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REGIONSAMERICAS


THE GOVERNMENT AIMS TO MOBILISE BILLIONS FOR UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO WATER AND SEWAGE BY 2033


Brazil’s$134bn clean-upjob


US firms set to shun big cities


Covid-19 is encouraging US corpo- rations to look at relocating and expanding operations to mid- sized cities and the suburbs at the expense of large urban areas, according to a newsurvey. The study by US-based trade asso-


ciation Site Selectors Guild (SSG) and place marketing firm Development Counsellors International surveyed 50 SSG members. Sixty-four percent of respondents


reported that suburban areas are “likely” or “very likely” to be consid- ered by corporations looking to expand, relocate, or open new facili- ties in the next 12months, and 57% said the same of mid-sized cities. Thirty-one percent sawrural


areas as likely to be considered, while only 10% sawlarge urban areas as likely to attract corporate expansion and relocations. “Everything from physical


Brazil’s water and sewage sector is ripe for private investment


Brazil’s push to achieve universal access to water and sanitation infrastructure through privatisa- tion has not gone unnoticed among investors. “We expect new players to be


interested in the segment as the bill opens the possibility for privatisa- tion with or without new contracts, targets the expansion coverage, with significant investments needed to get there, and fosters a better regula- tory framework,” says Carolina Carneiro, an equity analyst at Credit Suisse covering the utilities sector. Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro


signed a new sanitation bill into law on July 9, which is expected to spur privatisation in the water and sewage sector. The government hopes to attract up to 700bn reais ($134bn) of private investment towards its goal of universal access to sanitation services by 2033. Currently, almost 16%of


Brazilians lack access to clean water, and 46% of sewage in the country goes untreated, a situation that has a significant negative impact on Brazil’s most vulnerable populations. Sergio Segovia, president of


national investment promotion agency Apex-Brasil, said: “These circumstances result, every year, in thousands of sick leaves due to gastrointestinal diseases, hospitalisa-


38


tions, and deaths. It also influences the average household income and rates of school delay. But the new regulatory framework for basic sani- tation will transformthis situation.” The framework sets a target of


99% water coverage and 90% sewage coverage by 2033. In July, Apex-Brasil held a webinar to illustrate how foreign investment can help achieve these targets. It presented new invest- ment opportunities in the sanitation sector, expected to attract 55.1bn reais in investment and expand sani- tation systems to 24.5 million people across eight new concessions to be auctioned by the end of 2021. The largest project, which is


currently the largest infrastructure concession in Brazil, aims to expand sanitation systems to 13.7 million people in the state of Rio de Janeiro, at a cost of 33.6bn reais. It will univer- salise water distribution and sewage collection in 64 of the state’s munici- palities, including all those whose untreated sewage drains into the famously polluted Guanabara Bay. Despite the progress promised by


the new law, challenges remain to universalising access to sanitation. According to Mr Segovia, the busi- ness environment as a whole needs reform, including through a recently initiated tax reformprocess.■ JACKCONWAY


distancing to changing transit preferences has affected the way that corporations view location decisions,” said Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Site Selectors Guild. ■ JACKCONWAY


Argentina settlesdebt


The Argentinian government and its creditors have reached an agreement to restructure $65bn in foreign bonds, ending months of tense negotiations. In May 2020, the country


defaulted on its debt for the ninth time, missing a $503m bond payment and entering into negotiations with creditors. The government had initially


been demanding greater relief than its creditors – which include BlackRock, Ashmore, Fidelity and T Rowe Price – were willing to allow. With a deal agreed, Argentina


has averted the reputational damage associated with hard default. This will save it from the worst effects suffered after its 2001–02 default, which left the country unable to access global capital markets and led to a legal battle that lasted until 2016. ■ JACKCONWAY


www.fDiIntelligence.com August/September 2020


16%


PROPORTIONOFBRAZIL’S POPULATIONLACKING ACCESSTOCLEANWATER


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