Since the end of July, the eyes of the world have been on the UK as London hosts the Olympic Games. Medals may be the highlight, but the Games have showcased many other aspects of Britain, from the scenic setting of sailing events on England’s south coast to the opening ceremony’s celebration of the country’s history and culture.
After the closing ceremony on 12 August, attention will shift to Brazil. The South American giant will host the next Olympics in 2016. And two years before that it will host football’s World Cup in 2014.
These events are set to raise the profile of a country already in the ascendant. Its economy has been growing at more than 4 per cent a year over the past decade and the value of the real rose from $0.38 to $0.54 between 2004 and 2011.
Despite its distance, the Middle East is paying close attention to the rise of Brazil and is becoming more closely tied to it economically. Brasilia’s exports to the region grew from $1.13bn in 2008 to $2.46bn in 2011. Brazilian resources giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (Vale) last year opened a $1.36bn production and distribution centre for iron pellets in the Industrial Port of Sohar in Oman, and Dubai Aluminium has partnered with a Vale subsidiary in an alumina factory in Brazil.
In 2022, Qatar will also host the World Cup, and it stands to learn from the South Americans’ handling of issues such as a need for rapid infrastructure development and how to maximise the legacy of sporting events.
Qatar missed out in its bid to host the Olympics in 2020, but both Doha and Dubai hope at some point to stage the world’s greatest sporting event. Through trade, industry and sport, the ties between the Middle East and Latin America’s largest economy will continue to grow in the decade ahead.