Monday, April 14, 2014

[Aspire rail gets funding interest, Q1 trade deficit near zero, Hagel pledges more military aid, and Baz bringing Gran Melia to UB]

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Monday, April 14, 2014

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Overseas Market

AKM closed +24.32% to A$0.046 Friday on the announcement

Aspire Mining's Ovoot on the express line with rail funding EOI's in Mongolia

April 11 (Proactive Investors) Aspire Mining's (ASX: AKM) Ovoot Coking Coal Project could take a major step forward after it received several non-binding Expressions of Interest totalling US$1.3 billion for financing of the key Northern Rail Line in Mongolia.

Binding rail funding and grant of a rail concession would unlock the riches of the Ovoot project, which has coal quality comparable with the best in the world.

The US$1.3 billion in EOIs meets the capital expenditure estimate highlighted in the Rail Pre-Feasibility Study completed by SMEC International in April 2013.

This is interesting given that a follow-up report in September 2013 had identified potential capital expenditure savings by taking a more direct route further to the south for the proposed rail line.

The EOIs were sourced by Aspire from a number of financial institutions and the Noble Group as part of its ongoing discussions with the Government of Mongolia in relation to the grant of a rail concession.

While the EOIs are non-binding, they indicate a broad interest to fund the Northern Rail Line and the company intends to commence definitive financing negotiations immediately upon the grant of a rail concession.

Northern Rail Line

The proposed multi-use Northern Rail Line is a key requirement for commercialising the Ovoot project in the Khuvsgul province in northern Mongolia.

It is the focus of Northern Railways LLC, Aspire's Mongolian infrastructure subsidiary which seeks to extend the Trans-Mongolian Railway from its current terminus at Erdenet through to Ovoot.

The Northern Rail Line will be multiuse, providing an alternative, cheaper and environmentally friendly transport solution for agricultural products, general freight, bulk materials and passengers.

Besides serving the Ovoot project, the Northern Rail Line will assist the sustainable long term growth of local industry and the economy through the creation of jobs, resource and small-medium business development, and export opportunities.

Aspire had in April 2013 received a Rail Pre-Feasibility Study Revision from SMEC International confirming that it could save US$200 million on the Northern Rail Line to US$1.3 billion by taking a more direct route further to the south.

It also highlighted the potential for further capital expenditure cost savings by de-rating haulage capacity from 22 million tonnes per annum to an initial starting capacity of between 10Mtpa and 12Mtpa.

A follow-up report in September confirmed the viability of the project from an engineering and railway operational aspect.

This also noted that some minor changes to the alignment would eliminate major river crossings and the associated bridges while taking the more direct southern route would allow Aspire to take advantage of widespread  sources of ballast.

Ovoot Coking Coal Project


There is strong momentum building for Aspire Mining's Ovoot Coking Coal Project with the US$1.3 billion in non-binding Expressions of Interest representing a massive step towards progressing the Northern Rail Line that would link the project with the existing Trans-Mongolian Railway.

Ovoot has coal that ranks amongst the best in the world. This includes a superior blend carrying capacity that can add significant value to Tavan Tolgoi's low and non-coking coals.

Coupled with the increased recognition from this week's recognition as a key supplier of raw materials to the Mongolian Government owned Sainshand Park and confirmation that power is easily available to the project under its non-binding Letter of Intent with the coal-fired Zavkhan Power Plant, Aspire is clearly running at full steam for Ovoot.

Binding rail funding and grant of a rail concession would unlock the economic riches and returns of Ovoot and send the Aspire Mining valuation sky-bound.  The EOI's are value accretive as they are with a number of financial institutions and the Noble Group.  With the new momentum is opportunity and we see potential share price upside to $0.07 - $0.075.

Link to article

Link to AKM release

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Local Market

MSE News for April 11: Top 20 -0.83%, Turnover 123.5 Million

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Friday, a total of 216 thousand and 968 shares of 19 JSCs were traded costing MNT 123 million 510 thousand and 516.00.

"Bayankhairkhan" /200 thousand units/, "Moninjbar" /5,695 units/, "Remikon" /3,336 units/, "Tavantolgoi" /1,562 units/ and "APU" /1,559 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Bayankhairkhan" (MNT 100 million), "Tavantolgoi" (MNT eight million 024 thousand and 780), "APU" (MNT six million and 800), "Moninjbar" (MNT one million 651 thousand and 550) and "BDSec" (MNT one million and 614 thousand).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 600 billion 931 million 296 thousand and 518. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,809.70, decreasing by MNT 131.89 or 0.83% against the previous day.

Link to article



April 11 (MSE) On 10 April 2014, "Merex" JSC's IPO (MSE: MRX) was successfully traded at the primary market of MSE through electronic trading system according resolution of FRC. "Merex" JSC was sold 26 million shares to the public at MNT100 per share.

Founded in 2012, "Merex" JSC is operate in foreign trade and construction materials field, and it is building a concrete mixture factory with a mark TW-2500, which was manufactured in Republic of Korea and with a capacity of producing 150 cubic meters concrete per hour in Ulaanbaatar.

MSE member firm "Standard Investment" LLC was working as an underwriter. "Merex" JSC became 14th company who offered IPO to the public through MSE since 2005

Link to release


Takhiko Files 2013 Financial Brief: 1.08 Billion Revenue, 281.5 Million Profit, 167.2 Million Taxes Paid

April 8 (MSE) Joint stock companies are obligated to provide the operation brief report before April 1st, semi-annual financial statement before August 1st through website of MSE due to the "Regulation for JSC to continuously provide information to the public" which approved by decree No.505 of FRC on 12 December 2013.

Due to above obligation, "Takhiko" JSC has submitted brief financial statement to MSE. In 2013, the company convened the shareholders meeting 2 times and the Board of Directors meeting 8 times respectively. 

The company submitted financial statement in reporting period, with total income of MNT 1,078,657,600.00, net profit of MNT281,547,300.00 and taxed MNT167,153,800.00 to the state budget

Please click here to view "Takhiko" JSC's operational brief report.   

Link to release


11 MSE Companies Announce Dividends Totaling 3.08 Billion

April 7 (MSE) When company earns a profit or surplus, the company makes decision to either re-invest in its business branching, or can distribute as a dividend to shareholders within financial term. Most of MSE listed public companies faces this decision.  

As stated in Company Law, the company could pay the dividend to shareholders by cash, properties or stocks. The Board of Director /in its absence, the shareholder meeting/ shall have to be considered and resolved matter of distribution of dividends to the shareholders within 50 days of the end of the financial year.

As of 31 March 2014, 44 joint stock companies out of total 249 have discussed about dividend in their Board of Director meeting, resulting 11 of them decided to distribute dividend to their shareholders. Following 11 companies declared to distribute dividend.

