It's a New Year and so what better time for a new acronym. The MINT countries are sweeping the headlines thanks to renowned economist Jim O'Neill.
O'Neill, who gave the world BRICs, brought his series for UK national broadcaster BBC on the economic potential of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey to a close yesterday.
He outlines the possibilities and the trials each country is facing - the question is, can MINT live up to the hype?
Despite its problems, we've seen an unprecedented drive for change by the country's young government. Reform at every level, including financial regulation and fiscal affairs, has led to record FDI; Mexico has left investors with no doubt that it is preparing to become a competitor on the world economic stage.
Our team in Mexico has seen the improvements first-hand but recognises there are still challenges to be overcome. O'Neill himself questions whether the excitement around Mexico might actually be a disservice to the country, since high expectations are often disappointed. But it's hard not to be optimistic given the pace of change.
TMF Group's Global Director of Business Development Jochum Haakma recently joined a Dutch state visit to Indonesia. Although the country's boom growth rate is set to continue, Haakma points out: "[Until] the authorities do more to cut red tape, especially for international companies, as well as providing adequate infrastructure to facilitate ease of doing business, Indonesia is at risk of remaining where it is today: a potential economic power."
This is reiterated by O'Neill; after all, as the fourth largest country in the world it faces significant hurdles. "But challenges and opportunities sit side by side", concludes the economist – something our film on doing business in Indonesia illustrates.
Held up as "Africa's hope", Nigeria was recently crowned the continent's largest economy and the IMF predicts strong growth at 7.4% GDP this year.
The drawbacks are obvious with corruption, poverty and infrastructure numbering among them. But Nigeria's Central Bank Governor insists that economic development along with improvements in education will help to right these issues.
There is certainly a growing trend of expansion into Africa. It seems to feature in many growth plans and we'll be looking to list Nigeria as one of our office locations soon.
We opened our office in Turkey in 2001, the year of the country's financial crisis. Turkey had then what it has now – a fantastic location and a lot of potential.
Since then, a series of reforms has seen it go from strength to strength and it started this year as it means to go on by paying off the last of its debt to the IMF.
For Jim O'Neill its unique east meets west geography remains key to its success, particularly as it becomes an aviation hub, a channel for gas and oil and a popular tourist destination.
The country is ambitious and has wowed O'Neill, but there can still be complexities when doing business in Turkey, as our people on the ground well know.
Wherever in the world you're looking to operate, there is bound to be challenge as well as opportunity. IDC's whitepaper on Avoiding the pitfalls of international expansion shows this and highlights the benefits of working with a third party provider like TMF Group, who can smooth the way for international expansion.
TMF Group, London, UK
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