In Brazil’s ongoing economic and political drama, one of the latest developments is a congressional proposal to freeze federal funds at 2016 levels, adjusting the 2017 national budget only for inflation. This move would mean deep cuts to spending on social programnes.
Though such reductions would affect programmes that launched millions of Brazilians into the middle class and put the developing country on track to meet many of the Millennium Development Goals, the senate seems likely to approve the budget freeze.
For Brazilian cities, this government belt-tightening promises a disquieting change: the possible end of the country’s ambitious slum-upgrading programs. Despite Brazil’s great wealth, many poor neighbourhoods known as favelas (slums or “informal settlements” in urban planning parlance) still struggle with inadequate construction quality, no sanitation, environmental risk factors and lack of the most basic infrastructure.
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