Bahia’s recent economic achievements are marked by a robust growth in key sectors such as agriculture, petrochemicals, and renewable energy, contributing to job creation and increased income levels. Additionally, Bahia has demonstrated a commitment to environmental sustainability through initiatives promoting conservation, reforestation, and the expansion of renewable energy sources. Investments in transportation infrastructure, including road networks and ports, have enhanced connectivity and facilitated the efficient movement of goods.
GDP growth rate in 2023 above the national rate;
Strong agricultural production, being one of the world’s top 10 cocoa hubs;
Brazil's largest producer of uranium, chrome, salgema, magnesite, talc and barite; second in copper, graphite and silver; and third in gold, ornamental rocks and natural gas;
8th Brazilian state with the highest installed capacity for distributed generation from photovoltaic solar sources;
2nd producer of wind energy, with 276 wind farms – the highest concentration in Brazil;
Home to the largest integrated industrial complex in the Southern Hemisphere;
25% reduction in deforestation in 2023 compared to 2022.
Bahia is the fifth-largest state in Brazil, with approximately 564,760 square kilometers, boasting a rich cultural tapestry and a population of around 14 million people in 2022. Beyond its historical capital, Salvador, celebrated for its Afro-Brazilian culture and vibrant arts, Bahia plays an important national economic role. In 2020, it ranked as Brazil's seventh-largest GDP contributor, making significant contributions to the country's overall economic output, with a reported GDP of R$268.2 billion.
What distinguishes Bahia further is its skilled labor force, a crucial component of its economic prowess. According to the National Confederation of Industry (CNI), an impressive 71.5% of the state's industrial workforce has completed at least high school education, surpassing the national average of 68.3%. This well-educated and diverse workforce not only fuels Bahia's economic activities but also positions the state as a hub for innovation and productivity.
Bahia is the largest state in the Brazilian Northeast region and shares borders with the states of Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Piauí, Tocantins, Goiás, and Minas Gerais. Bahia also has a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. The soil in Bahia is 50% composed of latosols, suitable for agriculture, particularly the cultivation of grains such as soy, corn, and cotton. Another 25% of the state's territory consists of argisols, suitable for the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, and coffee.
Bahia is making significant strides in environmental conservation and sustainable practices. According to the Bahia Environment and Water Resources Institute (INEMA), the state hosts 197 environmental conservation units, safeguarding approximately 10% of its territory. This commitment to conservation is evident in the state's impressive 25% reduction in deforestation compared to the previous year, as reported by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). Furthermore, Bahia emerges as a leader in renewable energy, securing the second-largest installed wind power capacity among Brazilian states at 25,630 MW, constituting 12.7% of the country's total.
Aligning with these achievements are proactive initiatives like the Bahia + Verde Program, launched in 2023, which seeks to promote biodiversity conservation, combat deforestation, encourage renewable energy, and reduce pollution. Also, the Refloresta Bahia Project, initiated in 2022, underscores the state's commitment to sustainability by aiming to restore 1 million hectares of native forest.
Bahia's economy is characterized by a wide range of industries. Agriculture remains a significant contributor, but the state is also home to valuable mineral resources, including oil, making it a hub for the petroleum industry as well. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), in 2023 Bahia's GDP grew by 6%, compared to the national average of 5%. This growth was mainly driven by an increase in industrial production in the petrochemical sector, a rise in the services sector and an increase in agricultural production.
Agriculture is an important component of Bahia's economy, focused on the cultivation of crops such as sugarcane, cocoa, soybeans, cotton, and various tropical fruits. The state stands as one of Brazil's major producers of cocoa, being one of the world's top 10 cocoa hubs.
The state's agricultural industry places a strong emphasis on responsible and eco-conscious farming techniques. As an example, the cocoa from southern Bahia is recognized with the Geographical Indication - IP Cacau Sul da Bahia. Among the advances and improvements resulting from the GI, it is now possible to trace, via QR Code, the entire cocoa production process using blockchain technology and other technological advancements. These innovations contribute to the quality of cocoa beans, leading to the establishment of a cluster for fine chocolates in southern Bahia.
