MINT: The Next Economic Giants

Ep 1-4/4

Monday 6 January to Thursday 9 January



Jim O’Neill, former chief economist and head of asset management at Goldman Sachs, presents the flagship four-part series in Radio 4’s focus on the MINT countries – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey – tipped as the next to assume their places at the high table of economic success.

In the first episode, he considers the attempt of a radical reforming government in Mexico to create an economic miracle. Mexico’s hope of becoming the workshop of North America was shattered by China’s domination of cheap exports, but recently, the Mexican dream is in sight again. As Beijing opts for ‘quality not quantity’ of growth, companies are returning, drawn by competitive labour and proximity to the US market. Jim travels across Mexico to investigate, discovering that its ambitions now go far beyond cheap manufactures to include finally achieving greatness in its own right. But can Mexico’s youthful, reforming government overcome the challenges of widespread poverty, crime and a huge number of people living outside the formal economy?

The series continues on Tuesday when Jim asks if Indonesia can break its old reliance on exporting raw materials to realise the potential of a huge, growing and rapidly urbanising population. On Wednesday he turns his attention to Nigeria, a nation of young, vibrant, natural entrepreneurs, but can they overcome decades of corruption, crime and mismanagement? Finally, he visits Turkey and assesses the country’s ambition of becoming a world-class exporter, no longer dependent on its advantageous location.

Three of the mainstays of the Radio 4 schedule – Woman’s Hour, Front Row and Today – will also be lending their powers of analysis through the week by focusing on different aspects of the MINT societies, ranging from arts, culture and entertainment to religion, education and civil liberties.

Presenter/ Jim O’Neill, Producers/ Mike Gallagher and Andrew Bomford for the BBC

BBC Radio 4 Publicity