CIVETS countries

It’s been over a decade since the acronym BRIC (used to describe the then emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China) was used, so it’s about time a new collection of markets were tipped as the next big bet for growth.

Former HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan coined the term CIVETS to describe Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa as the next generation of fast-growing economies. Geoghegan said: “Each has a large, young, growing population. Each has a diverse and dynamic economy. And each, in relative terms, is politically stable.” So if you’re looking for your next international trade destination, why not consider one of the following markets in your export plan?


Colombia is one of the UK’s 19 priority markets around the world, and one that the government aims to double bilateral trade with by 2015. At nearly five times the size of the UK, this large and diverse country offers opportunities in a wide range of sectors, particularly in the pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery and beverages sectors.

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As the world’s fourth most populous country, sixteenth most prosperous and the largest economy in South East Asia, Indonesia is a big country full of big opportunities. With a growing affluent middle class of around 45 million, the demand for quality goods is strong, which British businesses can certainly cater for.

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Vietnam has one of the most vibrant economies in Asia, second only to China. It has a large population of almost 89 million, of which over half is below the age of 30, creating a culture of enterprise, which the UK government has recognised as an opportunity. With the aim to boost bilateral trade and investment, the UK and Vietnam signed a Strategic Partnership agreement in 2010 where both countries agreed to explore new ways to access each other’s markets.

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Trade and investment between the UK and Egypt is promising and UKTI has identified opportunities across a wide range of sectors, including Education, Engineering, Oil & Gas and ICT. It is strategically located in the centre of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and bridges the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe, making it a hub for international trade between the regions.

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Turkey is an intriguing market for British businesses. Sitting at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, it opens up a wide range of opportunities to reach different markets with very different needs and requirements. And with its drive towards full European Union membership in full swing, UKTI predicts the Turkish economy will be the second-fastest growing economy in the world by 2018.

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South Africa

Although South Africa can be classified as part of the BRICS, Geoghegan thought the nation was best placed as part of his CIVETS group due to its young population and growing economy. A diverse country with numerous origins, cultures and languages, South Africa offers opportunities in a range of sectors. The UK has a long history of trading with South Africa and is one of the country’s most prominent trading partners with bilateral trade reaching over £7 billion.

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Also have a look at our BRIC and MINT pages for more information on emerging markets.