Other sustainable practices include the adoption of reduced tillage, crop rotation, and cover crops to enhance soil health and minimize erosion. Precision agriculture technologies are widely embraced, enabling resource-efficient practices such as GPS-guided tractors and drone technology. Farmers actively engage in biodiversity conservation by dedicating land for habitat preservation and implementing integrated pest management strategies.
Sustainable water management is paramount in a region prone to drought, with practices like drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting promoting efficient water use. Agribusinesses in Bahia participate in certification programs, verifying their adherence to environmental and ethical standards, which builds trust with international markets. Community engagement and social responsibility efforts strengthen local relationships and support the well-being of nearby populations. Additionally, the sector prioritizes eco-friendly supply chains, reducing waste, emissions, and energy consumption in logistics and transportation. This dedication to sustainability not only safeguards the environment but also positions Bahia as a provider of sustainable agricultural products to global markets, reinforcing its standing in the international agribusiness arena.
Mining is also a key contributor to Bahia's economy, with substantial mineral resources such as iron ore, bauxite, and precious stones. The state hosts major mining operations, being the third largest producer of mineral goods, with iron, nickel, gold, bauxite and around 40 other minerals. It is Brazil's largest producer of uranium, chrome, salgema, magnesite, talc and barite; second in copper, graphite and silver; and third in gold, ornamental rocks and natural gas.
Bahia soil also presents thallium - an extremely rare, strategic metal with a high value (US$ 6/gram) and exploited in only two other countries: China and Kazakhstan. The reserve was discovered in Itaoeste, in the village of Val da Boa Esperança, in the municipality of Barreiras, and is already considered the third largest deposit of thallium in the world.
Out of the 417 municipalities in Bahia, 100 have some form of mining activity. And of these, 90% are in the interior of Bahia, in the region known as the semi-arid region.
Bahia's mining sector plays a dual role, driving economic growth while emphasizing the significance of sustainable practices and environmental responsibility. The state enforces strict regulations and oversight mechanisms to ensure responsible mining with a primary focus on mitigating environmental impact. These sustainable practices include compulsory reforestation and land rehabilitation, responsible water resource management, biodiversity preservation, active community engagement, and social responsibility initiatives. Furthermore, the industry is at the forefront of adopting innovative technologies to minimize its environmental footprint. Government supervision, alongside comprehensive environmental impact assessments, guarantees adherence to elevated environmental and safety standards throughout mining operations.
The aerospace and defense industry in Bahia represents a significant and rapidly developing sector. One of the key players in Bahia's aerospace sector is Embraer, the globally renowned Brazilian aerospace company. While its headquarters are in São Paulo, Embraer has a substantial presence in Bahia, specifically in the city of Gavião Peixoto. This facility is dedicated to aircraft assembly, including the production of regional and military aircraft. Bahia's strategic location and skilled workforce contribute to the success of companies like Embraer, allowing them to meet the high demands of the aerospace industry.
Maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services also thrive in Bahia, attracting a growing number of aerospace companies. Several local companies offer MRO services that meet international safety and quality standards, thereby serving both domestic and international clients.
Bahia also boasts some of the most favorable wind conditions in Brazil, particularly along its coastline. As a result, the state has witnessed a rapid expansion of wind farms. Companies like Casa dos Ventos have made substantial investments in wind energy projects, turning Bahia into a key player in the wind power sector. These wind farms not only contribute to the state's energy independence but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster a more environmentally responsible energy grid.
Solar power has also seen remarkable growth in Bahia, aided by abundant sunlight. The state has established itself as a solar energy hub, attracting investments from both national and international companies. Initiatives like the Solar do Sertão complex, situated in the semi-arid region of Bahia, showcase the state's commitment to large-scale solar energy production. These solar installations help diversify the energy mix, reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, and contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions.
The petrochemical industry in Bahia also stands out as a cornerstone of the state's economic landscape. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the Camaçari Industrial Complex is the largest integrated industrial complex in the Southern Hemisphere, housing over 90 companies. It comprises industries in the automotive, pulp and paper, metallurgy, textile, fertilizer, wind energy, beverage, and service sectors.
