While Americans fret about India and China, the country that is really making waves is Brazil.  Once subjected to outrageous spikes in inflation as well as devastating poverty, Brazil has turned a corner with its spectacular economic growth.

The boom is affecting regions that had long been economic backwaters.  One state experiencing rapid growth is Bahia, along with its namesake capital, Salvador da Bahia.  Once a poor laggard compared to the industrial regions surrounding Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Porto Alegre, Bahia has rates of growth that would leave most U.S. states envious.  Agricultural commodities, new seaport facilities, and the promise of offshore oil--not to mention sugarcane ethanol--have led economic growth to reach an annual rate of 7.5 percent.

As Matthew Cowley of the Wall Street Journal explains, growing exports and programs like Bolsa Familia, a largely successful social welfare program, have spurred Bahia’s economy to perform as well as the entire country taken as a whole.

Not everything is perfect in Bahia (as Daniela Mercury, Brazil’s leading music star, demonstrates with her advocacy).  Poverty is still rampant in isolated areas, environmental stewardship is a concern with farming’s rise in the cerrado, and export-driven economies are subject to risk when the exporting nation’s currency is too strong.

But as I repeat over and over again, Brazil is a political and economic force to be reckoned with.  If a rising tide truly raises all boats, many of us had better start studying Portuguese and jump on board--the future is in Latin America’s largest economy.

Photo: a view Salvador da Bahia from the port, February 2010 (click to expand).

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.