BRAZILIAN BILLIONAIRE TO U.S.:
WAKE UP! WE�RE NOT WHO YOU
THINK WE ARE � �60 MINUTES� SUNDAY
Brazil Created 1.5 Million Jobs This Year, is Growing Three Times Faster
Than the U.S. and is Poised to Become the World�s Fifth Largest Economy
As the U.S. and most of the world�s countries limp along after the crippling recession, Brazil is off and running with jobs, industry, and resources -- a fact one of the country�s 13 billionaires says is unknown to Americans. Steve Kroft reports from Brazil for a 60 MINUTES story on the emerging world economic power on Sunday, Dec. 12 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
The land Americans associate with samba dancing, Carnival and Rio de Janeiro also has the biggest cattle business in the world and is the largest exporter of iron ore, as well as orange juice, sugar, coffee, tobacco, beef and chicken. At seven percent a year, its economic growth rate is three times that of the U.S. Brazil is the biggest economy by far in South America, a fact few Americans appreciate says Eike Batista, the richest man in Brazil with a net worth of $27 billion.
�GDP-wise, we are bigger than all of the other [South American] countries together,� says Batista, a business tycoon with interests in energy, transportation and mining. �In the last 16 years, Brazil has put its act together. This [is] it. Hello! Time for Americans to wake up,� he tells Kroft. Batista wants more Americans to invest in his country and see it for what it is. �[Americans] think Buenos Aires is the capital of Brazil�they mix us with other countries around South America,� he says.
Right now, Brazil needs Americans because there are not enough skilled workers. �In my oil company, I�m importing Americans to weld our platforms�there�s a lack of welders,� says Batista. We are walking into a phase of almost full employment. It�s unbelievable. Already we have created this year 1.5 million jobs,� he says. Watch an excerpt.
The country�s economy is poised to pass France and Britain and become the fifth largest in the world.
Brazil will be getting its close-up on the world stage soon, as the country was recently named host of the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympics. To get ready, the government has made an effort to clean up its drug-infested, lawless slums known as favelas. Says Batista, �Not only have the police occupied it, they are bringing schools, hospitals�I myself did not believe this three years ago,� he says. �There is a solution�for the slums all over Brazil.�
Batista wants Americans to know something else. The largest oil discovery of the past 35 years was made off the coast of Brazil. �This oil story is a trillion-dollar story, right here in front of us,� says Batista.