Brazil, which has suffered one of the world’s worst pandemic tolls, has responded to the crisis by distributing so much cash directly to citizens that poverty and inequality are approaching national historic lows.

About 66-million people, 30% of the population, have been receiving 600 reais (about R1,850) a month, making it the most ambitious social programme ever undertaken in Brazil, a shocking shift under President Jair Bolsonaro, who railed against welfare, dismissed the virus — and now finds himself newly popular.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now