ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has the potential to become the 18th largest economy of world by 2050, leaving behind many strong economies, according to Jim O’Neill, a British economist. Jim O’Neill is famous for coining the term BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2001, analyzing their potential to become the world’s most powerful economies. Now he has come up with a new term MINT – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey, projecting their economies to see the strong growth in the coming decades. According to his projections for 2050, Pakistan would become the 18th largest economy in the world by 2050 with a GDP of US$3.33 trillion (almost the same size as the current German economy).
Currently, Pakistan stands at the 44th largest economy in the world with a GDP of US$225.14 billion. This means that, if O’Neill’s projections are correct, Pakistan’s economy would grow 15 times in the next 35 years or so. The BBC in its recently published article, termed it as the envy of many developed countries but also two of the BRIC countries, China and Russia.
So, if Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey get their act together, some of them could match Chinese-style double-digit rates between 2003 and 2008. Something else three of them share, which Mexican Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade Kuribrena pointed out, is that they all have geographical positions that should be an advantage as patterns of world trade change. For example, Mexico is next door to the US, but also Latin America. Indonesia is in the heart of South-east Asia but also has deep connections with China. And Turkey is in both the West and East.
Nigeria is not really similar in this regard for now, partly because of Africa’s lack of development, but it could be in the future if African countries stop fighting and trade with each other. This might, in fact be the basis for the MINT countries developing their own economic-political club just as the BRIC countries did – one of the biggest surprises of the whole BRIC thing. This was something the charismatic Nigerian finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was keen to talk about: “We know our time will come,” she said. “We think they are missing something by not having us.”
Mexican Economist Meade Kuribrena went so far as to suggest that, as a group of four countries, the Mints have more in common than the Brics. “I am not sure about that, but it is an interesting idea,” he said. Economically three of them – Mexico, Indonesia and Nigeria – are commodity producers and only Turkey isn’t. This contrasts with the BRIC countries where two – Brazil and Russia – are commodity producers and the other two – China and India – aren’t.
In terms of wealth, Mexico and Turkey are at about the same level, earning annually about $10,000 per head. This compares with $3,500 per head in Indonesia and $1,500 per head in Nigeria, which is on a par with India. They are a bit behind Russia – $14,000 per head – and Brazil on $11,300, but still a bit ahead of China – $6,000.
According to BBC, Indonesia’s challenges were big and the country needs more of a sense of commercial purpose beyond commodities, and has to improve its infrastructure. In Turkey, visits to white goods manufacturer Beko and Turkish Airlines, the world’s fastest growing airline, definitely made me go “Wow”, and in Nigeria, I was saying it all the time. Sorting out energy policy was seen in both Mexico and Nigeria as a top priority and each country has launched a major initiatives this year, which if implemented, will accelerate growth rates significantly.
In Indonesia, the fourth largest country in the world, leadership and infrastructure were the major challenges, though there were many more too. But challenges and opportunities sit side by side. In one of Jakarta’s slum areas, Pluit, the land is sinking by 20cm per year because of over-extraction of water, but property prices elsewhere in the city are rocketing. So, according to the BBC, the Mints can join the top 10 largest economies in the world, though it may take 30 years.