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Brazil pledges over 2 billion U.S. dollars for Rio's development
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10:25, July 03, 2007

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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva pledged a total of 2.03 billion U.S. dollars Monday to boost the development of Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil's Chief of Staff Dilma Rousseff on Monday announced the investment, made under the Program for the Acceleration of Growth (PAC), designed by the federal government to promote social and economic development in the country.

Among other projects, the investments will target the clean-up of the Guanabara and Sepetiba bays and the Paraiba do Sul River, as well as the urbanization of favelas (slums) in the northern and southern areas of the capital.

Rousseff said the projects are "crucial" for the improvement of income distribution in the country, as they are aimed at extending the infrastructure already available to the wealthiest regions of the state to the most impoverished ones.

Of the total investment of 2.03 billion dollars, which will benefit 2 million families, 1.7 billion will come from the federal government, she added.

The state government will provide 212 million dollars for the projects, while the government of the 15 municipalities involved will be in charge of the remaining 124.6 million dollars.

Lula said on Monday that his government is committed to fighting organized crime, which uses communities like Rio's favelas as headquarters.

He stressed that the only way to defeat crime is to construct infrastructure in the poorest places in Brazil.

Last week, 19 people were killed in confrontations between police and drug dealers in Rio's Complexo do Alemao, one of the favelas targeted by the PAC. The program earmarks a 1.4-billion-dollar investment in improving living conditions in those communities.

"If the State does not play its role, crime and the traffic of drugs will," said the president.

Source: Xinhua

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