Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been focusing her energy on restoring investor confidence in Brazil just months after narrowly winning her second term against a market-oriented opponent. But she is now drawing attention for scrapping plans to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, next week, opting instead to go to the swearing-in ceremony of Bolivian President Evo Morales.
Rousseff had not confirmed her attendance at the forum, which takes place Jan. 21-24. According to local reports, she made a late decision Tuesday not to attend the international meeting so that she could travel to La Paz, Bolivia, for Morales’ inauguration as he starts his third term. Newly appointed Finance Minister Joaquim Levy and Alexandre Tombini, the president of Brazil’s central bank, will go to the forum to represent the country.
The president sparked criticism for her decision, with Brazilian weekly magazine Veja commenting that it would have been an “opportune moment” for her to restore investor confidence by attending the Davos meeting, given Brazil’s “worsening economic indicators and external pessimism.” But Brazil’s Estadão newspaper, citing an unnamed presidential aide, said the president was concerned about stoking domestic political turmoil with an overseas trip in the wake of looming legislative elections.
Rousseff has been addressing concerns over Brazil’s economy by taking market-friendly measures in the early weeks of her second presidential term. Her newly appointed economic team, including Levy, was widely seen by the business community as a signal of her commitment to boosting Brazil’s economic growth and credibility. Levy told local reporters Tuesday that he intends to deliver a message at Davos signaling that Brazil “can make necessary changes in macroeconomic policy and microeconomic adjustments” in the wake of its challenges.