The European project ‘MNEmerge’ explores the role of multinational enterprises (MNE) in confronting the global development challenges, providing a comparison of the impacts of MNEs operation and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In Brazil, the project approaches the matter of rural electrification coverage and counts with the partnership of INESC P&D Brasil on the development of the activities proposed by the project on Brazilian soil.
An evaluation of the impact of rural electrification on local development was made possible through a visit to Sananduva, a city in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, southern-most state of Brazil, a city that is home to a rural community called Linha Betânia. This rural community had no access to electricity until 2006, when it was contemplated with the federal government’s “Light for All” programme.
Along with the arrival of electric energy, the community received investments through Integrated Actions of the Light for All programme, aiming for an economic growth and an improvement in quality of life of the village population. In Linha Betânia an agroindustry of sweets and pickles was founded, and nowadays counts with the participation of many families in the production of brown sugar, black treacle, pickled cucumber, among many other products that are sold in the region. At the same spot, in 2007 a distillery was founded but, due to technical problems, was deactivated. Currently, the production of the agroindustry is growing fast and collaborates with the increase in the average family income, integration and professional development of women on the enterprising scenario, as well as allowing the families who had left the region in search of better living conditions on the big cities to return to the countryside.