President Dilma Rousseff urged businesses to expand their investments as Brazil cuts energy costs in a bid to curb poverty and improve flagging industrial competitiveness. \"Our recipe for a stronger Brazil is to invest in overcoming poverty, guaranteeing home ownership, expanding employment, increasing education opportunities and improving our infrastructure and the competitiveness of our companies,\" Rousseff said in a Christmas broadcast to the nation. Early this month, the government said electricity rates would be slashed 16.7 percent in 2013, in line with a long-standing demand by domestic industrialists who complain that Brazil\'s energy costs are among the highest in the world. \"The cut in electricity rates is fundamental to enable Brazilian industries to produce at lower costs, conquer markets and continue to generate employment,\" said Rousseff. She also pointed to a series of government steps to spur industrial growth. Brasilia has announced huge investments in airport, highway, port and rail projects in partnership with the private sector to modernize the country\'s creaking infrastructure and jumpstart a sluggish economy expected to grow a mere one percent this year. \"I am sure that 2013 will be an even better year for all Brazilians,\" said Rousseff. Urging entrepreneurs to invest in the country, she said her government was committed to building new partnerships between the public and private sectors. \"Like all Brazilians, I am an optimist. I am fully aware off the challenges our country faces as a result of the international (economy),\" she said. \"I also know that moments of crisis can be turned into great opportunities.\"