Currently Brazil is the 8th largest economy in the world (using GDP adjusted by PPP) and it is expected to become the 4th largest by 2050 according to a study presented in 2008 by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. In recent years it has been growing with rates in the region between 5-7% pa. No wonder it has become a regional powerhouse willing to extend its might in the world arena.
As mentioned, Sao Paulo leads the way in the Brazilian growth story. Its economy is far larger than any other Latin Americn country but Mexico (which also hosts many states whose outputs are comparable to other Eastern European).
Rio de Janeiro, the second engine to Brazil, Inc. has topped its former colonnial ruler, Portugal, in terms of economic activity. Even Ethiopia with its 90million strong population has a smaller output that Santa Catarina, on the industrial Brazilian south.
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Of course, all these figures are relative. Poverty and income distribution is still a major challenge in this country even in the big metro areas.