1.    "Gazar Suljmel" JSC, MNT7233.39 per share
2.    "Bayangol Hotel" JSC, MNT355 per share
3.    "Technic Import" JSC, MNT200 per share
4.    "Govi" JSC, MNT130 per share
5.    "Talkh Chikher" JSC, MNT110 per share
6.    "Makh Impex" JSC, MNT100 per share
7.    "TakhiKo" JSC, MNT 65 per share
8.    "BDSec" JSC, MNT11.78 per share
9.    "Achit Alkaby" JSC, MNT10 per share
10.    "Hermes Center" JSC, MNT5.82 per share
11.    "Erdenet Suvarga" JSC, MNT5 per share

Total of 108 joint stock companies submitted their financial reports of 2013 to MSE. 54 joint stock companies reported net profit and 11 of them decided to distribute dividend of MNT3.08 billion to shareholders. 

Please click here to view more information.

Link to release


Acting MSE CEO Meets Brokerage Firms on Ways to Overcome Current Economic Crisis

April 11 (MSE) On 9 April 2014, the meeting with brokerage companies took a place by the initiative of the acting CEO of MSE D.Bolormaa.

The meeting was held at MSE with total of 40 representatives from Mongolian Stock Exchange, brokerage companies, and market participants. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss opinions on how to get over from capital market pressure during current economic difficulties of Mongolia.

During the meeting, the participants discussed over recent market developments and addressed the current market issues. 

Link to release


Interview with James Passin, Firebird Management

March 31 (Mines & Money) We spoke to James Passin of Firebird Management about Mongolian mining and the opportunities it presents for investors

Link to video

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MNT historic low v. USD: 1,787.59, February 27, 2014

BoM MNT Rates: April 11 Close





































April MNT Chart:


Link to rates


BoM FX auction: US$6.5 million at 1,781.1, CNY8 million at 286.02, accepted US$30.5 million MNT, CNY20 million CNY swap offers

April 10 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on April 10th, 2014 the BOM has received from local commercial banks bid offer of 13.7 million USD and 8 million CNY. The BOM has sold 6.5 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1781.10 and 8 million CNY as closing rate of 286.02.

On April 10th, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement offer in equivalent to 30.5 million USD and CNY Swap agreement offer of 20 million CNY from local commercial banks and accepted all offer.

See also:

·         FX Auction Statistics

Link to release


BoM issues 353.1 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -5.8% to 878.5 billion

April 9 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 353.1 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


GoM Treasury Auction: Announced 20 Billion 28-Week Bills Sold at Discount, Average 10.5% Yield with 38 Billion Bids

April 9 (Bank of Mongolia) Regular auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 20.0 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 20.0 billion /out of 38.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 10.50%.

Link to release


GoM Bond Auction: 2 Billion 10-Year 14.25% Bills Sold at Premium, Average Yield 17.5%, from Announced 10 Billion

April 9 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 10 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 10 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 2.0 billion /out of 2.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at premium price and with weighted average yield of 17.50%.

Link to release


Mongolia First Quarter Trade Deficit Plunges to $9.1m Y/y

By Michael Kohn

April 11 (Bloomberg) -- Trade deficit of $9.1m in the first quarter of 2014 compares to $395.8m yr earlier, the National Statistical Office says today in statement.

* Mongolia's exports increased 22% Y/y to $986.9m for the first three months of this year, according to a release from the National Statistics Office.

* Imports decreased 17.3% to $996m in the first three months, according to the agency.

* In March, CPI increased 0.8% compared with the previous month and 12.4% compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the agency.

* Outstanding loans at the end of March reached 11.3t tugrik, an increase of 2% compared to the previous month and 54.1% compared to the same period a yr earlier, according to the agency.

* Non-performing loans in the banking sector reached 594.5b tugrik, a 92.6% increase compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the agency.

(Bloomberg First Word)


TRQ closed -1.41% to US$3.50 Friday

Oyu Tolgoi Helps Boost Monglia Copper Concentrate Exports by 53%

By Michael Kohn

April 11 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's copper concentrate exports increased to 214,100 tons from 140,000 tons a year earlier, National Statistics Office says on its website. The Oyu Tolgoi mine began commercial production of copper concentrate in July.

* Mongolia exported 3.74m tons of coal in the first three months compared to 3.44m tons a year earlier, according to the agency.

* Mongolia exported 908,600 tons of iron ore in first three months compared to 1.12m tons a year earlier, according to the agency.

* Gold exports rose to 2.2 tons in the first three months compared to 1 ton in the same period a year earlier, according to the statement.

* Total exports reached $986.9m in the first three months compared to $809.1 a year earlier, according to the agency.

(Bloomberg First Word)


Examining Mongolia's Debt

By Brian White

April 13 (The Mongolist) Speaker of Parliament Z. Enkhbold recently provided another tweet worth examining in detail. He posted a graph showing "Total debt-to-GDP ratios in select countries." Mongolia was not one of the select countries in the graph, and the Speaker facetiously noted that "It seems we have no debt." At least I hope he was being facetious, because the truth is quite the opposite.

Total debt is all public and private, foreign and domestic debt that is held by a country and its citizens. In the graph above, it shows the average "developed economy" ratio as 347 percent. For an "emerging economy" like Mongolia, the average is 157 percent of GDP. The graph does not address this, but presumably developed economies on average are able to acquire and sustain much higher debt loads given lower terms of borrowing available in those economies. Take a local credit union in Madison, Wisconsin and a local bank in Ulaanbaatar as examples.1 The credit union currently offers a 2.4 annual percentage rate for an auto loan. A similar loan from a Mongolian bank costs 14.4 per annum in interest. It's generally cheaper to borrow in developed economies than emerging economies, but of course that does not necessarily mean high volumes of borrowing are recommended or sustainable.

Using data from the Bank of Mongolia and the World Bank, I set out to create a total debt profile for Mongolia to see where it would appear in Speaker Enkhbold's graph. The data available is mostly current values rather than values adjusted for inflation or exchange rate fluctuations. The aim is to see the proportional spread between debt and income each year, so current values should be sufficient to achieve this aim.

Starting with external public debt (i.e. foreign debt held by the government), the debt-to-GDP ratio is plotted for years 2006 to 2013 in the graph below.2, 3 External public debt spiked above 40 percent of GDP in 2006, 2009, and 2012, and it remained above that level in 2013. The 2009 currency crisis spurred on the adoption of a Fiscal Stability Law which bars the government from exceeding a debt-to-GDP ratio of 40 percent.4 The law was legally enforceable in 2013 for the first time, yet the government breached that requirement (Mogi: the limit in 2013 was 50%, 2014 will have a 40% limit. Still, public debt is probably exceeded that, even though GoM claims it'll be 49.5%). It is likely to breach the requirement again in 2014 if economic conditions do not improve.

