Why Sergipe and Aracaju?
Only a two-hour flight from Rio De Janeiro, Aracaju is the capital of the north-eastern state of Sergipe. It is pleasant all year-round and offers unspoiled beaches and a safe, well-organised, urban space. The city was founded in 1855 and has a population of 600,000 people. It was one of Brazil’s first planned cities and in 2010 was voted the most attractive State Capital in Brazil to live in.
In recent years, the north-east has become Brazil’s star economic performer. In the past decade the region’s GDP rose by 4.2% a year, compared with 3.6% for the country as a whole. (The Economist).
Sergipe’s Growth Story:
The main focus for Government funding in the state is on its roads, highways, bridges and sanitation, as well as in the expansion of Aracaju Airport. Here, a new passenger terminal and four new departure bridges will boost capacity by over 600,000 annually.
Over the past few years, the state government has worked on developing fiscal, land and credit incentives, as a result of which the state has witnessed an increase of businesses establishing themselves or relocating to the area. Growth areas have been the agribusinesses, manufacturing, chemical mining, energy, and oil & gas.
Examples of rapid growth in the Sergipe area include:
- Toy manufacturing: investment of R$10 million by the Estrela Group.
- Shoe manufacturing: Vulcabras/Azalei has expanded its four factories in the state from 40,000 to 60,000 pairs per day.
- Cosmetics/perfumery: the Leite de Rosas factory moved to Sergipe from Rio de Janeiro and witnessed a doubling of production.
- Supermarkets: the GBarbosa supermarket chain now has 27 stores in Sergipe alone and the Bompreco, created by a Sergipe family, has been bought over by Walmart and now has two hypermarkets, four supermarkets and four neighbourhood markets, with further expansion to be expected.
All this economic activity has created a massive demand for housing for the local people as well as for migrants moving into the area.
The City is alive with the possibilities that arise from the construction of the new Steel Mill to the north of the City. Work on the main Aracaju airport is progressing with a vengeance in order to double its capacity and thus facilitate increase in local industry and tourism. The signing of the Government Contract by Dilma Rousseff for the construction of the Steel Mill was instrumental in bringing forward work on this extension.
The State of Sergipe is now part of the consular district of the U.S. Consulate in Recife. In meetings between the U.S. Consul and Sergipe State Governor Marcelo Déda, it has been agreed to renew the partnership between the Sergipe Government and USAID to extend the “Enter Jovem Plus” program, which provides English and employment skills in the State. The U.S.Consul has also talked about potential business partnerships between U.S. and local Brazilian companies, noting that Aracaju has the potential to become a tourism destination for Americans as well as Brazilians.