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A few months ago I started doing the occasional piece for an Indian blog called Mahindra Rise.

To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to what it was. The editor was the son of a friend and I was happy to write stories for him.

The important thing was that the subject matter interested me, writing about people or products or anything else loosely related to the term Rise.

I took it as a way to write about worthy issues in Brazil that would be a hard sell elsewhere.

I’ve done three pieces for them so far. The third came out last week and is about Valdenor Freitas, a lovely little guy who has built up a nice business for himself on the outskirts of São Paulo.

Freitas (pictured, right) is a hard worker but without small loans he wouldn’t have been able to build up his café-bar business and then open a small supermarket.

I got an email this morning telling me that the Mahindra Rise just won the Best Blog of the year award at the Web Advertising and Technology Awards ceremony, which aims to “recognize and felicitate agencies and professionals who have achieved ground breaking work in the Indian digital space.”

So congratulations to them and all the RISE writers. Follow RISE on twitter at @ MahindraRise.

If you have any interesting suggestions for blog topics in Brazil, please drop me a line. Contact information is above.


I just wrote a piece in the Christian Science Monitor about who Brazil, and the developed world, would like to see as the new head of the International Monetary Fund.

My main interview was with Oliver Stuenkel, an assistant professor in International Affairs at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas, a leading Brazilian business school (visit his blog here).

The piece was short and there wasn’t a lot of space for analysis but Stuenkel’s points were so interesting that I’m going to reproduce a few more of them here.

Stuenkel, who is half German and half American but lives in Brazil, made two main observations. One was that while the emerging nations talk a lot about a new world order there are still national rivalries at play and those rivalries, along with a lack of organisation, is a hinderance to any consensus candidate from the developing world.

“There is a lot of tension between the BRICs and it is an illusion to say they can get together and pick a candidate amongst themselves as they are rivals. This episode shows the limitations of the alliance that Brazil is seeking to develop with India and China in the emerging world. It would have been a beautiful moment to say this is our BRIC candidate.”

When asked why Brazil hasn’t thrown its weight behind Mexican candidate Augustín Carstens, Stuenkel said:

“Mexico is a potential rival. (Brazil) is thinking, Mexico didn’t support us when we wanted to get a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. There is national interest and at the same time let’s make the world order more democratic. The whole emerging power rhetoric crumbles when push comes to shove.”

Stuenkel also pointed out that their inability to produce a convincing name puts pressure on the emerging powers to come up with a consensus candidate when the World Bank elects a new head next year.

“The emerging powers are going to scramble like crazy to get a non-American head for the World Bank. They need to get their act together because the established powers are a lot better organised. The task for the emerging powers is to agree on a candidate for next year.”

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