That shows us the public debt the government is carrying, but it is not Mongolia's total debt. Taking all external debt (public and private) and outstanding domestic loans (e.g. mortgages, car loans, pay day loans; etc) gets us closer to a total debt profile. Doing this we see debt in Mongolia has grown faster in the last few years than the country's income. The graph below shows if you add private external debt and domestic loans to the mix, Mongolia's debt-to-GDP ratio grew to approximately 227 percent in 2013.5 This puts Mongolia well above the emerging economy average, and it would place it between China (195 percent) and Thailand (251 percent) on the Speaker's graph.

It is important to note there may be other forms of debt not accounted for in the graph below, so there is a potential for the rate to go higher with a more exhaustive data collection. Conversely, the GDP estimate for 2013 was derived by increasing the 2012 estimate by the official real GDP growth rate of 11.7 percent, but the nominal value may be higher, potentially driving the ratio down. The key point, however, is that in spite of these limitations of the data, Mongolia is unambiguously above average for an emerging economy given the mathematical ranges involved.

Debt, of course, is not all bad. In fact, if you can borrow money and utilize it to purchase or build income generating assets, you can even claim that debt is quite positive. In Mongolia's case, it is difficult to know from the data used in this analysis whether the significant increase in public and private debt over the last few years has been good or bad. That subjective point aside, however, an objective test is whether an economy has the capacity to repay the debt. The long-term potential of the Mongolian economy is still quite good if the political and policy environment can consistently improve, so the billion dollar question is whether it also has the oomph to avoid insolvency in the short-term. Whatever the conclusion, Mongolia definitely has debt, and an above average amount of it relative to its income.

1. See advertised rates for UWCU at and for Khan Bank at
2. All debt and GDP numbers are nominal (i.e. current) figures.
3. Note that the 2013 nominal GDP total was estimated by increasing the 2012 nominal total by 11.7 percent.
4. See section 6.1.4 in the Fiscal Stability Law here:
5. Domestic loan balances were converted to dollar totals using the average exchange rate for the given year using historical rates here:

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MPP holds peaceful demonstration demanding end of dual cabinet/parliament memberships

April 11 ( The Mongolian People`s Party (MPP) held a peaceful demonstration at Chinggis Square (formerly Sukhbaatar Square) at 10.00 am yesterday, April 10th. 

Due to the opening of the Spring Session meeting of Parliament, the Reform Government is under severe attack from the opposition party in Parliament, MPP. MPP has criticized Parliament`s failure to control the government and held a demonstration protesting MPs from holding the position of cabinet minister at the same time

The bill is expected to be discussed today at the Spring plenary session meeting of Parliament, therefore the opposition party is urging the Parliament not to the allow the MPs who hold the position of cabinet minister at the same time to attend the poll.

The opposition also claims that the Reform Government is ignoring any suggestions and initiatives on politics, socio-economic challenging issues made by MPP. 

MPP urges the 17 cabinet ministers out of 19 in the Reform Government to reject holding the double position at the same time.

Link to article


Mongolia Learns from Swiss Fiscal Equalization System

April 11 ( On April 08, 2014, the Office of the President of Mongolia in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) organized a presentation and discussion entitled "Inter-Governmental Relations and Fiscal Equalization System" in Ulaanbaatar.

The event was held in the Citizen Hall of the Government House, where relevant officials from the Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Development, Members of Parliament and representatives from academia and civil society have gathered to learn about the Swiss model of fiscal equalization in comparison with the current system of inter-governmental fiscal transfers in Mongolia.

In his opening speech Citizen Participation and Economic Policy Advisor to the President L.Dashdorj said, "Decentralization, transfer of decision-making powers to the sub-national level and increased citizen engagement in public affairs were the key objectives in the policy agenda of the President Ts.Elbegdorj in his first tenure and in his second tenure, the President is promoting a policy of Smart Government in line with further decentralization and citizen-centred governance initiatives".

SDC's Deputy Director of Cooperation, Mr. Diepak Elmer, noted that Switzerland is honoured to share its experiences in direct democracy and decentralization, and commended Mongolia for its remarkable advancements in its decentralization reform. "We expect that this event will kick-start a debate on the kind of Inter-Governmental Relations and Fiscal Equalization System that Mongolia wants to have", he said.

The first presentation by Associate Prof. L.Ariunaa, Head of the Economics and Finance Department of the National Academy of Governance, described the current fiscal transfer system in Mongolia, highlighting the main challenges and proposing potential remedial actions. Prof. L.Ariunaa holds a PhD from the University of Potsdam (Germany) and is one of the national scholars who studied the issues of fiscal transfer system in Mongolia in-depth as the topic of her doctoral dissertation was "Fiscal federalism and decentralization in Mongolia" (2010).

The international expert in Fiscal Federalism, Public Management & Finance, Professor Dr. Stefan Pfaeffli from the School of Business of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Switzerland), presented the benefits and challenges of fiscal equalization in general and explained the specificities of the Swiss model of inter-governmental relations.

Following the presentations, the participants expressed their opinions regarding the challenges of the current system of fiscal relations in Mongolia and asked further questions about the Swiss tax system, distribution of functions between the confederation, cantons and municipalities, and about the Swiss experience of inter-cantonal collaboration.

Concluding the event, Advisor L.Dashdorj conveyed the President's appreciation to the Swiss Government for continued and highly efficient support in implementation of decentralization reform in Mongolia.

Link to article


Former Mongolia Prime Minister to Speak at Institute Fund Summit 2014 Asia

April 11 (Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute) The Honorable Amarjargal Rinchinnyam will deliver a keynote speech at the Institute Fund Summit 2014 Asia at The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. Amarjargal is the former Prime Minister of Mongolia and currently serves as a member of the country's parliament. Mongolia has tremendous mining wealth, derived mostly from coal, copper, molybdenum and gold, and its approximately 2.8 million citizens rely heavily on the mining and agricultural sectors for prosperity.

In 2010, Mongolia passed the Fiscal Stability Law followed by the Integrated Budget Law in 2011, which provides comprehensive principles and guidance for the budgeting process.

Event Site:, Request Agenda:, Questions: Autumn Reed,

Link to article


Privatizing Mongolia: Interview with Chairman of State Property Committee

Ulaanbaatar State Property Committee Head Office - 20.01.2014

March 2014 (Worldfolio) With Mongolia's transition from a communist society to a democratic one, since it was founded in 1996, the State Property Committee (SPC) has been in charge of protecting, maintaining, utilizing and finally privatizing the state's many assets. Having privatized over 1000 properties in total since its establishment, Chairman of the SPC Damshnamjil Tsogtbaatar talks to United World about plans for the future of the committee, including the President's goal to eventually privatize one third of state owned properties

The first thing we would like you to speak about is of the tremendous transformation of Mongolia since its transition towards democracy and how all this economic growth has been transformed into social welfare policies. 

