I decided to give Greece a try and started off with a few ideas in mind:
1. Colonize Africa
2. Retake Greater Greece eventually
My starting strategy are:
1. Annex Tunisia and Algiers
2. Attack Egypt and take as much land as I could when Ottoman declares war
3. NF Bureaucrats
That came off fine and I practically wiped Egypt off the map (while staying clear of Ottoman cores). After I got all the bureaucrats to 1%, I got a few hundred capitalists and then pumped clerks. Even with high poor tax, low tariffs, and zero middle tax, there's practically no promotion to clerks - zero - unless I NF the clerks.
And then here comes the awful part, Greece is perpetually stuck with a small accepted culture population and thus a grand total of 1 NF. So despite having large stretches of land, I am stuck with almost no development at all. I got some factories but a 0.03% clerk population despite using my only NF on it.
Ok, fine, so that means I need to retake the cores in the Ottoman Empire right? Well, thing is it is always either allied with Russia or Britain. I managed to sneak in an invasion while Britain was busy but France was the war leader and peaced out without enforcing my claims. And then by the time I was strong enough to take on Ottoman Empire alone, it was allied with France (who answered to call to arms anyway despite the big war with NGF) and it became a Great War - one that I could probably win with Britain and Austria but little chance of getting anything (Britain's the war leader and I can't get a separate peace with Ottoman Emprie).
As for the colonizing goal, I had some initial success by beelining the life rating techs. And then I saw Spain colonizing 4 states simultaneously. I have a cap of 5 NF, still have a NF score of 1.0, and my country had 5 million people. I can possibly reload, abuse the dumb A.I., and get Britain to attack its Asian spheres + China with me, but I've already done that in my past two games (without needing to abuse the A.I.).
Anyway, the deal-breaking for me in this particular game as a minor is the way NF is distributed. Not sure if others have similar beef.