Infrastructure and Investment Committee gets renewed

Throughout 2022, the group structured the guidelines that will guide its activities in 2023 and beyond

By Sérgio Siscaro

Within the mission of the Chamber of Commerce Brazil-Canada (CCBC) to stimulate and strengthen the business environment between Brazilian and Canadian companies, the issues of infrastructure and investment are essential. This fact is demonstrated by the considerable presence of Canadian companies in activities such as energy, basic sanitation and civil engineering, among others; or the participation of important investors from that country in various sectors of the national economy. Considering this reality, CCBC’s Investment and Infrastructure Committee (IIC) has the important role of contributing to the feasibility of business between the two countries – providing a space for companies from both countries to interact and exchange information on relevant topics, including technology and innovation, business opportunities and trends.

The IIC’s journey had several milestones throughout 2022. The year was characterized as a time of transition in the political sphere, due to elections; therefore, the definition of major infrastructure projects was put on hold, awaiting a clearer definition from the governments that will take office in early 2023.

In this scenario, the Commission took the opportunity to restructure itself, increasing its relevance within CCBC and preparing a new institutional design, presented in October to the Board of Directors of the Chamber. This proposal, already approved by the entity, makes the group more proactive – bringing in specialists from various areas of infrastructure and investment, with practical experience in these areas, to actively contribute to the Commission’s work. Finally, in December, the IIC presented to CCBC its plan for 2023.

“We spent part of October making contacts with the future coordinators of the subgroups, to align with them the work that will be done. Now, at the end of November, we sent the invitation letters to all the participants who were chosen to be coordinators of the groups, and at the beginning of December we are inviting members and other groups to join the Commission as participants,” says IIC coordinator Marcio Francesquine, adding that there would be a meeting later in December to discuss the schedule of activities proposed for 2023.

2022 in review

One of the highlights of the IIC’s work this year was a webinar in January entitled Energy Crisis, which was followed in the same month by a luncheon discussing the future of the Brazilian power sector. In March it was the Commission’s turn to promote a series of three seminars: Train Maintenance in Canada; The Brazilian Rail Market: Trends and opportunities; and the Canada-Latin America Infrastructure Meeting. Another important event was a joint meeting with the Canadian Consulate General in São Paulo dealing with the green hydrogen market.

“By bringing together six countries, the Canada-Latin America Infrastructure Meeting put the Chamber on the infrastructure map, positioning it as an important partner of the Canadian Consulate in the development of the sector. It was then that it became clear that we needed to create a critical mass within the CCBC in order to have a more relevant IIC,” assesses Francesquine. “Over the course of the year, the events we held were important in the sense that they allowed us to get to know some of the market demands better.”

Besides these events, several meetings were held, with the objective of formalizing the creation of the Commission’s subgroups and planning activities.

Keeping an eye on the future

The IIC’s new design establishes the existence of six sectoral working groups: Rail & Logistics; Energy; Innovation; Investments; Cleantech; and Engineering & Construction. Each of them will have both Brazilian and Canadian companies and organizations as participants. According to Francesquine, this prominent role is just beginning. “On January 15 we should have the first formal meeting of the new IIC in order to discuss our activities in more detail.” According to him, this new structure will pay more attention to the need to have the point of view of industry leaders and influencers in both countries, as well as inviting “anchor companies” to participate in its activities. “The discussion becomes much richer, both from a more specific point of view, from those who are active in the industry, and for those who are not from that segment, and who will better understand its opportunities, challenges, and trends,” he points out. In addition, the Committee’s actions will be more aligned with CCBC’s general strategy, and it will work more closely with the Chamber’s administrative, commercial, and marketing departments, which will actively participate in IIC meetings.

This new Committee structure is especially important at the current moment of political transition in Brazil and the definition of infrastructure projects and investment decisions in the country. “We will have the opportunity to discuss the challenges of each segment and, through CCBC, propose to the new government positive suggestions for some of the current problems. The timing turned out to be very positive. We have started a new phase, together with a new government cycle, in which the issue of infrastructure is one of the important ones”, he concludes.