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Mongolia wants to be the Switzerland of Asia

Article - September 21, 2012
Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag explains the investment opportunities his country offers
NOROVYN ALTANKHUYAG, PRIME MINISTER OF MONGOLIA
With a booming economy and vast mineral resources, Mongolia is poised to become the next Asian Tiger. The country had the second-fastest growth rate in the world last year after Qatar and is expected to grow at 15% this year and 19% next year, which would make it overall the fastest-growing country in the world. With massive reserves of copper, gold, silver and coal at the Ovu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi mines, Mongolia will be vital to the global energy and mineral markets once production at those sites commences. Furthermore, the country is an important exporter of rare earth elements (RREs), which are essential to the development of renewable energy and computer hardware equipment. Spurred on by the discoveries in mining, the economy is developing across the board, as infrastructure, services (banking and finance, tourism) and energy have seen massive investments in recent years.

Following the recent parliamentary elections in Mongolia, a new coalition government was formed, led by the Democratic Party. The key economic topics on the agenda of the Prime Minister (PM) Norovyn Altankhuyag are three: to generate income and create jobs, fight against corruption in order to create a responsible society and attract major investment projects.

For Mongolia to continue developing at the same rate – with annual GDP growth of  more than 15% - there is a great need for foreign investment. The newly-established Mongolian National Marketing Office is promoting the country as the Switzerland of Central Asia. Mr. Altankhuyag explained in an exclusive interview with Worldfolio that “major projects will be based on foreign and domestic investments through internal and external promotion.” Speaking of the opportunities that Mongolia offers, the Prime Minister explained that the economy   is “too dependent on mining. We are focusing on diversifying our economy to develop other sectors, such as agriculture (animal husbandry and crops). We are 100% focused on reducing imports of wheat. We have to sustain ourselves and support animal husbandry, which is a traditional sector. We are not just exporting commodities; we are also focusing on production to export finished products. We are 100% dependent on Russia in terms of oil, but we are planning to develop the oil sector in the country, including the construction of an oil refinery.”

“The Mongolian Oyu Tolgoi is considered to be a mega project. In the coming months, the overall effect will be apparent. Even though there have been some negative comments, the process is coming along well. I think this message will be a great sign for investors who want to invest in Mongolia,” he pointed out.

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