It’s tough to believe it was so recent. It was only a little over a year ago that Dilma Rousseff had won reelection to serve a second term as President of Brazil. Sure, the economy faced turbulence, but many thought her appointment of Joaquim Levy as Finance Minister was precisely the right choice to address the country’s poor fiscal position.
As we wrote in February 2015, “The direction of economic policy that the second Rousseff administration has taken in its first days in office is encouraging. So are the appointments of highly regarded technocrats such as Finance Minister Joaquim Levy.” But we added a warning, too: “These appointments must be followed by actions and execution.”
Some 14 months later, President Dilma Rousseff has been impeached – her fate now in the hands of a fickle senate. Meanwhile, Joaquim Levy has left the government, his reform incomplete, and his country still facing fiscal distress.
With Brazil engulfed in political gridlock and economic deterioration, I spoke with Dr. Levy, now CFO at the World Bank. In the interview below, we discuss Brazil’s economy at the crossroads.
Enjoy, and check back next week for our full episode, The Crossroads Brazil