EDITORIAL – Roraima: great challenges, by Márcia Guimarães

Roraima is the smallest state in Brazil in population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but it faces enormous challenges. The least populated unit of the country, Roraima has experienced major impacts on issues such as the humanitarian and migratory crisis in Venezuela; the conflicts and vulnerability in Yanomami lands; the isolation and fragility of the electric power systems and the state’s economy. These are challenges that the next government leaders will have to face.

With an estimated population of 652,713 inhabitants, according to estimates by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in 2021, the Federative Unit is the least populous and least populated in the country, with a demographic density of 2.01 hab/km², according to the last Census, held in 2010. Roraima also has the lowest GDP in the Country, calculated at R$14.2 million by IBGE, in 2019.

In recent years, Roraima, bordering Venezuela, faces the migratory and humanitarian crisis of thousands of people who arrive in the state fleeing the misery and institutional failure of the neighboring country. Data from Operation Acolhida, a humanitarian mission, in 2019, showed that an average of 550 Venezuelans entered Roraima per day, or 16.5 thousand people per month. The state does not have the structure to absorb such an influx in a short period of time. With the lowest GDP in the country, there is little chance of absorbing this labor force by the market. Besides this, public services are overloaded.


Roraima is also experiencing an intense invasion of illegal mining in indigenous lands, especially in the Yanomami Land. This invasion has led to an increase in deforestation, conflicts between indigenous people and miners, an increase in violence and the vulnerability of these people, as well as damage to the external image of the state.

There are also historical obstacles, such as the geographic isolation of the northernmost state of the country and the energetic isolation of the only unit of the Federation not connected to the National Integrated System (SIN) of energy transmission, besides the fragility of an economy that revolves around the civil service and small businesses. The web of challenges to be worked on by those who will take over the command of the state is set.

The year is one of important choices and Roraima still has a lot to grow. The elections in October can trace the new directions.


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