The large-scale infrastructure program undertaken under the presidency of Lula de Silva show great strides towards to improve Brazil.
The PAC in Practice
The Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) is an innovative approach to improving the lives of the most disadvantaged- those living in favelas. Rather than using the improvement of the favelas’ environment as one aspect of a larger social program, the usually modest infrastructural projects involved in rebuilding the slum communities are intended to be the catalysts for social change. They aim to reverse the social patterns of exclusion that hinder already poor favelados (those who live in favelas) from getting jobs, receiving mail, applying for credit or using commercial delivery services. In Rio de Janeiro, the work of the PAC in favelas such as Rocinha and Complexo do Alemão, occupies a high-profile spot in the Brazilian media. Favelados are employed as workers on the projects that improve their own living spaces, and thus the projects aim to temporarily address unemployment along with the instability of favela construction.
In August 2007, Lula announced an initial investment of US$4.2 billion in the PAC and an array of infrastructural projects to be budgeted in such areas as sanitation, water, sewage, and electricity, as well as road and housing construction, in order to improve the conditions of some of Brazil’s largest favelas. On May 7, 2008, Casa Civil minister Dilma Rousseff, a leading advisor to Lula and potential presidential candidate, announced that US$1.3 billion of the budget allotted for the PAC this year had already been spent. This level of government funding for projects that respond to the problems of the favelas is unprecedented. These numbers alone, however, do not speak to the quality of project implementation, which could be of equal if not greater importance. Thus, aggressive oversight must be maintained. With that in mind, it would be wise for more attention to be paid to the social aspect of the PAC and its projects and whether its social justice aims are successfully being attained.
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