Governance Key in Unlocking Mongolia’s Wealth
Governance was themain theme at the 2011 Mongolian Economic Forum held in Ulaanbaatar, as the country begins to come to terms with its newfound status as a major global player in critical resources.
The country, which only overthrew the heavily Soviet-influenced Mongolian People’s Republic in 1990, became a democracy soon afterwards and has sometimes struggled with the transition from decades of mismanagement to its new status as a resource rich state sandwiched between two superpowers – China and Russia. Yet as an increasing volume of massive mineral reserves –ranging from massive oil, coal and iron ore deposits to the world’s largest copper, rare earths and uranium reserves – the country is undergoing a transition that could either be a great success story or lead it to the alternative national path, trodden by other nations, of its natural wealth becoming a curse.
The event, an NGO-sponsored platform inaugurated last year, has attracted major players such as Peabody, Rio Tinto, TDB, Goldman Sachs, Tenger, the IFC among other international organisations (I attend in my regional capacity with the UNDP), foreign governments and related trade, investment and commercial organisations, in addition to the highest office of the Mongolian government. It is intended notas a showcase, but as a genuine and critical examination of where and how Mongolia should be developing its newfound, and extraordinary wealth. For a democratic nation of just 2.5 million people, this has major implications.
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