Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: Brazil is building economic strength by lifting millions out of poverty

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I have lately seen many international publications say that Brazil is fashionable nowadays. Allow me to say that, although that is a kind expression, it is not appropriate. Fashions are fleeting, ephemeral things. Brazil wishes to be and will be a permanent player in the new world scene. Brazil, however, does not wish to be a new force in an old world. The Brazilian voice wants to announce, loud and clear, that a new world can be built.

Brazil wishes to aid in the construction of this new world, which, we all know, is not only possible but dramatically necessary, as the recent international financial crisis made clear even to those who do not appreciate change....

Today, the world looks upon Brazil under a very different light than that of seven years ago, when I first came to Davos. Back then, we felt the world had more doubts than hopes for us. The world feared for our future, for it did not know which way Brazil would be steered under the leadership of a worker, lacking higher education, politically born out of the leftist labour unions....

Seven years later, I can look each one of you in the eye – more than that, I can look my own people in the eye – and say that Brazil, in spite of all the hardship, has played its role. We have kept our promise. In this period, 31 million Brazilians have moved into the middle class and 20 million have been lifted out of absolute poverty. We have paid off our external debt and today, instead of IMF debtors, we are its creditors....

The fact is that Brazil has not only lived up to the challenge of providing economic growth and social inclusion, but it has also shown the sceptics that fighting poverty is the best development policy....

To bring the weak and the needy into the economy was not only morally correct. It was also politically indispensable and economically sound. Because if a mother and a father want to put the place in order, they need to look after all their children, to stop the strong from depriving the weaker, and to prevent the weak from accepting submission and injustice. A household will not be strong unless all take part in it. For that reason we invested in the enlargement of the internal market and in making the most of our strengths. Today, there is more of Brazil for Brazilians....

Taken from an address delivered on behalf of the Brazilian president at the World Economic Forum in Davos

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