Sunday, February 16, 2014

MINT 101 :: A primer on the economies of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey

Mexico is a nation of 118 million people, with a GDP of US$1.4 trillion and per capita income of $11,224. It is a major oil exporter. Its geopolitical contiguity to the United States and Canada places the country in a propitious neighbourhood. It is also a member of the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA). Mexico is an increasingly competitive and diversified economy, with a thriving middle class. It is also the home of the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, whose total assets stand at the magnitude of $53 billion, ahead of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
Mexico has been a relatively stable democracy since 1920s. However, there are certain challenges. Mexico has become a major producer and transit channel for narcotic drugs. Entire regions have been blighted by this curse. In the drug-producing regions policemen and women are afraid to wear their uniforms. Crime is endemic and the rule of law is increasingly under severe test. In spite of these drawbacks, Mexico’s prospects remain strong. It has a good educational system and its economic institutions are robust. The Bank of Mexico is one of the best central banks in the world and its Governor, Agustin Carstens, is an economist of vision and courage...

A member of the G-20, Indonesia has a population of 237 million people and a GDP of US$867.4 billion, with a per capita income of $3,499...It also has an increasingly diversified export base. Geographically, the country is a fissiparous archipelago of over 17,000 islands, many of them prone to earthquakes and Tsunamis. It is a moderate Muslim country that is increasingly confident as a flourishing democracy. It has continued to grow at a rate of 6 percent over several years, with unemployment estimated at 6.1% and the incidence of poverty at 11.7% of the population. Indonesia shares a neighbourhood with Japan, China, Malaysia and Singapore. Both as a market and as an exporter, its potentials are considerable.
Indonesia is one country that shares considerable similarities with Nigeria...Both are populous, oil-exporting nations endowed with considerable natural resources. Both have experienced traumatic civil wars and decades of corrupt military dictatorships. But that’s where the similarity ends. Whereas military tyrants such as Suharto and his colleagues amassed enormous fortunes, they made a point of investing in their own country and building a thriving capitalist economy. The Nigerian militariat, on the other hand, squirreled everything abroad, leaving us in penury. The reforms undertaken by former finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati were outstandingly successful... 

Nigeria’s population of 170 million is well below that of Indonesia. Our GDP stands at US$318.5 billion while per capita income is estimated at $1,831. We are more dependent on hydrocarbon exports than Indonesia and Mexico.  Nigeria faces exceptional challenges of nationhood. Our public institutions remain weak while the political elites remain fractious. Our infrastructures are shambolic. The rule of law remains weak. Welfare remains bleak; with unemployment at 25% and the incidence of poverty ranging between 50 and 65 percent.
Ruchir Sharma of investment bankers Morgan Stanley, in his new book, The Breakout Nations, believes Nigeria has turned the corner. He believes Goodluck Jonathan is exercising strong leadership and that we are on course to take our place among the civilised nations of the twenty-first century. To echo the late Mwalimu Nyerere, “we must run while they walk”.

Turkey is a country of 77 million people, sitting at crossroads of civilisations between Asia and Europe. It has a GDP of US$790 billion and a per capita income of $10,666. From being a world power during the age of the Ottomans, Turkey underwent a rather traumatic period of modernisation and secularisation under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during the 1920s and 1930s. A member of NATO and a candidate for membership of the European Union, modern Turkey is a prosperous democracy and increasingly strong international trading state.
Under the leadership of Recep Tayipp Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the economy has been managed with prudence and sagacity. Irredentist elements within its Kurdistan province have been tamed. Its currency, the lira, has been stabilised and monetary policy has ensured growth under the dynamic Governor of the central, Erdem Basci. Turkish companies are all over Europe, Euro-Asia, Africa and Arabia...

Source: Nigeria and the MINT nations, by Obadiah Mailafia, in BusinessDay

1 comment:

mlg said...

I enjoyed reading this.

Not too much talk about MINTs in the media, or maybe I just haven't searched recently.

Interesting to know Indonesia has such a high population.

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