MONGOLIA GROWS METEORICALLY, IS EVERYONE BENEFITED?
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Mongolia is growing fast, and the growth trend is very earthshaking and appreciable. Just about 7 years ago, in 2004, the GDP per capita was at a poor US$638. By 2010’s end, that income level soared to $2,200 which practically qualifies Mongolia to the Middle Income Economy status.
Direct foreign investments or FDIs have likewise grown as the economy grew rapidly. Which means that investment climate has faired well, allowing Mongolia to flow with the Asian growth pattern. To cap it all, investments in mining have reached staggering proportions for this once sleeping nation.
The question we raise is: how far have the majority of Mongolians been benefiting from the growth trends? Will the Mongolian growth not follow a prosperity that is highly skewed towards the new elites, while the marginal herders and planters will continue to eke out a living in grinding poverty?
Below is a special report by the ADB about the subject.
[Philippines, 25 October 2011]
ADB President Kuroda: Mongolia's Development Should Benefit Everyone
10 October 2011
ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA – Mongolia has a bright future but needs to continue economic reform and ensure that the fruits of development are extended to all its people, Haruhiko Kuroda, President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said today.
Mr. Kuroda was speaking at the ADB-Mongolia Partnership Forum – A Roadmap for a Happy, Healthy, and Harmonious Mongolia – in Ulaanbaatar to mark 20 years of ADB-Mongolia partnership and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of ADB’s office in the country.
Mongolia is at “the threshold of prosperity” Mr. Kuroda said, noting that the Mongolian economy has grown by an average 7% a year since 2003, with the $4 billion Oyu Tolgoi mining agreement helping improve Mongolia’s economic prospects. Per capita gross domestic product has more than tripled to $2,200 in 2010 from $638 in 2004 and foreign direct investment has soared.
“While high economic growth is desirable, further efforts must be made to make economic growth more inclusive. This means ensuring that the benefits from high economic growth are distributed more broadly, and that people have equal access to opportunities and basic social services,” Mr. Kuroda said.
As of 2008, an estimated 35% of the population was still living below the official poverty line. Inequality remains high both within cities and between those living in urban areas and those in the countryside.
Mongolia’s longer-term future depends on how well it manages its mineral revenues. Mongolia must also promote policy and institutional reform anchored in good governance, and pursue closer integration with the global economy.
“This integration will help generate the private sector-led economic growth needed to sustain development,” Mr. Kuroda said.
Since Mongolia joined ADB in 1991, ADB has extended 45 loans totaling $794.7 million to Mongolia, as well as 12 Asian Development Fund grants of just over $170 million. ADB also provided technical assistance support amounting to $86 million and grants under the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction of $31.5 million.
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