New visitors to Brazil can be excused for thinking that all of the local action is in Rio de Janeiro, and it often comes as a surprise (and possibly a disappointment) to find that you need to spend most of your time in the concrete sprawl of Sao Paulo (pictured above) which is actually the business and financial centre of Brazil's rapidly growing economy.
However, as noted in this week's Economist magazine, Rio or Sao Paulo?, things are changing. Last year Rio received $7.3 billion in foreign direct investment - seven times more than the year before, and more than twice as much as São Paulo, and with planning for the Rio Olympics 2016 now in full swing, Rio is starting to attract new investment, businesses and attention from around the world. There is evidence of this everywhere, from rising rents, hotel prices and the frequency of flights to Rio.
Having been intimately involved in running the business legacy programs for Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008, our initiative Brazil Access knows what transformation can take place in a city as a result of the opportunity to host an Olympic Games. Not just in tourism, infrastructure and new sporting venues, but also in business, investment and trade. The host city has a unique and special opportunity to showcase their own, and the country's, business credentials to the world and, unlike Athens who failed to organise themselves properly for this in 2004, both Sydney and Beijing created new jobs, investment and business from leading players in many different countries. The Olympic sponsors derived the greatest benefit from this.
Rio will be transformed in the next 5 years as they plan, prepare and host the Olympic Games. By 2020, perhaps multi-national companies will even establish their Brazil HQ in Rio?