The economist Jim O’Niell coined a new acronym for economies with the potential to become world powerhouses in the not so distant future, MINT. This includes Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. Interestingly, he had coined another acronym ten years earlier called BRICS, that is Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. By the inclusion of an African country in each of the economic grouping, it is clear that Africa is on the rise and will contribute significantly in the coming decades to global wealth.
While most developed countries are only managing growth rates of less than 5% annually, several African nations have enjoyed quite significant economic growth rates in recent years. In 2012, Niger for example had an 11.2% GDP growth, Ethiopia 8.5%, Ghana 7.9%, Zambia 7.2%, Nigeria 6.6%. This is due to decades of being underserviced and a new realization that there is a lot of economic value in developing these economies.
That being said, there is a lot to be done to realise the potential of Africa’s rise to its fullest. First, the rising scourge of corruption needs to be addressed as it leaves the economic prosperity of entire nations in the hands of individuals. A measure of true prosperity is how the majority of the population feels the benefits of economic growth.
Education and skill development in the population needs to also be top priority, otherwise, Africa will remain exporters of raw unprocessed minerals. A large amount of economic value is derived from adding value to minerals, like polishing diamonds, refining crude oil etc. Education also helps the continent to tap into the services sector which would normally have been outsourced.
Political stability is vital for sustained economic growth. Regional and tribal conflicts have reversed or impeded economic growth in many parts of the continent. Egypt’s tourism sector for example has suffered since the political unrest started a few years ago and South Sudan’s potential for prosperity is also currently being impeded by unrest.
While it appears Asian countries are riding the best waves of economic developments in the last 10 years, Africa’s time to rise starts now and we can see a realisation of these in the next decades.
Like the headline of a Popular Movie “Are We There yet”, are the new economic blocks setting a platform for Innovation? Are they spurring growth? What are the prospects for MINT?
By: Israel Awotunde