We all know that our previous society or communist society was a closed one (Kazarm Culture). 

At that time everyone had a matching hat, identical coat and clothes furthermore numerous acts were prohibited including one of the most important one - freedom of speech. Anyone who expressed their opinion and mind for the sake of the country were repressed. And one of the critical elements of freedom is private property and by not supporting privatization the country lost valuable time to grow and flourish - a country's growth is calculated by its citizen's growth. 

Previously it was calculated by the economic growth but nowadays it's measured by the people's growth.  Many forward thinking scientists, professors and various specialists of different sectors, individuals who expressed their thought was punished for their deed. Thus we are 80 or even 100 years behind compared to developed countries. The transitional era of changing into Democracy from Communism brought breeze of change of people's mentality. 

This change was the stepping-stone towards a more sophisticated society and the political transformation evolved harmoniously. As a result of Democracy, Mongolians have once again obtained their freedom, private property; its road to prosperity and most importantly got back their country.  This is the main achievement of adopting Democracy.  

As a public officer and servant of this nation, can you please enlighten us on the fight against corruption and how SPC is carrying out this battle into its different institutions for the effective management of Mongolia's SOEs?  

The most important factor for a governmental institution is management and its legal environment. Democracy is nothing close to anarchy; it is a carefully structured for an efficient management. It follows its standard, which have been agreed however with minimal bureaucracy, quick and efficient service which are aimed in helping the public.

In other words, when a citizen requires information from the government, the serving public officer should contact any relevant department, which will aid the citizen in achieving what he needs. 

This can be the tax authority, legal authority or any other department but at the end all department should work together to satisfy the public demand. This is an expression of how the government is respecting its citizen and individuals have to feel the equality and their rights. It is possible to say there is democracy and freedom running through my veins and this is what I respect and hold dear.  

Government institutions have to have clear vision and policies, in other words all ministries have to have a clear policy. If these milestone and policies are not in position, government institutions start getting involved excessively in commercial daily activities and minister's start thinking in business terms and they end-conducting business on behalf of the government. 

Policy makers should strictly stick with policy making and the private sectors should carry out their business. Intersection of these two different activities gives rise to corruption and bureaucracy. 

Thus public servants role and responsibility should be accordance to a standard, it has to be precise and give importance to the skills of their human resource and how to improve them and finally manage their internal resources efficiently to achieve maximum efficiency. Since democracy politicians looked at public property as a business opportunity, they have took advantage of using it for themselves and thus resulted in many public companies to be running at loss. So since I got into this position for the first 1-month conducing checks on all public property the way it felt about the public sector is almost same as it was hit by a Tsunami. 

Many of the state companies were supplied with services and products for staggering prices and as a result most of them were struggling to survive and most of them were making loss. Also many of the assets were purchased for high prices thus it will make loss even when sold and cannot be used which means they have turned into dead assets.  

What is the vision and mission of State Property Committee and as its chairman how are you transforming this institution to make it efficient and profitable?  

When the State Property Committee was founded in 1996 it had to follow all the legislation in a Democratic structure for urban and suburban areas. 

In other words, the SPC had the responsibility of protecting, maintaining and utilizing the state assets and had to report all the belongings on a state scale and finally grow it. Reports and checkups were conducted every four years and the last report was conducted in 2012, and from the final report state property was estimated at a value of 14 trillion tugriks worth of assets. The previous Communist society and the current Democratic society differ in many ways. 

One of the main differences of Communist society is that the state property is immobile and does not grow and the role of the SPC is only to protect it. Current SPC however privatize state properties to public and as a result the private sector uses these assets to make profit improve and evolve them. In 1996, there was a period of mass state property privatization. And every 3-4 years the SPC offer the parliament what they consider to be privatized. 

During these periods, average of 40-50 billion tugriks worth of state property was being privatized to private sector and the total worth of state sale reached 173 billion tugriks. Only from 1996 to 1999 total of 926 entities were privatized and this was the peak era of mass privatization and until now total of around 1000 entities have successfully sold to private sectors. The question remains how the income from selling private property will be spent. 

Will the government spend this money or should it make transformation in all their institutions. As I mentioned before, the public also should adapt to this democratic, free market mentality and the people should participate as much as they in the process of privatization. One of the method of privatization is the state owned companies should release stock on the Mongolian Stock exchange and the public can purchase these shares. 

Once the public owns the shares, authorities' control of the power should shift to the shareholders or the citizens who will then tend and monitor the company's activities. 

During the last International summit in Hong Kong, President Elbegdorj said that he wants to privatize one third of the current state owned companies. So we would like to know what is the current situation of these state owned companies and how are they being privatized?   

This is definitely a major goal and a critical problem, which the government should address, and as the founder of the modern Democracy of Mongolia President Elbegdorj has pin pointed and summarized the issue in a single vision. Moving from big government to a smart government should be the aim and during the President's visit to Hong Kong and Singapore Elbegdorj specifically brought me, the head of SPC. 

Probably to show how other nations are carrying out successful management of state property and how Mongolian SPC should change their structure. Singapore's Temasec structure can be a role model for Mongolia. 

Mr. Tsogtbaatar, you mentioned freedom of the market and the President has been looking for examples in Hong Kong and Singapore. In your opinion how does he evaluate foreign investors' participation in this process of privatizing the companies, particularly the United States?  

Mongolian government should support its companies and make them economically strong and competitive. 

Consequently the improvement in private sectors will translate to the economical growth of the country. State owned companies especially mining and energy companies have outdated technology even with the current improvements, which cost the state massive amounts of resources. So the main role of foreign investor are helping these sectors to improve their technology and making them more productive and get involved in the privatization process by purchasing additional shares which will be released from the state companies. 

During the open economy numerous transformations has occurred and we will improve the management further and foreign investors should help in these matters as well. Our country is open to any country that would like to collaborate, especially the United States and China. 

Do you have any partnership or collaboration with the United States?  

As I know now, not a lot of the state companies are working on any major project with the United States however we do have cooperation with the Japanese, Canadians, Australians, Koreans, Germans and Chinese in regards to improve our technology. 

Our market is relatively small but as for other sectors excluding the state companies much cooperation is carried out with the United States including health, tourism. America has influences in many different industries in the world, as well as in Mongolia, but when it comes to SBC it hasn't been cooperating a lot. Also possible I may not know all of the involvements. As you know in mining there has been significantly more presence of Americans, e.g., OT, TT. 

