Friday, 31 January 2014 09:02

Fernando Luis Schuler, Executive Director, IBMEC Business School


Fernando Luis Schuler, Executive Director, IBMEC Business School

Fernando Luis Schuler of IBMEC Business School believes in strong relations between universities and BRICS. Speaking to innovaBRICS & beyond, Mt Schuler says we will probably talk about BRICS + 11 in the future.

Q: As an academic, what do you think should be done to improve the relations between the BRICS countries?
BRICS is not an entity like the European Union or the NAFTA. I think we are on the verge of times when countries will be more linked with one another. So I believe that we have to establish stronger relations between universities and BRICS. I send my students to United States for instance, to the British universities, to Russia, to South Africa and even to China. They are very interesting markets to explore. We have to break this culture that we have advanced in terms of economics, but not so advanced in terms of knowing each other's cultures.

Q: When you look ahead, what kind of a future do you see for BRICS?
I am not sure if are going to talk about BRICS or BRICS + 11 in the future. I think countries like Mexico, South Korea which are emerging and will be developed countries as well as a lot of Latin American countries such as Chile and Colombia are doing very well. They are even doing a better job then Brazil in terms of increasing economic and micro economic reforms and so on. They are growing and the scale of doing business in the world markets. So I suppose it will have to expand. This is a starting point to think about a block. It is not a G 7, but it may expand with addition of for or five more countries.

Q: So is it safe to say you are optimistic about the future of BRICS?
I am very optimistic about the future of BRICS. But there are a lot of challenges. Some challenges are about political wrongdoings, problem of social inequality in Brazil. I believe that the world is flat, this is what Friedman said. So I am an optimist.

Q: Is Brazil still an attractive country for foreign direct investments?
In Brazil, we have a growing market and a strong middle class, although it is not as strong as the middle class in Europe. We have a middle class that earns something like average of 10 thousand pounds a year. It is a lower middle class. Nevertheless, ten years ago we had 64 million people in this bracket but now we have 118 million people. Families are in debt. So this may not the best moment to think about doing business in Brazil. The best time was ten years ago when it was discovered by investors and the economy was growing rapidly.