26 September 2008

FIFA World Cup 2014 in Manaus

Interview granted to the consulting firm Deloitte for the magazine Mundo Corporativo regarding the preparation of Manaus for the World Cup 2014.

 

- What is the state of Amazonas doing to prepare itself for the World Cup in 2014? Where are the main efforts concentrated?

Amazonas seeks to prepare itself for the future. The World Cup is an event in this future that we seek. We have a series of actions of improvement of management in this direction, amongst which I will point out:

1.       Implementation of ISO 9000 in agencies of the State Government, at a rate of 10 agencies per year.

2.       Professional conscription of managers for positions which require great reliability; searching for better qualifications and experience.

3.       Variable remuneration of managers, initially in Education (we base the remuneration of directors of school off of the results of the school in the ENEM on the previous year, for example), followed by Public Security and Health.

4.       Establishment of quotas of training for state server, with year to year increments.

These efforts of the management already start to show the first fruits, such as the advancement of the state in the ENEM (it was the third largest improvement of grades of 2006 to 2007), in the area of public security (reduction in the number of homicides of 2006 to 2007), in health (reduction in the number of cases of malaria by more than 40% of 2006 to 2007) and in collections (that have practically folded between 2002 and 2007.) These advances prepare the state for imminent challenges, of which include the World Cup.

This increase in collection, which to a large extent had been due to the good performance of the industrial pole region of Manaus and the combat against the evasion of taxes by the Secretaria da Fazenda (tax collecting agency), has been allowing the State plenty of investment in some priority sectors such as sanitation. Manaus was a city cut by several small rivers, on which thousands lived without infrastructure, amongst filth and disease. The project of sanitation and cleanliness of these rivers, that had already changed this aspect of the city, should be concluded in 2012, opening new ways of transport in the city (with streets along the rivers) and providing better living conditions. Also we have important advancements in Science and Technology, with the state investment in the northern region being larger than the investment of the CNPq. The countryside of Amazonas is the poorest area of the state, but today we have 15 a thousand students in the countryside in superior courses through the State University of Amazonas; this is equivalent to almost 1% of the population where today not even 0.5% have had university instruction.

Finally, today we have the assessments of Deloitte in assisting with the crafting of plans that take care of the enormous amount of requirements of FIFA, joining all the efforts of the state in the direction of showing to FIFA, to the Ministry of the Sports, CBF and Brazil as a whole the merit of Manaus as one of the headquarters. Deloitte has the experience acquired in Germany and South Africa and that is being applied in its fullness in Manaus to show with clarity the qualities that Manaus can offer the Cup.

 

- What would be the differential of the state in the dispute with others?

The environmental aspect certainly differentiates us. In 2002, we had deforestation of 1.550 km2; in 2007 it was 753 km2, less than half. It is a tax of 0,05% per year, dramatically better than the rest of Brazil and historically better for our state. We did this by a series of governmental actions with an aim to value the uncut forest, which ranges from the establishing of minimum prices for sustainable products (such as rubber, oil of andiroba and copaíba, amongst others) to the payment of the Bolsa Floresta for families in the countryside where there can be no identified deforestation by satellite. The state has a clear strategy of saying “no” to the growth of some economic segments as cattle, soy and sugarcane. We have the conception that strategy requires saying “no” to potential segments to focus on what we want to be: a state of tourism, clean industry and energy, environmental services, use of natural resources with technology and sustainability, and with a strong economy of services.

Moreover, we have in Manaus the economic strength of the state, with the third highest per capita GDP amongst Brazilian capitals, and with low indices of crime. It is a cosmopolitan city, with direct flights to five countries (U.S.A., Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador), with reputable festivals (of Jazz, Cinema, Opera and Theater beyond the Boi-Bumba in Parintins) and enormous cultural diversity (from the Japanese, to the people from the state of Ceará of the Rubber Battle, to aboriginal peoples, to the English, Arabs and Jews of the rubber circle, amongst many other peoples.)

 

- Some specialists affirm that one of the main questions is to plan the after-Cup, that is to say, to make sure that investments made in infrastructure are economically viable - for companies and governments - and used to benefit the population. In the case of Amazonas, what is the best way to carry out this task? How can or must this be done? Do you remember any positive example, in Brazil or internationally?

Some of the investments we will need to execute will have long lasting impacts, such as a possible surface metro system. Other investments are directed to back the event, such as the designing of the Stadium and complex, with public areas for entertainment. The requisites of FIFA make many demands that, if to think properly, we would eventually have to make regardless, then one of the important impacts is speeding up the implementation of improvements and, why not, of the future. Our focus today, 6 years before the Cup, is in the investments that are independent from the Cup, but that are essential for its execution. Today, we are working with the team of Deloitte to identify other investments we can pursue in such a way to meet the requirements of the FIFA as well as improve the living conditions in Amazonas.

__________

Denis Benchimol Minev is the Secretary of Planning and Economic Development of Amazonas since 2007. He is a graduate of Economics from Stanford University, with a Master’s Degree in International Studies and a MBA from Wharton School. He previously worked as a Financial Analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co. from 1999 to 2001 and as a Financial Manager of a local group from 2003 to 2006.

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