So everyone have his or her little babies. The companies, which are most significant and representative of the economy now, under your administration era, which are the most representative state owned companies?

There are companies that are operating at a loss. The reasons for this are that they have internal and external influences hence making a loss. For example, energy companies, mining companies. Energy companies produce and supply. There are about 20 of them. The bigger companies are TETS-4, TETS-3. From mining companies, there is Baganuur, and joint ventures of Erdenet Mining Corporation. 

I would like to thank you very much for receiving us today and for letting us discover another hero of the Mongolian history.

Yes, we are a trace or real Mongolian history. When I was a boy, I have seen life. In other countries, through cinema and literature they educate people of their past. One of the important things in Mongolia is to document what really has happened and to establish that it was in fact genocide. 600 skeletons buried under ground were discovered from a single spot. 17,000 Buddhist monks were politically accused, of which 14,000 has instantly been executed, and this has later been discovered in 2003. Therefore, we have to prove and establish this in the history for what had really happened. 

The socialist party has been in power for so many years that because this happened during their reign they've been not admitting this. One of my biggest aspirations for me is to have this admitted into history for its facts, so the people of Mongolia, those who have and have not experienced this unfortunate event, will learn from the past and prevent such actions in the future.

The worlds known cases were the Jewish and Armenians. They both acknowledged and established that what happened was indeed genocide.   

So we would like to thank you and hope to be the platform for you to promote your cause.

We have a saying in Mongolia that our state owned and state joint ventured companies are like "horns in a sack", they do not collaborate. So we have been taking initiative in order to smoothen the operations of these companies and fix their issues. For example, in Darkhan, we have enabled and encouraged their local steel factory to cooperate with Erdenet factory. They have to produce 20,000 ton steel balls annually. Normally during the winter the production stops, but if they cooperate they don't have to stop. This cooperation saves Erdenet factory four million dollars a year.

If this happened earlier, like if you calculate this for 20 years, it's over a hundred million dollars that has been spent overseas, but now thanks to our initiative this will not happen in the future. 

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Melia Hotels International brings Spanish luxury to Mongolia with the opening of Gran Melia Ulaanbaatar

·         The company signs its 1st property in Mongolia, 18th hotel in Asia Pacific

·         Gran Melia Ulaanbaatar will become the 13th Gran Melia hotel worldwide, bringing its timeless and passionate luxury to the Mongolian capital

·         Includes a new country in his hotel portfolio, operating hotels in China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam for more than 28 years

April 10 (Melia Hotels International) Baz International and Melia Hotels International signed an agreement for management of the newly-built Gran Melia Ulaanbaatar. The 150-room hotel, to be added to the Gran Melia Hotels & Resorts luxury portfolio, is scheduled to be open in 2017. 

Located at the top 12 floors of the newest skyscraper in Ulaanbaatar, it will count with a rooftop restaurant and helipad, and the signature Yhi Spa, Red Level and RedGlove Service concepts. Its proximity to the main financial and government areas will allow it to become the preferred choice for both business and leisure travelers. 

Mongolia, with a population of 3 million inhabitants, has experienced double-digit GDP growth in the last decade, bringing along an increase of demand of quality hospitality products. Mining is of great importance to the country, and it's scheduled that the sector will represent one third of the country's economy in 2020. 

With the collaboration of Gran Melia in this project, Melia Hotels International keeps on expanding in new markets in the Asia Pacific region, one of the primary focuses of growth for the company in the coming years. In words of Gabriel Escarrer, Vice President and CEO of Melia Hotels International: "Gran Melia Ulaanbaatar will represent perfectly our ambition to position our brands in the most dynamic markets and destinations. Mongolia is a global power in the mining sector and several other industries, with commercial partners as important as China, Russia, USA or Japan, all of them part of Melia Hotels International priority markets"

Link to release


Arts Suvraga: Constructor of the award winning Oyu Tolgoi airport

March 2014 (Worldfolio) Arts Suvraga LLC were the company behind the landmark Mongolian project of building an airport at the country's Oyu Tolgoi mine. In an interview with United World, the Director of Arts Suvraga, Shajinbat Altansukh, talks about the company's expansion in line with the continued growth of the Mongolian construction sector

The scenario has profoundly changed since 1999. Can you tell us about the milestones in the history of the company and how important has been the continuous adaptation of the company through the years?

Arts Suvraga LLC was established in 1999. The founder is Lkhamgun. Our company has 5 shareholders. I joined this company in 2004 and I have been working for this company since that as manager and director. At the beginning we were specialized in interior work and construction, but with the increase of the demand we got more involved in the real state market and we started to participate in tenders. We built a hospital in rural area, a small building and a small private camp house in Ulaanbaatar city. As time passed the company grew in size and became today's company. Especially, the peak of our company's growth was from 2008 to 2011 when we accomplished the most part of our projects by participating in large development plans such as the airport project of Oyu Tolgoi mine. We executed this project completely in 14 months despite being a really complex project covering the areas of land works, engineering, networking, electronics and aerodrome roads. It became the first case in Mongolia that a Mongolian company with Mongolian engineers and employees was executing such a big project. This was a big challenge, but we showed to both national and international coworkers what we have learnt in our fifteen years of existence.

Because of this project the company was awarded in 2012. Which factors were evaluated?

We executed the project without accidents after more than 1 million hours of work. We are really proud of this project, not just because of what represents Oyu Tolgoi but also because of the great cooperation that we had with the company in charge of the management, an American one, so we gathered internationally qualified experience. And since its competition 3 years ago everything remains perfect. So I'm confident of the quality of our materials, our professionalism and our techniques. This project is our flagship and the best way of showing to Mongolia and to the world what's Ars Suvraga about.

How important has been the contribution of this project to Ars Suvraga? What have you learnt from working hand by hand with an American company?

The science of construction has become universal. Thus, it doesn't matter whether we are working with American or Russian companies; our construction standard is already an international one. So, from the technical side, we cooperated well and our company can perfectly do the blueprint.

Until the 1990s during the socialist period, there was no "ownership" in Mongolia. You could be jailed if you build a house using new wooden boards, as a citizen should not own a new wooden board. So, when the transition was being made from such a period into today's situation, there were certain management aspects we were not familiar to. Our company's advantage is that, we make a plan, try hard to execute it and reach the deadline. From my point of view, Americans are very strict and they schedule every action without compromising quality.

21/02/2014 – Ulaanbaatar

Link to article


2.1 Billion, 70Ktpa Asphalt, Concrete Factory Opens in Orkhon Aimag

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) The Orkhon aimag's "Olziikhutagiin naran" company has opened an asphalt and concrete factory in the province.

