in the west now.
It’s not just butt lifts that the country produces — many people get eyelid procedures and breast surgeries too. Because these procedures are so popular, there’s little to zero stigma associated with getting plastic surgery. The cost is much lower than in North American countries too, which makes it a hotspot for medical tourism.
The country also grows many exotic fruits, like the much-favored açai. Now used in foods and beauty products, açai is one of the “hot” health foods all over the world. This is just one of the many produced by Brazil, but many of the other fruits haven’t left the country’s borders.
The Amazon, which accounts for half of the world’s rainforest population, is located within Brazil. The rainforest takes up more than a billion acres of land and is home to a fraction of the world’s bird species as well as more than 30,000 species of plants.
Weaknesses: A high crime rate and warnings to travelers
Despite the lightheartedness of many citizens, Brazil is rather dangerous — especially for traveling foreigners. It’s so bad that governmental sites in home countries (like Canada) warn travelers about the rising crime rates in Brazil, and recommend safety procedures for travelers.
Crime is all over the country, but certain regions like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia are hot spots. In most cases, travelers are victims of petty crimes like pickpocketing and purse snatching. But it’s not unheard of to be mugged at knife or gunpoint.
Rare cases include kidnapping and human trafficking. Because Brazil connects to Colombia and Venezuela, organized crime is easier to pull off.
For North American businessmen and investors, Brazil is a difficult country to branch into. The company exports simple products like ore and food, but only 25 percent of these products are traded to the west.
Rather than trading large amounts to other countries, the Brazilian economy is driven by the domestic market of trading and buying. This self-contained economy benefits the locals, but it also limits growth potential too.
This lack of growth potential isn’t good news since Brazil is a rather expensive country to live in. It’s worse for specific people, like farmers.
Farmers are forced to pay upwards of four times as another business to port their goods. Taxes make growing or maintaining a business a nightmare — it’s not unheard of for companies to spend thousands of hours calculating their taxes each year, as much of the output Brazil collects is from taxes.
Opportunities: A rise in consumer shopping and the secret to better health?
As the IT-sector in Brazil expands, so does user-end spending via technology. Consumers interest in online shopping for fashion, electronics, and computers online is on the rise. Interestingly, Brazilians often purchase through online discount stores similar to Groupon.
The country is now trying to grow new energy and distribution systems. This requires funding towards railroads, airports, roads, and ports. So far, the country has put $450 billion U.S towards the improvements of these systems.
In the future, the country may wish to focus on exporting more of their exotic fruits to other countries. Since açai has blown up in popularity, it’s possible other fruits may elicit the same response from consumers. After all, fruits aren’t just for eating anymore — extracts are often put in hair and skin care products too. People are always searching for the “new thing” to better themselves and Brazil might have it.
Threats: A loss in habitat and frivolous spending
Brazil faces many threats, such as the crime rate and lack of international trade. But one of the biggest issues affecting the land and Brazilian environment is the ecological issues in the Amazon.
Deforestation, as well as illegal poaching and illegal wildlife trade, plague the Amazon. The water is polluted by severe oil spills and the land is slowly degrading from mining. Since the Amazon is so large, it makes it a prime spot for mining and illegal activities, especially when laws are so lax in Brazil.
Because of the growing need for wood and soybeans, many people turn to the forestry of the Amazon. This is the most significant factor as to why deforestation of the Amazon is still prevalent. Unfortunately, over the last 50 years, more than 500,000 square kilometers of the forest has been destroyed.
Some of these issues also stem from the Olympics. Brazil hosted the Olympics in 2016. The water was polluted, trash littered the ground, and tons of money was used to create new infrastructure. Brazilians weren’t happy, as this money could’ve been put towards lowering unemployment rates, crime, and assisting the poor. This event has caused many of the people to lose faith in their government.
SWOT Analysis of Brazil: Conclusion
Brazil is home to festive music, partying, plastic surgery, and jokesters. It’s also the location for skyrocketing crime rates, lax laws, and little international trade. The country faces hardship by the government who uses funds for frivolous activities rather than to the benefit of the people. Brazil has lots of promise, especially in regards to the exporting of fruit, but hasn’t made the step towards these changes.
Image by Ronny K