By Sahaana Sankar
Nearly over a decade after the BRICS, MINT – an acronym coined by Jim O’Neill is making the headlines. Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey – will be the “emerging economic giants”, says the British economist.
In 2001 the BRICS countries were founded and these set of countries made sense with context to their physical, economic and financial positions. With almost 30% of the worlds land mass and 40% of its population, they could be global powers of 2050. China has lived up to this figure by showing a tremendous increase in GDP to 8.23, just below the US (source: World Bank, Goldman Sachs). India, with a growth rate of 6.3%(1990-2010) and a projected growth rate of 8.1% (source: IMF) is said to be one of the top 5 economies by 2050. With increasing exports from China, increased property boom in Brazil, China investing in the German markets and with the fact that the financial crises did not directly affect these countries – one could argue that they have been on the right track to achieve this goal. But, recent developments show that BRIC need to come up with solutions to diversify exports and their markets to make their way up the global economy ladder. Only China has consistently lived up to expectations without investors getting hurt. India was on the same trajectory as China until 2013 during which it suffered from increased inflation, rising current account deficit and a huge fall of the rupee against the dollar, but nevertheless there is potential for improvement and increased growth rates.
Where do the MINT countries fit on the map? They form a group of countries from each of the emerging markets – Latin America, Asia, Africa and emerging Europe respectively. The formation of the MINT sounds like an attempt to chose the next big countries following the BRICS in those regions. None of these places are comparable on a scale as the BRICS were initially. Turkey and Mexico have much smaller populations and higher GDPs when compared to Indonesia and Nigeria while Mexico and Nigeria are regions infamous for crime and corruption.
Turkey is currently facing a political dilemma with a lack of freedom of expression, increased corruption issues, a government that is keen on demolishing a secular state and an increase in interest rates over the last year. Alternatively, they have an increase in influx of tourism with Turkish Air being the one of the fastest growing airlines, increase in income per head over the past decade which has trebled (source: World Bank), and an overall improvement in infrastructure and development.
Mexico’s strategic location in between North and South America gives it a strategic edge. With a rapidly increasing population and increasing manufacturing sector, a positive trade relationship with North America would prove advantageous to Mexico.
Indonesia has been a stable economy with enormous economic potential in Asia. The country has a plethora of natural resources that neighbours such as India and China would benefit from, thereby increasing the investment opportunity. While there is a growing middle class, the country is also facing poverty and a socio-economic instability. A definite need for betterment of infrastructure and standard of living is a pressing issue. The country has been surviving because of increased domestic consumption of manufactured goods.
Nigeria is an emerging economy with an abundant natural resource base. A productive tapping of these recourses and establishing industries that manufacture goods is an indicator of improving its growth rate multifold. This combined with diversification of their economy; motivation of the Government, cooperation by the people and an improvement in infrastructure proves that Nigeria could be one of Africa’s most sought after economies.
In conclusion, MINT is just an acronym put together to show the world that a change is underway. Until recently, these countries have not been viewed as places for potential investment or growth centres but rather as centres of corruption, violence and poverty. Nevertheless, each country has its own scope for development and variables such as foreign policy, government interaction, free market economics, trade, FDI and inflation play a pivotal role in the future of these nations. Whether these countries will overtake the world in 2050 or not – it is too soon to predict. But one can expect some change in the hands of global power and we should not be surprised if the Rujak (an Indonesian delicacy) is consumed more than instant noodles or the BigMac!
The author is currently pursing her Masters in Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is an Electronics and Communications Engineer from Anna University with a passion for the environment, science and innovation. Her latest calling is economics and social entrepreneurship. She lives in London , where she is learning, exploring, spending hours in the library and soaking in every bit the city has to offer! Ping her at – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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