Some 2.1 billion togrog has been spent for its erection (Mogi: :D). The equipped with the latest advanced hi tech object with a capacity of producing 70 thousand ton of asphalt a year will employ some 40 people.  

Link to article


Vice Minister of Mining expected to speak at NAMBC's Ottawa AGM, April 22-23

His Excellency Oyun Erdenebulgan, Vice Minister of Mining, is expected as featured speaker at our 24th Annual General Meeting, April 22-23, 2014, in Ottawa at the Courtyard Marriott Byward Market. Our AGM is structured as an investor forum and non-members are warmly welcomed.

Other speakers include Khurelbat Amarjargal, Director of the Mining Ministry's International Cooperation Division, five current or former Mongolian, Canadian, and American ambassadors, and other senior government officials from Canada and the US. Panelists include senior executives of Rio Tinto, Centerra Gold, SNC-Lavalin  and other companies.

The AGM opens with a reception on Tuesday, April 22, followed by a full day of speakers, panelists and discussion on Wednesday, April 23. A registration form can be downloaded below. To reserve NAMBC group rate rooms online at the discounted rate of C$159 + tax per night, click on the link below, or phone (613) 241-1000 or 1-800-341-2210. The deadline for the guaranteed group rate has been extended a few days.

For NAMBC members only, second and all other delegates from the same company or organization receive a 25% discount. Discounts are also offered for academics and Mongolian expat graduates of Canadian or American universities.

Click here for Registration Form

Click here for online room reservations at the Courtyard Marriott Ottawa

Link to NAMBC

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US Promises Increase in Military Aid to Mongolia

During his stopover in Mongolia, Secretary Hagel promised increased US military aid and training to Mongolia.

April 11 (The Diplomat) U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel finished his Asia tour with a brief stop in Mongolia, where he and Mongolian Defense Minister Dashdemberel Bat-Erdene promised to increase military cooperation. Hagel praised Mongolia as a growing economic power and "a stabilizing influence in Asia." In what might have been an indirect swipe at China, Hagel added that Mongolia "is seeking to modernize its military in a transparent fashion."

Before the visit, J. Berkshire Miller outlined for The Diplomat why increasing defense cooperation was a goal for both the U.S. and Mongolia. For the U.S., improving ties with all regional players is an important part of the "rebalance to Asia" strategy. Further, Mongolia's friendly relations with the U.S. and NATO (as seen through Mongolian participation in NATO mission from Kosovo to Afghanistan and Iraq) makes Mongolia an attractive partner in regional security for the United States. The U.S. also holds Mongolia up as a successful example of an Asian democracy, a point Hillary Clinton repeatedly made (to China's dismay) during her 2012 visit to Ulan Bator. Given this, the U.S. is happy to help increase Mongolia's say in regional security and economic affairs.

For Mongolia, increased interaction with the U.S. (including in the security realm) is an important part of the "third neighbor" policy, designed to help Mongolia move away from overdependence on China and Russia. Ulan Bator also has ambitions to become a more prominent diplomatic player. "Mongolia wants to be more than a passive observer in the international arena," Bat-Erdene told the press during his meeting with Hagel. "We want to be actively engaged in international operations."

During the visit, Bat-Erdene and Hagel signed a joint statement promising to strengthen military cooperation and increase joint training programs. The U.S. pledged to increase its military training and aid to Mongolia, currently valued at about $3 million a year. Mongolia welcomed U.S. support for its military modernization efforts, although Bat-Erdene ruled out the possibility of his country ever hosting a U.S. military base. Though Mongolia seeks to lessen its dependence on Russia and China, it also does not want to antagonize its larger neighbors.

The Mongolian Embassy's website notes three particular areas where the U.S. is contributing to the development of the Mongolian Armed Forces: assisting in military training and the establishment of modern professional military education system; helping modernize the MAF, especially by enhancing its peacekeeping capabilities; and increasing Mongolia's involvement in Asia-Pacific security affairs, including multilateral institutions and military confidence-building measures. The U.S. and Mongolia also have cooperated on a number of joint exercises, including the Gobi Wolf disaster management exercise and the annual Khaan Quest multinational peacekeeping exercise, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.

Hagel's stop-over in Mongolia was brief—only four hours, according to Reuters. However, Hagel met not only with Defense Minister Bat-Erdene but also with Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag. The Prime Minster told Hagel that defense cooperation was one of the pillars of the U.S.-Mongolia relationship, and said the government would support the goals discussed between Hagel and Bat-Erdene.

Link to article


Hagel, Mongolian Defense Minister Agree to Deepen Ties – U.S. Department of Defense, April 11

US Defense Secretary Chuch Hagel's visit to Mongolia – Embassy of Mongolia to the USA, April 10

In Mongolia, a Gift Horse for Hagel – The New York Times, April 10

Hagel Gets Gift Horse in Mongolia After Pledging Support – Bloomberg News, April 10

Hagel wraps up Asia trip with military cooperation deal in Mongolia – Washington Post, April 10

Hagel pushes US military ties with Mongolia – AFP, April 11

Pentagon Chief, On Mongolia Visit, Vows More Cooperation – EurasiaNet, April 12

Hagel Gets a Gift Horse During His Visit to Mongolia – WSJ Blog, April 10

Hagel seeks to increase ties with Mongolia – AP, April 10

Mongolia and United States Sign Joint Statement on Security Issues – InfoMongolia, April 11

Mongolia and US sign statement on, April 11


JICA President Tanaka to Visit Mongolia, April 14-17

April 10 (JICA) JICA President Akihiko Tanaka will visit Mongolia April 14-17 to meet Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag and other prominent figures. Tanaka will also visit several other project sites in the country during his stay, including the Mongolia-Japan Center for Human Resources Development in Ulan Bator.

Link to release


Head of Mongolian Armed Forces HQ Meets Ambassador of Turkey on Defense Cooperation

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) Head of the General Headquarters of Mongolian Armed Forces (GHMAF) Lieutenant-General Ts.Byambajav Thursday received Mr Murat Karagoz, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkey to Mongolia, in the Defense Ministry.

Expressing thanks to the Ambassador for calling on him, the GHMAF head noted that the Mongolia-Turkey cooperation in the defense sector has been successfully developing through co-organizing mutual visits, holding consultative meetings, training staffers, in frames of the intergovernmental agreement on military cooperation established in 1999.

In turn, Mr Karagoz said he will do all his best to forward the bilateral cooperation in the social-economy, culture, education and defense spheres. Mr Karagoz also said he will actively work on sending Mongolian servicemen for studies in Turkey and on having them participate in trainings organized by the NATO.

