Port Alegre, also known as “Happy Habour,” is the capital city of the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. It is the eleventh most populated municipality in the country.
Basic information about the city:
In Port Alegre, water service is available to as much as 84% of the city population and 99.9% of the population is served treated water. Currently, only 27% of sewage is treated; however, the city council intends to increase that to 77% by the year 2014. Unlike the majority of Brazilian cities wherein water is supplied by major state companies, in Port Alegre it is the Municipal Department of Water and Sanitation Services (DMAE) that provides the water service.
DMAE is in fact the largest water supplier in the country and enjoys tax-exempt status and operational autonomy. This enables it to keep water prices lower.
Port Alegre was one the first few cities in Brazil to have developed a waste management or recycling program. The city of Port Alegre produces approx. 900 tonnes of household waste each day. This waste is sorted in the recycling units, which are managed by autonomous cooperatives. The organic waste produced is utilized to generate thermal energy and make compost.
Approx. 98% of the city’s population is connected to the power grid. Most of the city’s power (around 94%) is made available through hydroelectric sources. Besides, the largest wind energy park in the country is being set up in the eastern region of Port Alegre. This will add 150 megawatts (MW) to the energy matrix of the country.
The Economy of Port Alegre:
The state of Rio Grande do Sul is one of the fastest growing economies in Brazil and attracts many immigrants from other parts of the country. The city of Port Alegre is perhaps the most important industrial centre of southern Brazil. The GNP of the metropolitan region is approx. $8.1 billion, which is equivalent to the combined GNP of countries such as Uruguay and Paraguay. The per capita income of the Port Alegre is $6,477. This is more than double the per capita income of Brazil ($3,530). Also, around 64% of its economy is service-based and 29% of the economy is industrial sector-based. The service industry encompasses several major sectors including those of health, tourism, education and computers. Prominent industries are those concerned with petrochemicals, automobiles, shoes and assembly of computer components. Owing to the presence of vast pastures in the region, Port Alegre produces a large amount of tobacco and also raises livestock. Also, it accommodates other useful industries including wool, metal-working and foodstuff.
General Motors, Del, Petroleo, Gerdau, RBS and Zaffari are some major businesses located in the region. The city offers employment opportunities in plenty. Among the six major metropolitan areas in Brazil, Port Alegre has the lowest employment rate at around 7%. Also, the region offers skilled and educated manpower.
All these factors play a key role in making the city of Port Alegre an investment-friendly destination.