Latin America is a region that is continuing to experience economic success in several industries. Though industries in nations with large economies come to mind – such as Chile, Mexico, or Uruguay – there are smaller, less acknowledged nations that are also experiencing a surge in economic triumph. There are at least two examples of this in lesser known areas within Latin America: Brazil and Bolivia. These nations are two making strides in innovation, leading to several industries having been reinvented or revitalized. TeleSUR TV reports that Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, has formally begun a project that will result in Bolivia’s first electric railroad in Cochabamba, a city currently experiencing a surge in population. The project, known as Tren Ecológico Metropolitano, (or, Ecological Metropolitan Train), will cost nearly $450 million, travel at nearly 50mph, and run for over 20 miles throughout the city. Additionally, twelve electric trains will be built with the capacity of 200-300 people. President Morales also noted that projects such as these are feasible due to Bolivia’s improving economy and continuous growth in Cochabamba, Bolivia’s fourth largest city.
A second monumental project in Latin America has occurred in Brazil. CleanTechnica, an environmental website, reports that Piauí, a city in northeastern Brazil, installed the largest solar farm in Latin America. Displayed above, the solar power plant covers almost 700 hectacres (over 1,700 acres). Additionally, the power plant will generate 600 GWh (gigawatt hours) which will supply electricity for almost 300,000 Brazilians.
The final project displaying Latin America’s innovation, perhaps the most significant, will take place in both Bolivia and Paraguay. EFE reports that Horacio Cartes, the president of Paraguay, (above to the left in the photo) and Evo Morales (above and to the right), signed a memorandum which will allow a study to begin. This study would determine the practicality of a railway being constructed from Robore, Bolivia to Carmelo Peralta, Paraguay, extending some 300 miles. This project’s goal would be completed with the goal of giving Paraguay – a landlocked nation – access to the Pacific Ocean. As a result, two railways, one from Paraguay to Bolivia and another from Bolivia to Peru, will be considered and potentially constructed. Upon the project’s completion, both nations will be connected to the Pacific Ocean.
The impacts of the innovative projects detailed above are plentiful. In the case of Bolivia’s electric railroad project in Cochabamba, creating another method of transportation will assuage some of the demand for existing transportation infrastructure within the city. This may also help the city attract more people, as it may also serve as a focal point or even a tourist destination. Additionally, there is an environmental component associated with this project, as the city will save millions of dollars of energy costs by completing this project instead of purchasing buses. Brazil’s installation of solar panels conveys a similar tone of environmental friendliness. Perhaps more important will be the potential electricity supply for Piauí, which will save millions of dollars and provide a more neutral form of energy. Finally, the Bolivian and Paraguayan railroad proposal is both innovative and noteworthy for several reasons. First, it will provide both landlocked nations access to the Pacific Ocean via Peru, allowing potential import/export deals to include nations that would otherwise be excluded. Moreover, access to the Pacific Ocean will allow Bolivian, Paraguayan, and Peruvian citizens access to job opportunities that also would not exist. This may further solidify diplomatic relationships within these nations, which will only attract more economic interest within this region of Latin America. Finally, this international venture will provide yet another source of transportation connecting these nations.
As more industries in Latin America diversify their economies, more interest will be generated in different, more diverse industries. This has resulted in the three innovate projects having been initiated or terminated, but these projects are not the totality of innovation within the region. Though there are several projects occurring in other nations within the region, these examples illustrate that handling the demands of economic growth can be handled in a sustainable manner.