Mr Byambajav asked the Ambassador to study an opportunity to have the Turkish troops participate in the "Khaan Quest" international military exercises, hoping they will take part in them.  

Mr Karagoz expressed a confidence that the Armed Forces of the two countries will collaborate not only in the exercises but also in other matters. 

Link to article


Kazakhstan, Mongolia intend to initiate direct flights

April 11 (Cihan News Agency) The sides initialed a text of the memorandum on the implementation of the intergovernmental agreement on air traffic as part of the first meeting of the Kazakh- Mongolian working group on cooperation in the field of transport, the Kazakh Ministry of Transport and Communications said on April 11.

The agreement will allow initiating the direct flights between the capitals of Kazakhstan and Mongolia, according to the report.

"The memorandum is expected to be signed as part of the sixth meeting of the Kazakh- Mongolian intergovernmental commission on trade - economic, scientific- technical and cultural cooperation, to be held in the capital of Mongolia in May 2014," according to a statement.

Moreover, the sides agreed to expedite the signing of an agreement on cooperation in the field of aviation search and rescue between the Kazakh and Mongolian governments, as well as a memorandum of understanding between the investigative agencies on cooperation in case of air incidents.

Link to article


Turkey parliament approves visa deal with Mongolia

April 11 (Cihan News Agency) Parliament recently approved an agreement to begin visa liberalization in the travel of Turkish and Mongolian citizens to each other's countries.

The governments of Turkey and Mongolia signed a cooperation agreement intended to promote friendly relations and facilitate the travel of citizens of both countries on Oct. 10, 2013 in the Turkish capital, Ankara. The deal paves the way for 30 days of visa-free travel for citizens of these countries, regardless of the type of passport.

The agreement was brought to Parliament for approval and published in the Official Gazette on March 6 as Law No. 5993. The deal entered into force on April 11.

A cooperation agreement that foresees the lifting of visas between Turkey and Mongolia was signed during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's diplomatic visit last April to Ulan Bator, which included talks with Mongolian officials.

In Mongolia, Erdoğan conducted high-level diplomatic talks, giving messages about the further development of ties between Turkey and the Central Asian country.

Mongolia, with its huge landmass and vast resources, is considered a strategically important country for Turkey.

A statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Friday said the deal was an important development that would contribute to the improvement of relations between the two countries.

"The mutual visa liberation deal is the concrete reflection of our political relations, which have gained momentum in recent years thanks to the high-level bilateral visits, and will further improve our relations with Mongolia, with which we have historical closeness, in several fields," said the statement.

Article 3 of the agreement says, "The visa exemption is valid for touristic, business and official travels to the territory of each state, not exceeding 30 days within a period of 180 days."

According to Article 7 of the deal, the visa exemption does not grant the right to employment to citizens of either country.

Link to article


Mongolia and Kazakhstan Discuss Transportation Cooperation in Working Group Meeting

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) Mongolia and Kazakhstan discussed their cooperation in the auto road transportation at a meeting of the bilateral working group for the transportation collaboration held April 7-8 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The meeting was co-headed by Kh.Yerjan, Mongolia's Deputy Minister of Road and Transportation, and by Azat Bektusov, Kazakhstan's Vice Minister of Transportation and Communication.

Within the action, Mr Yerjan met with Jenis M.Kasymbek, the Kazakh Minister of Road and Communication, to share views on a present situation of transportation and road relations in both countries. Mr Kasymbek expressed a willingness to cooperate with Mongolia in all directions of the road and transportation spheres, and confirmed that Kazakhstan invited the Mongolian Minister of Road and Transportation A.Gansukh to a conference on international transit transportation which will run this May in Astana.

The Deputy Minister Yerjan said Mongolia wants to have its experts get au fait with transportation sector's factories and entities, including locomotive factory in Kazakhstan, and to have them visit Khorgos and Dostuk border checkpoints.

The Kazakhstan's side accepted the requests.

Link to article


Belarus ratifies visa abolition agreement with Mongolia

MINSK, 10 April (BelTA) – Belarusian MPs ratified the Belarus-Mongolia intergovernmental agreement on abolishing visas on 10 April, BelTA has learnt.

The agreement provides that the citizens of Belarus and Mongolia can enter, leave, pass through the other country in transit and temporarily stay there without visas for the period up to 90 days since the first entry. If Belarusian and Mongolian nationals want to stay in the other country for a longer period, they will need to obtain a visa in line with the existing legislation. 

Link to article


Belarus ratifies agreements on military technical cooperation with Mongolia, Sri Lanka

MINSK, 10 April (BelTA) – The House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus passed bills on the ratification of the agreements on military technical cooperation with Mongolia and Sri Lanka on 10 April, BelTA has learnt.

The agreement with Mongolia will promote supplies of Belarusian military products to the country. The document envisages an exchange of technologies, co-developing, aircraft service and maintenance, air defense armament.

The similar agreement with Sri Lanka stipulates the same areas of cooperation.

Link to article


Young Mongolian Expert Receives Prestigious Rumsfeld Fellowship

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, April 10 (Oyu Tolgoi LLC) - One of this year's recipients of the prestigious Rumsfeld Fellowship is Ms. Shijir Ochirbat, a Senior Strategy and Policy Analyst at Oyu Tolgoi LLC. The Rumsfeld Fellowship is awarded each year to young leaders and experts from Central Asia, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, and Mongolia to participate in a six-week research programme at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.

Ms.Shijir leads a team responsible for strategic analysis and developing corporate strategies at Oyu Tolgoi, and the fellowship programme provides a unique opportunity to meet with colleagues working in related fields in the United States. Ms. Shijir will have the opportunity of meeting Ambassador John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN (2005-2006), Dr.Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter and former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Ms. Shijir will also meet experts related to her work on geopolitics and foreign investment, as well as think tanks on China- Russia relationships, trade, and infrastructure projects.

Ms. Shijir is the second person from Oyu Tolgoi to receive this fellowship. In 2010 Baasantseren Tumurbat, Oyu Tolgoi Board Secretariat Specialist, received this fellowship.

The Rumsfeld Fellowship programme was launched in 2008 by the Rumsfeld Foundation in partnership with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. The Rumsfeld Foundation over the past six years has granted over 160 fellowships for young leaders from Central Asia as well U.S. graduate students.

Link to release


Government Announces Nominations for Ambassadors to Indonesia and Brazil

April 12 ( At the Cabinet meeting held on April 12, 2014, Ambassadors to represent Mongolia in Indonesia and Brazil were backed based on the Law of Government, Article 15.4 and it was agreed to submit the names to the President of Mongolia.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Republic of Indonesia Mrs. Shagdar BATTSETSEG and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Federative Republic of Brazil Mrs. Chuluunbat SOSORMAA are preliminary promoted.

