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2050:  Which Countries Will be Most Populous?

By Shlomo Maital

 Indian people

     Forecasting 2050?   That’s 35 years from now – in today’s world, impossible to predict what the world will be like then, right?   Except for one thing – population.  Demographers are pretty good at forecasting population trends.  Here is Bloomberg’s report, based on a study by the Population Reference Bureau.

     Today:   The world’s most populous country is China, with nearly 1.4 billion people.   A very close second is India, with almost 1.3 billion.   Third is America, at 340 million, followed closely by Indonesia, with some 230 million.   Fifth, Brazil, and sixth Pakistan, both around 200 million.  Seventh, Nigeria, 180 million; Eighth, Bangladesh, 150 million, followed by Russia and Mexico.

      2050:  India will be the world’s most populous country by far,  at 1.65 billion.  China’s population will actually decline (owing to the one-child policy),  to just below 1.4 billion. 

U.S. will be third, at 400 m., with Hispanics providing much of the growth,  in a tie with Nigeria.  Fifth, Indonesia, followed by Pakistan, and Brazil, at just over 200 m.     Bangladesh will be 8th.  A surprising 9th will be Congo, with close to 200 m., and 10th, Ethiopia,  at about 180 million.   Russia will not be in the top 10, as its birth rate is far below replacement. So is Japan’s. 

    In other words, three of the 10 most populous countries in the world will be African by 2050.   The world may do well to begin thinking now about how Africa will feed its growing population, and how the world can help it prepare to do so.   Perhaps India as well. 

BRIC is so 2013! Now It’s…Want to make a MINT?

By Shlomo  Maital



       There’s nothing like a good acronym to catch the eye of those seeking new places to make money.  That’s why Jim O’Neill, former head of asset management at Goldman, Sachs, coined the term BRIC 13 years ago – Brazil, Russia, India, China – to name the four up-and-coming nations.  He got China right. Brazil is struggling. So is India.  Russia still doesn’t have a true economy other than oil and gas.  So – one out of four.  Pretty good, for a global banker.

   Now comes a new acronym.  Remember it:  MINT.  Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey.   If you want to make a MINT, then invest in MINT.  According to    

     ‘If they get their act together, they’ve got the ability to get so much bigger,’ said O’Neill of the MINT countries.  It will be the subject of an upcoming BBC radio series, MINT: The Next Economic Giants.   ‘If not as big as the BRICs, then not that far off.’    Mexico, O’Neill argues, previously lost out to China on cheap exports and labour. But with wages increasing in China, Mexico can capitalise, especially with its proximity to the US.  ‘It’s probably the most competitive OECD country at the moment,’ said O’Neill. ‘And these guys have a bunch of young reformers who make Maggie Thatcher look like a pussycat.’

O’Neill argues convincingly that Nigeria is THE MINT country to watch:

“Indonesia has a chance to boom, like Mexico, because of a large, willing workforce and a rapidly urbanising population, said O’Neill. ‘There are 240m of them in Indonesia, the third largest populated country in the world.’  Turkey, meanwhile, benefits from its geographical position between East and West and ‘because they know how to deal with us in the West, with the Middle East, with the Russians’.   But the most exciting MINT country is Nigeria. ‘The place is complete madness, of course, and one can’t be 100 per cent sure, given its challenges, that it will be one country in four years. But after India, it’s the best in the world in terms of useful population. By 2050, Nigeria will have more people than the United States. If you get those young people in productive jobs, that place will arguably be the most exciting country in the world in the next 30 years. Linked to that, there are so many creative entrepreneurs there and, interestingly, so many educated Nigerians returning from the US because they smell this opportunity to be the next big thing.’ Nigeria is also rich in resources, including oil.

  There are at least two ways to take Jim O’Neill’s acronym.   1.  Given his 1 out of 4 record in the past:  Search elsewhere.  Or 2.  Bet big time on Nigeria.  

    What are your thoughts, readers?  

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital