July 26 - As London prepares for the official opening of the Olympic Games, the next host city Rio de Janeiro is looking to use sport to woo investment amid slowing growth in Brazil. Matt Cowan reports.
As London readies for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Games, one building in the city is decidedly ahead of its time. For the next couple of weeks Somerset House is doubling as Casa Brasil, inviting people to look ahead to the 2016 Summer Games which are being staged in Rio de Janeiro. SOUNDBITE: Matt Cowan, Reuters Correspondent, saying (English) "Brazil has been one of the most dynamic emerging market economies in recent years but growth slowed markedly in 2011. With over 1470 days to go to the Rio Olympics the Brazilian contingent here is trying to make the most of its time in London." Nearby, Rio Governor Sergio Cabral is hosting a lunch for some of Britain's top business leaders. With Rio also scheduled to host the World Cup in 2014 he says sport will be a catalyst to help kickstart growth. SOUNDBITE: Sergio Cabral, Rio de Janeiro Governor saying (English) "Look at London. London enjoyed the opportunity to give the city a wonderful legacy in the East End. We have many East Ends. We have many places in Rio and need to give a wonderful legacy. Mobility. Sanitation.Water. Houses. Environment. Education. Sports. Then we have enjoyed this calendar. World Cup. Confederation Cup. Mainly, the Olympic Games to give for our population a wonderful legacy." Martin Sorrell, CEO of the world's largest advertising firm WPP says he's still bullish on Latin America, with Brazil leading the way. SOUNDBITE: Martin Sorrell, WPP CEO, saying (English): "There will be bumps. It can't carry on forever at that rate. There has to be a moderation but basically our business in Brazil this year has not slowed. We're heavily dependent on consumerism and the consumer and this massive influx of people into the middle and lower middle class in Brazil which some people estimate at 40 to 50 million which is so large it has an overpowering effect certainly in the short to medium term on conumption." Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff is also in London picking up tips ahead of the 2016 games. SOUNDBITE: Matt Cowan, Reuters Correspondent, saying (English): "How prepared is Rio for the Oympics because I know you said the airport is like a third rate bus station." SOUNDBITE: Sergio Cabral, Rio de Janeiro Governor saying (English) (Laughs) "I told that here in 2008 when I did the Lloyds annual dinner. But it's changed. President Dilma (Rousseff). She did, the federal government did the bid for Sao Paulo's airport, Campina's airport, Brazilia's airport. Rio is the next flight." There is much to do, but he says, Rio will be ready when the Olympians touch down in four years time. Matt Cowan, Reuters.