During Brazil’s boom years the country’s rising economy created a new middle class of gigantic proportions – tens of millions escaping from poverty. Brazil felt confident and even rich enough to bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. But then the economy turned.

In the last two years the country has endured its worst recession on record. Rio de Janeiro – the city that hosted the Olympics – is bankrupt. Many communities don’t have functioning schools or clinics. Corruption is endemic.

David Baker, a regular visitor to Brazil, travels to Rio De Janeiro and São Paulo to find out where it went all wrong for the country, what’s holding it back from being a great economic power and what the wider lessons are for developing countries across the world.


Analysis, 19 June 2017

Producer: Alex Lewis