A decade ago, Goldman Sachs economist, Jim O’Neill, coined the famous acronym, BRIC to stand for the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. O’Neill viewed these countries as the engine for economic growth, but after some time, his tastes have changed.

MINT is the new flavor of future global growth, according to O’Neill. The acronym MINT represents the countries of  Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. Zawya, a Middle East business, industry and investment news source, states, "[The countries] all have very favorable demographics for at least the next 20 years, and their economic prospects are interesting."

Nigeria stands out amongst the listed countries as having the most potential. The nation emerged in 2012 as an investment powerhouse, boasting Africa’s top foreign direct investment with $8.9 billion USD.  According to Zawya, “Standard Chartered estimates that Nigeria is only second to China in terms of cumulative real GDP growth (in local currency terms) since 2008. The country economy has grown by approximately 50% during the period, next to China's 53% growth.”

Nigeria is projected to become the third-most populated country in the world by 2035, behind India and China. The demographics of the nation provide a stable foundation for a domestic-driven economy.

There is much work to be done before Nigeria can reach its potential.  Goldman Sachs states that, “While growth will likely remaining inherently unbalanced geographically for some time, Nigeria can ensure enhanced opportunities for its citizens through meeting basic standards in service delivery in education, health, and social assistance.”

For more on MINT and the future of Nigeria, view the full article here.

If you are a service provider or carrier connected with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), prepare for some upgrades! The CBSA announced on 16 January 2014, that they will be making system enhancements in order to bring it up to more modern standards. If you’re connected with any of these systems, you’ll need to modernize as well.

The new functionalities of the upgrade won’t be available until July 2014. Carriers and providers will have one year from the determined date to transition their systems from the old to the new. The American Shipper states that the newer, more modern system will assess risks as a single unit when determining admission into Canada for goods and people.

According to CBSA, “one major change is that RNS messages will be replaced by new messages known as ‘completeness notices,’ which are pre-arrival notices; ‘disposition notices’ will also be introduced, which are post-arrival notices.”

More functionalities will be included in the upgrades which also aim to comply with the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) standards.

On January 26, the World Customs Organization (WCO) recognized International Customs Day (ICD). On ICD, Customs administrations of 179 Member States of the WCO commemorate the first session of the Customs Co-Operation Council, later renamed the WCO, which took place on January 26, 1953. The day also recognizes the importance of the roles that customs officials and agencies play in maintaining border security.

Each year, a different theme is chosen to highlight the significance of the business partnership approach. The chosen theme for 2014 is “Communication.” 2014, heralded as the “Year of Communication,” focuses on the WCO’s efforts to increase and improve communication strategies and worldwide outreach programs.

The WCO states, “Under the slogan ‘Communication: sharing information for better cooperation,’ we are signaling our aspiration to do more at the national, regional and international level to raise awareness of the vital role Customs plays in international trade, economic prosperity and social development.”

The WCO commends its efforts to better communicate, which it says includes, “national Customs websites, specialized magazines, media outreach and social networks.”

Special focus is also placed on expanding communication with WCO stakeholders and partners and effectively listening and responding to feedback.

Click here to view the official ICD Message from the WCO.