$800bn improvments announced

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The Brazilian government has announced plans to build $880bn worth of infrastructure between now and 2016 as the second phase of an economic stimulus programme whose first phase is only half–completed.

The new plan, dubbed the Growth Acceleration Programme 2, or PAC 2, emphasises above all increasing the country's energy production capacity, the construction of homes and necessary improvements for Brazil's role as host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. PAC 2 was presented before some 1, 200 invited guests at an event presided over by president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the woman he hopes will succeed him, presidential chief of staff Dilma Rousseff. Lula and Rousseff rejected accusations from opposition sectors, who said that the announcement merely hides electoral motives and the aim of improving the image of the ruling party presidential hopeful. "PAC 1 and PAC 2 are a commitment by the Brazilian state to the redemption of this country, " Lula said. "Whoever arrives in the presidency will not be able to tear it up and do something else. "However, he recalled that he himself baptised Rousseff as the "mother of PAC" and he added that without "the stubborn determination, perseverance and dedication" of the former guerrilla "perhaps it would not have been possible" to put together those programs. Rousseff emphasised that the new programme includes the construction of 2m homes, which will be added to the 1m scheduled in PAC 1, and these dwellings will contribute to reducing the country's housing deficit by half. Among the many projects included in PAC 2 is also a substantial increase in high–speed rail service that will be built between the cities of Rio and Sao Paulo. Finance Minister Guido Mantega said at the event that PAC 2 will guarantee Brazil sustained economic expansion of around 5% annually, which will put the country "among a half dozen nations with the highest growth rates in the world. "

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