Nigeria and the making of MINT nations By Emeka Chiakwelu

Emeka Chiakwelu

Emeka Chiakwelu

The nomenclatures of economic trading blocs are becoming numerous:  It all
started with G8, the great eight largest economies, G20 and then BRICS,
organization of five major emerging national economies of Brazil, Russia,
India, China and South Africa.

Now comes MINT nations, MINT is the acronym for an association of four
major major emerging economies Of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey.
Both MINT and BRICS were coined and popularized by Jim O’Neil, an
economist of first order and the former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset
Management. Jim O’Neil can be rightly called an authority on productivity
assessment  of emerging economies.

” As of 2013, the five BRICS countries represent almost 3 billion people,
with a combined nominal GDP of US$16.039 trillion, and an estimated US$4
trillion in combined foreign reserves. Presently, South Africa holds the
chair of the BRICS group, having hosted the group’s fifth summit in 2013.
The BRICS have received both praise and criticism from numerous quarters.”
The major criticism was for the admission of South Africa into the BRICS
with its relatively smaller GDP and inadequate infrastructures, together
with its annual anemic economic growth.
Jim O’Neil, who disagreed with South Africa admission into the BRICS, also
popularized this phenomenon of bloc of nations neologism that are
futuristic with dominant emerging

economies. And now he has also fashioned and endorsed MINT nations with
the recent economic waning of BRICS nations.

This is how Jim O’ Neil introduced MINT nations in his article in
Bloomberg and he delineated  MINT as the potential emerging investment
destination:

“I spent last week in Indonesia, working on a series for BBC Radio about
four of the world’s most populous non-BRIC emerging economies. The BRIC
countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — are already closely
watched. The group I’m studying for this project — let’s call them the
MINT economies — deserve no less attention. Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria
and Turkey all have very favorable demographics for at least the next 20
years, and their economic prospects are interesting.

Policy makers and thinkers in the MINT countries have often asked me why I
left them out of that first classification. Indonesians made the point
with particular force. Over the years I’ve become accustomed to being told
that the BRIC countries should have been the BRIICs all along, or maybe
even the BIICs. Wasn’t Indonesia’s economic potential more compelling than
Russia’s? Despite the size of its relatively young population (a
tremendous asset), I thought it unlikely that Indonesia would do enough on
the economic-policy front to quickly realize that potential.”

Nigeria that has been denied membership of various neologisms of emerging
economies including G20 and BRICS has finally made the list of MINT
nations. Being given the due respect that Nigeria has been searching for
does not transpire that the country has finally arrived. But making the
list of MINT speaks a volume and acknowledges that Nigeria is in the right
direction.  Nigeria is getting her economic house in order and doing those
things she needs to do to and she is seriously noticed by frontier
investors and money managers around the world.

“Nigeria is a middle-income, mixed economy and emerging market, with
expanding financial, service, communications, and entertainment sectors.
It is ranked 30th (40th in 2005, 52nd in 2000), in the world in terms of
Gross Domestic Product at purchasing power parity as of 2012, and 3rd
largest within Africa (behind South Africa and Egypt), on track to
potentially becoming one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020.
Its re-emergent, though currently under-performing, manufacturing sector
is the third-largest on the continent, and produces a large proportion of
goods and services for the West African region.” (Wikipedia)

It is self evident and a fact that Nigeria is potentially a wealthy nation
that can make it to an industrialized economy but she has not been serious
and has been drowned herself in corruption and inefficiency, wallowing in
self pity and grandiose perception of her place under the sun..  But
Nigeria that once referred as “sleeping giant” is steadily and gradually
waking up from her sleep and commences to turning to a new page this time
around.

Nigerian economy is growing robust fully over the years at above 6.5
percent to 7 percent annually. With such an envious economic growth in the
global economy that is struggling with anemic GDP growth, the world has
noticed Nigeria and now it has become a major destination of investments.
The inflation rate is below 10 percent, stable currency and interest
interest which is not bad at 12.5 percent, Nigeria is rising.  A lower
interest rate below 7 percent is conducive for liquidity especially in the
hands of local producers and business community.

With a durable naira currency rooted on both sound monetary policy and
stabilized macroeconomics fundamentals, Nigeria is gearing into a
transformation that can be sustainable with good hands of President
Jonathan administration and steady hands of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,
Nigeria’s finance minister. But it must be highlighted that this is a
journey that is littered with pot holes and open trenches. Nigeria is not
home safe yet.

Corruption is a major problem, self doubt and spending overreaching are
all the serious pot holes and vulnerabilities that Nigerian policy makers
cannot afford to overlook.  Nigerian population is exploding and the
youths are not being satiated with jobs and modern amenities. Nigeria is
the most populous country in Africa and seventh in the world.

Such a population especially the hard working youths is necessary for
sustainable economic growth, but they must be trained, educated and fed.
That is where the challenge comes for the policy makers and country’s
political leaders.  The youths must be occupied with beneficial activities
to get rid-off of delinquency and idleness that can culminate to
disruptive activities.

Political instability that comes with Boko Haram disruptions in some parts
of the country must be defeated to enable the economic rise of Nigeria to
be compassing, profound and sustainable.  Oil dependency cannot be used to
characterize a developed economic, diversification of the economy is
inevitable.

The provision of first class and 21st century infrastructures including
electricity, transportation and health facilities are necessary for
attaining the  economic development goals of Nigeria. Without availability
of adequate electric energy, development will be stunned, if not halted.

This is the time for Nigeria to actualize her dream of greatness and take
her rightful place under the sun. With so many things at stake, Nigeria
cannot afford to miss this golden opportunity.  Only time will tell

Emeka  Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have
appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other
important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in
many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning
including tagteam Harvard Education. Africa Political & Economic Strategic
Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental
objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa.
To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable
green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and
probity in Africa. info@afripol.orghttp://www.afripol.org,

Attached picture of the writer Emeka Chiakwelu

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