INTERVIEW-Brazil unrest may not hurt investment -World Bank
(Adds Kim's comments, comments on social movements)
SANTIAGO, July 5 (Reuters) - Nationwide protests in Brazil may not impact investments in Latin America's largest economy, depending on the government's response to social demands, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in an interview on Friday.
The protests that have swept Brazil in recent weeks have sent shockwaves through the country's political establishment, prompting a flurry of promises to improve public services as well as concrete measures aimed at quelling the unrest.
The marches have rallied Brazilians angry about a range of issues from corruption and poor public transportation to billions of dollars being spent to host the soccer World Cup next year.
"I think that depending on the government responses to those protests, we may not see a drop in investment," Kim told Reuters during a visit to Chile.
While lauding Brazil's efforts at social inclusion, Kim underlined large and unmet demands for equality of opportunity.
"The Brazilian people have been very focused. They've been very specific about what they want. They want better hospitals, they want better educational opportunities, they want better controls on prices, they want lower prices for bus rides and other things," Kim said.
"The inflation levels in Brazil are related to the protests that we've (seen). It's really hard to tell whether those numbers are going to go up or down," he added.
Brazil's inflation climbed at the fastest pace in 20 months in June but rose less than forecast, supporting hopes that increases in consumer prices could start to slow even after a sharp currency sell-off.
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS HERE TO STAY
The startling unrest in Brazil should push other countries to examine the quality of their services and the opportunities they provide to their citizens, Kim said.
"These social movements are not going to go away. And in my view they're simply going to grow," Kim said, referring to recent social unrest in Brazil, as well as in Turkey and Egypt.
"Our view at the World Bank Group is: look, this makes it even more important that countries get the macroeconomics right, because getting the macroeconomics right means you're able to weather economic crisis," he said.
In Egypt, tens of thousands of people marched across the country on Friday in what deposed President Mohamed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood movement called a "Friday of Rage" to protest against his ouster and an interim government set up to prepare for new elections.
"Things are changing moment by moment. We're collecting as much intelligence as we can ... we hope to continue (with our program in Egypt), but we'll know a lot more literally in the next 24 to 48 hours," Kim said of the World Bank's 24 projects and total commitments of over $4.5 billion there.
"We have to see how the government shapes and whether or not we can continue. It's still up in the air we're not sure," Kim said.
(Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by James Dalgleish and Sandra Maler)