The production of oil and gas in Bahia is primarily onshore, but the state holds a prominent position in offshore gas production with the Camamu-Almada Basin, accounting for 6.1% of the entire national production, according to the state’s government.
The National Confederation of Industry (CNI) reports that Bahia's industries are distributed as follows:
19.6% Public utility industrial services
15.5% Oil products and biofuels
The most important sector for the state's industrial exports is Oil products and biofuels, responsible for 38.90% of total exports in 2022.
The Competitiveness Ranking of the States for 2023, published by the Center for Public Leadership, places Bahia in the 24th position compared to other states, with excellent results in Fiscal Solvency (4th position) and an emphasis on improving indicators for public investment in research and development, sewage treatment, labor costs, digital public services and market size.
In the World Bank's Subnational Doing Business in Brazil 2021, Bahia ranks in 24th. The state shows good performance in Dealing with construction permits.
Bahia's logistics infrastructure comprises a robust transport network that not only connects the entire nation but also extends its reach globally, enabling the seamless purchase and distribution of goods across Brazil and the world. Bahia boasts the seventh-largest road network in Brazil, with 35,632 km of roads according to the National Department of Transportation Infrastructure (DNIT) and ranks third in terms of airports. Additionally, it hosts three significant ports: Salvador, Aratu, and Ilhéus, along with five privately operated maritime terminals.
A critical railway connection in Bahia, known as the Centro Atlântica railroad, serves as the primary link to the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest regions. This railway system provides access to major ports located in Bahia, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. Furthermore, it interfaces with other railroads, including MRS, Transnordestina, and Ferroban, facilitating connections with the largest consumer centers in Brazil and Mercosur.
The extensive road network in Bahia, organized around the four principal axes of BR-116, BR-101, BR-324, BR-407, and BR-242, plays an important role in the state's transportation infrastructure.
BR-116 is a critical north-south highway in Bahia, connecting the state to the Northeast and South regions of Brazil. It extends from the border with the state of Pernambuco in the north to the state of Rio Grande do Sul in the south, making it one of the longest highways in Brazil.
BR-116 facilitates the transportation of various goods, including agricultural products, manufactured goods, and raw materials, supporting commerce both within Brazil and with neighboring countries. The highway enhances access to key ports and industrial centers, enabling the efficient movement of products and fostering economic growth in the state.
BR-101 is another vital north-south highway, running along the eastern coast of Bahia. It links Bahia with states in the Northeast and Southeast regions, such as Sergipe, Alagoas, and Rio de Janeiro. BR-101 is crucial for the transportation of goods, particularly those related to the automotive and petrochemical industries, given its proximity to industrial zones and ports.
BR-324 is a significant east-west highway, connecting the state capital, Salvador, with the interior of Bahia. It facilitates the movement of people and goods between the capital and important inland cities like Feira de Santana. It is particularly instrumental in supporting urban and suburban commuting, allowing for the efficient flow of the workforce and services.
BR-407 primarily runs along the northern regions of Bahia and plays an important role in connecting the state with Pernambuco and other northeastern states. This highway is instrumental for the transportation of agricultural and agribusiness products, contributing to the state's agricultural sector's growth. It facilitates commerce and trade between Bahia and neighboring states, ensuring a reliable supply chain for various industries.
BR-242 is a significant east-west highway in Bahia, connecting the state's western region with the central and eastern parts of the country. It provides a critical link for the transportation of agricultural and mining products, as well as the movement of goods to ports and distribution centers.
Three key ports—Salvador, Aratu, and Ilhéus—contribute significantly to Bahia's economic growth by facilitating exports and trade. These ports serve as critical gateways for the state, connecting it to international markets and fostering commerce.
Port of Salvador
Located in the state capital, Salvador, it handles a diverse range of cargo, including bulk cargo, containers, and general cargo. This port is a lifeline for Bahia's imports and exports, important to the state's international trade activities. One of its primary functions is to facilitate the export of Bahia's agricultural and industrial products, supporting key industries. Its strategic position on global trade routes provides direct access to vital markets in the Americas, Europe, and Africa.
