Note from BW of Brazil: If you’ve been following the economic situation in Brazil for just the past year you know that the country’s fall from near “rock star” status just five years ago has been devastating. With political scandals threatening to unseat the country’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, corruption charges involving lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha and the ongoing so-called “Lava Jato” (Car Wash) investigation of alleged corruption at the country’s oil giant Petrobras and other large companies, Brazil’s economic boom has gone bust.
Just four years ago, the nation was posed to move into the ranks of world power player as its economic surge drove the country’s economy past England and moved into the number six position of the world’s largest economies. Add to that the country being named the host country of 2014 World Cup and the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and the country’s star seemed to be shining brighter and brighter. But oh how things have changed! Who knew that the massacre of Brazil’s National Team in the 2014 World Cup at home would be a sign of more trouble to come?
“On December 16th Fitch became the second of the three big credit-rating agencies to downgrade Brazil’s debt to junk status. Days later Joaquim Levy, the finance minister appointed by the president, Dilma Rousseff, to stabilise the public finances, quit in despair after less than a year in the job. Brazil’s economy is predicted to shrink by 2.5-3% in 2016, not much less than it did in 2015.” – (“Brazil’s fall’ – The Economist, 1/2/2016)
One need only look at the performance of Brazil’s currency, the Real, to get an idea of severity of the crisis. Historically pegged to the American Dollar, the Real has plummeted drastically in recent years. In January of 2014, one Dollar was worth about two Reais and forty centavos (US$1 = BRL $2.40). In January of 2015, a year ago, the exchange rate was about US$1 = BRL$2.64, but then September 2015 saw the Real fall to less than 25% of the value of the Dollar for the first time since October of 2002. Since then its value compared to the Dollar has fluctuated between about R$3.80 and R$4. Yesterday, one US Dollar was worth $4.04 Brazilian Reais. With the inflation rate predicted to rise from 5.3% to 6.2% in 2016, the economic forecast for the country looks gloomy.
But even with all of this doom and gloom, there is a market in Brazil that appears to have weathered the storm, come away unscathed and continues growing. And we’re happy to say it’s a market that we’ve followed throughout our time on the blog-o-sphere. We’re talking about so-called “Afro-Entrepreneurialism”. Check out the good news below.
African-oriented market is growing despite the economic crisis
By Maíra Azevedo
The ‘mercado negro’ (black market) has proven to be quite lucrative. No, the statement does not refer to any illicit practice. It is that the sale of products and services for the Afro-oriented community is among the segments that continue to grow despite the crisis.
“There is a redemption of the meaning of being black. One doesn’t wait anymore for standardization, but the appreciation of differences. Blacks, historically excluded, want to be seen. They consume and are entrepreneurs,” says sociologist Felipe Rocha.
Owner of a swimwear brand for 4 years, Cynthia Paixão, 30, says she is keen to put something on the pieces to reaffirm the identity of black women, whether in the cuts, that appreciate shapes, or in ethnic prints.
The brand has going beautifully and the businesswoman gives credit to the fact of being a product that prioritizes plus size black women. “We can offer a service for which we are realizing dreams, and this adds up. The crisis ceases to exist for us. We have something innovative, we are making a difference.”
For the economist George Oliveira, because of racism, blacks are used to creating alternatives for survival. “Services and beauty products for blacks are up,” he attests.
Besides being a businesswoman, Cynthia Paixão carries on her head a crown. She was the Deusa do Ébano (Ebony Goddess) of Ilê Aiyê, in 2014, and says that this greatly influenced her choices.
“When I was rainha (queen) of Ilê, I could broaden my vision. I learned how to position myself on a cruel and judgmental society. I was the first gordinha (chubby) candidate and it broke many barriers. Today, I’m a reference for many women and I am happy to represent all,” says the businesswoman.
Bracelets, turbans, earrings, necklaces. If you have something that reaffirms the beauty of being negão (big, black man), then it will be one of the most popular objects of Najara Souza’s store, better known as Najara Black. Her brand – N’Black – became a reference for those seeking to buy accessories and clothing attesting to racial pride.
In addition to this, she does exchanges with black businessmen and women from other states, who use her store to sell their products. The ‘preta’ (black woman), as she likes to be called, is the darling of the moment and dresses various celebrities such as Magary Lord.
Source: A Tarde