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Life Beyond the US & Eurozone (1/3)
A Look at the Next Eleven, Frontier Markets, & Tau Index Leaders

(This is Part 1 of a three-part story. Part 2. Part 3.)

With a sluggish US economy and Eurozone concerns continuing to sap the confidence of corporations and investors, the search for opportunity other parts of the world continues to intensify. This is as true for IT managers tasked with finding sources as it is for executives seeking new markets.

The so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have offered opportunities in natural resources, infrastructure, and consumer markets in recent years, but these markets are hardly a secret anymore. Many people and companies today are searching "beyond the BRICS."

N11 & Frontier Markets
Two groups of countries have emerged in recent years. The first is known as the Next Eleven (or N11), and was created by James O'Neill at the London office of Goldman Sachs, the same person who created the BRICS designation.

N11 countries must have sufficient population and potential economic heft to merit the notion of entering the world's largest economies. They are in widely divergent stages of development.

Members include:

  • highly developed South Korea

  • less-developed Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, and Vietnam

  • "least-developed" Bangladesh and Nigeria.

Clearly, investing in many of these countries is not for the squeamish, and investing in Iran is, of course, illegal for American companies and individuals.

Members of the the second group are known as Frontier Markets, and change annually. This designation first appeared in 1992, coined by Farida Khambata of the International Finance Corp., part of the Washington, DC-based World Bank.

The database is now owned by Standard & Poor's, which publishes an index of key companies in these markets; competing indices have sprung up as well.

A large population (and its consequent, potential economic heft) is not a criterion for this group, so a number of smaller countries are included in it. (I've listed the current group of Frontier-Market countries, along with the Next Eleven mentioned above and Tau Index countries mentioned below.)

Frontier Markets can remind one of the admonition about Russia shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union: "if you have $100,000 to invest, invest it in Russia. If you have $1 million to invest, invest $100,000 in Russia."

N11 and Frontier-Market investors are seeking high returns, to be sure, but over a long term. An expectation of short-term volatility (even catastrophe) is built-in. But over a term of say, one or two decades, investments in Frontier Markets are expected to grow much more rapidly than a similar bet in a highly developed, stable, conservative environment.

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About Roger Strukhoff
Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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