Port of Aratu
The Port of Aratu is located within Aratu Bay, part of the Salvador metropolitan region. It stands out for its specialized infrastructure designed for handling liquid bulk cargo, making it a hub for the petrochemical and chemical industries, with connections to refineries, industrial plants, and distribution facilities.
Port of Ilhéus
The Port of Ilhéus is on Bahia's southern coast. It is particularly significant for the export of agricultural products, including cocoa, soybeans, and various commodities produced in the region.
According to the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), Bahia features 8 prominent airports:
Salvador-Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport (SSA)
Salvador's primary international gateway, Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport (SSA), is the largest and busiest in Bahia. SSA operates as a major hub for both domestic and international flights. With direct connections to major Brazilian cities and international destinations in the United States and Europe, SSA accommodates millions of passengers annually.
Porto Seguro Airport (BPS)
Porto Seguro Airport (BPS) primarily handles domestic flights. As a key entry point for tourists, it is an essential gateway to the region.
Ilhéus Jorge Amado Airport (IOS)
Ilhéus Jorge Amado Airport (IOS), named after renowned Brazilian author Jorge Amado, operates mainly domestic flights.
Feira de Santana Airport (FEC)
Feira de Santana Airport (FEC) is a smaller airport primarily serving domestic flights. It functions as a vital regional transportation hub, connecting Feira de Santana with other parts of Bahia and the country.
Other Regional Airports
Bahia hosts several regional airports, including those in Barreiras, Barra, Bom Jesus da Lapa, Eunápolis, Guanambi, and Lençóis, among others. These regional airports primarily operate domestic flights and connect remote and underserved areas within the state.
Bahia is actively working to foster an innovation ecosystem. Initiatives in fields like agribusiness, renewable energy, petrochemical and cultural preservation are aimed at harnessing local resources and promoting research and development.
The Inova Cidade network is a strategy for coordinating and exchanging experiences to draw up and implement policies that drive actions to transform municipalities into "entrepreneurial and innovative cities". The involvement of municipal authorities, in addition to boosting local dynamism, is an essential factor in consolidating this objective.
The network is made up of municipalities that have joined the program. There are periodically workshops, meetings and other events with the aim of developing strategic planning for government actions and drawing up proposals for public science, technology and innovation policies, based on demands from local authorities, with the involvement of ecosystem players and coordination by the Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (SECTI).
Joining the network allow members to share experience of innovation initiatives in their territories and is also a gateway to participation in the Bahia State Research Foundation (FAPESB) innovation calls.
The Conecta Bahia Project aims to promote the popularization of Science, Technology and Innovation through public Wi-Fi services in the state's cities, which will make it possible to connect, link, unite, bring citizens closer to the exercise of citizenship, to knowledge, to the Municipality and to the State. This is a first step in popularizing the internet through the state government, which could be continued by other projects to expand this service in the municipalities.
Veredas Novas Program
The Veredas Novas Program is coordinated by the National Research and Education Network - RNP - and aims to connect all the campuses of public universities and technological institutes in the interior of the country to at least 1 Gb/s at the headquarters campus and at least 100 Mb/s at other campuses. To this end, it has built partnerships with state governments and regional and local internet providers, as well as public and private companies that make it possible to roll out optical fiber in the interior of Brazilian states.
In Bahia, Veredas Novas is being carried out in partnership with the Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (SECTI) using existing infrastructure, such as the fiber optic network of the São Francisco Hydroelectric Company (CHESF) and other regional partners.
In addition to connecting institutions in a high-speed network, one of the strategies of this project is to create metropolitan networks in the interior of Bahia and connect them to the capital, enabling the integration of various players in Education and Research at municipal, state and federal level.
Bahia Technology Park
The Bahia Technology Park was created to stimulate entrepreneurship and scientific, technological and innovative development in Bahia, through interaction and the sharing of knowledge between CT&I agents, in a collaborative and sustainable environment.
An initiative of the State Government of Bahia, through the Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation, the complex has a total area of 581,000m², and currently has 25,900 m² of built area, referring to the central and dynamic building of the Bahia Technology Park, the Tecnocentro. The facility is home to more than 30 CT&I companies and institutions, as well as representatives of public authorities and civil society.
Since December 2020, the enterprise has been managed by the Association of Bahia Technology Park Companies - AEPTECBA, in a self-management model, with the participation of representatives from the productive sector, universities, government and trade associations.
SENAI CIMATEC is the heart of Bahia's innovation ecosystem, driving research, education, and industry collaboration. It empowers Bahia to remain competitive in a global economy, positions the state as a hub for technology and innovation, and attracts investment and talent from both national and international sources. This institution's multifaceted contributions are instrumental in shaping Bahia's economic future.
The institution focuses on research and innovation for the development of industry. It is unique in that they integrate the research and innovation processes of a Technology Center with the scientific and academic research of a University Center. In addition to extensive experience in carrying out projects of various sizes and complexities, SENAI CIMATEC stands out in carrying out Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) in partnerships with national and international companies and institutions, having totaled more than R$180 million in project resources and high intellectual property indicators, with more than 60 registered patents.
The RD&I projects carried out at the Campus are managed by the Project Management Office (PMO) and have advanced financial engineering, with easy access to various funding programs and economic subsidy modalities for RD&I projects. SENAI CIMATEC has been one of the main developers of projects in cooperation with EMBRAPII since the pilot operation in 2011 and has already been recognized by FINEP as a Research Institution for Technological Innovation in the Northeast. In addition, other sources of funding for RD&I are prospected and identified, with the intermediation and advice of the institution.
Collaborating closely with industry partners, government agencies, and academia, SENAI CIMATEC conducts pioneering research in critical areas such as advanced materials, renewable energy, industrial automation, and information technology. These research endeavors contribute directly to the growth and competitiveness of Bahia's industries by bridging the gap between academia and industry, enabling businesses to thrive and stay at the forefront of their respective fields.
One of the institution's most significant contributions lies in its role as a talent incubator. SENAI CIMATEC is renowned for its high-quality training programs, producing a skilled workforce equipped with the latest industry-relevant knowledge and expertise. These well-prepared professionals are instrumental in driving innovation and supporting the evolving needs of industries within Bahia.
SENAI CIMATEC also offers access to state-of-the-art facilities, mentorship, and resources to startups and entrepreneurs. This support is instrumental in fostering the growth of innovative new businesses and nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship in Bahia.
The institution's extensive network, research capabilities, and collaborative approach create an ideal environment for international entrepreneurs seeking to navigate the complexities of the Brazilian market. SENAI CIMATEC offers a bridge for startups to connect with local industry experts, potential partners, and investors, facilitating their integration into the Brazilian business landscape. Additionally, its advanced infrastructure provides a supportive foundation for these startups to develop and refine their products and services in Brazil.
Brazil is a federation composed of 26 states, one federal district, and the 5,570 municipalities. Learn more about what each region can offer:
Brazil's diversified economy includes agriculture, industry, and a wide range of services. The large service sector accounts for about 72.7% of total GDP, followed by the industrial sector (20.7%), while the agriculture sector is by far the smallest, making up 6.6% of total GDP.
With seven states, the region is dominated by the Amazon Rainforest, the largest tropical rainforest in the world. The economy is influenced by agriculture, forestry and mining, with the sustainable management of natural resources at the center of public policies.
The region presents a lengthy coastline along its nine states. Although agriculture has been a traditional economic driver, renewable energy, petrochemicals and innovation have seen a significant growth in recent years, changing the region's vocation.
Only three states and a Federal District make it the agricultural heartland of Brazil. It is also home to a diverse array of wildlife and ecosystems, including parts of the Amazon rainforest and the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland area. Brasília, the country's capital, is an important hub in the region.
Marked by its dynamic urban centers, the region drives Brazil's innovation, commerce and industrialization. Comprising four states, it is home to the country's financial capital, São Paulo, which is also Latin America's economic center and one of the major global cities.
The region stands out as a well-developed portion of Brazil. It has a strong economic performance supported by a highly productive agriculture and a skilled industry, which reflects in the region's high standard of living, efficient infrastructure and economic stability.