At the plenary session of the State Great Khural (Parliament) held on June 07, 2013, the issues to open Mongolian Embassies in above countries were approved and according to this decision the Embassy of Mongolia being established in Jakarta and Brasilia cities respectively.

Cabinet Ministers deem by promoting Mongolian envoys to represent its nation in Jakarta, Indonesia and Brasilia, Brazil, they would work actively and in broad ranges to boost bilateral economic, commercial, cultural, educational and other fields of cooperation.

Mongolia and the Republic of Indonesia have established the diplomatic relations on December 22, 1956.

Mongolia and the Federative Republic of Brazil have established the diplomatic relations on June 19, 1987.

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Social, Environmental and Other

Mongolia in the 2014 Social Progress Index

[This post was written jointly by Undral Amarsaikhan and Julian Dierkes]

April 8 (Mongolia Focus) On April 2, the Social Progressive Imperative released its 2014 Social Progress Index. For the first time, this included Mongolia.

The Social Progressive Index is an index of indices that measures "the multiple dimensions of social progress, benchmarking success, and catalyzing greater human wellbeing". It is compiled by the Social Progress Imperative, as US-based non-profit funded by foundations and corporations.

Ranking Mongolia

Overall, Mongolia ranks 89th of 132 countries with a score of 58.97 on a 0-100 scale, higher scores indicating more social progress. That score breaks down into three dimensions:

·         Basic Human Needs 53.67 (102nd)

·         Foundations of Well-Being 63.67 (85th)

·         Opportunity 59.56 (42nd).

SPI classifies Mongolia's rank as belonging to a 4th tier of countries with scores from 70.66 (Kuwait, rank 40) to 58.01 (Morocco, rank 91) that also includes the BRICS, save India. Like many of the countries in this tier, Mongolia's score varies significantly across the three dimension with an Opportunity score that ranks at the top of this tier, but Foundations of Well-Being and Basic Human Needs ranking much lower.

Ranking Mongolia vs Neighbours and Other Comparisons

Here are the scores/ranks for a small number of other countries that make for useful comparisons with Mongolia:

·         China SPI 58.67 (90th) HumNeeds 73.02 (69th) Wellb 63.78 (84th) Opp 39.21 (110th)

·         Indonesia SPI 58.98 (88) HumNeeds 63.65 (87) Wellb 69.42 (61) Opp 43.86 (92)

·         Kazakhstan SPI 59.47(86) HumNeeds 75.14 (62) Wellb 54.80 (111) Opp 48.47 (74)

·         Kyrgyzstan SPI 57.08 (93) HumNeeds 64.42 (86) Wellb 60.54 (83) Opp 46.26 (83)

·         Philippines SPI 65.86 (56) HumNeeds 66.76 (81) Wellb 69.17 (63) Opp 61.63 (39)

·         Russia SPI 60.79 (80) HumNeeds 72.15 (72) Wellb 63.66 (87) Opp 46.58 (81)

By the measures of the Social Progress Index, Mongolia is thus pretty similar to China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. Its Basic Human Needs score puts it closer to countries like Ghana (52.39 = 103rd), India (54.48 = 100th), or Namibia (59.01 = 96th). By contrast, Mongolia ranks with countries like Latvia (59,85 =41st), the Philippines (61.63 = 39th), or South Africa (61.19 = 40th) on the Opportunity dimension.

What's Driving Mongolia's Score?

The SPI is calculated as an average of the score on the three dimensions. The dimensions in turn are scored on normalized 0-100 scales of three-six indicators per dimension.  These indicators "are selected because they are measured well, with consistent methodology, by the same organization, and across all (or essentially all) of the countries in our sample". The weights of the indicators within the dimension are determined by a principal components factor analysis.

Let's look at the dimension where Mongolia is ranked highly first.

Link to full post


Mongolia to Conduct Population Census in 2015, Halfway Ahead of Scheduled 2020

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) The National Statistical Office of Mongolia has decided to run a population census nationwide in 2015.

This will be the first-ever intermediate census, as the nation conducts the national census every decade, he last one took place in 2010.

The census not only develops a detailed population estimate, but also updates statistics of education, literacy, religion, economic activities, employment, household composition and living conditions.

According to the 2010 census, a total population of Mongolia was 2 million 754 thousand and 685. One of the main features of this census was e-enumeration for Mongolians living abroad. According to the main findings, Mongolia had 107 410 citizens living abroad for more than six months, 16 428 foreign citizens and stateless people living for more than six months in Mongolia.

Link to article


President's Office hosts open discussion on draft law on human rights

-Protecting human rights is not the work of only the National Human Rights Commission-

April 11 (UB Post) The Civil Hall of the Office of the President of Mongolia hosted an open discussion on the draft law on human rights. The draft law was developed to make amendments to the law on the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia, adopted by the Parliament in 2001.

Opening the discussion, Human Rights and Legal Policy Advisor to the President Ch.Unurbayar noted, "The Mongolia Innovation program of Judicial Reform was approved upon the initiative of the President and judicial laws and regulations have been reformed in the scope of implementing the program. Now the Government of Mongolia is implementing the reform in terms of protection of the justice system of Mongolia.

"Last year, the President of Mongolia promoted the 'From a Big Government to a Smart Government' initiative, in order to continue legal policy reform and establish the rule of law. Accordingly, the draft law on human rights was implemented. Earlier laws and regulations for related organizations were approved, but in general, these public organizations are dedicated to protecting human rights. Therefore, we aim to change the Law on the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia to the Human Rights Law.

"Since the adoption of the Law on the National Human Rights Commission in 2001, no amendments have been made to it. Some achievements and success in the protection of human rights were made during the implementation of the law. However, the law is not meeting today's needs and demands, and in some cases, it tends to be more like a promise and declaration than a law. It is not the duty of only the National Human Rights Commission to fix and correct it and protect human rights. Lawmakers have paid attention to making the new draft bill to establish a mechanism for other state organizations and authorities to get involved in human rights issues in accordance with their duties and guidance."

Mongolia promoted to the UN Human Rights council in 2015

Mongolia has been promoted to the 2015 UN Human Rights Council. In order to join this council, Mongolia must amend and reform its laws related to human rights, as previously advised by the UN Human Rights Council. Joining the UN Human Rights Council is an opportunity for Mongolia to demonstrate and prove that it has made concrete steps in implementing human rights principles protecting democracy and human rights since the adoption of the new constitution in 1992.

There is an important provision which states, "The state of Mongolia is responsible for preparing social, economic and other guarantees which will provide citizens' freedom."

"This draft law has been initiated because the state is not working enough to give citizens that guarantee," said Ch.Unubayar.

Link to article


Mongolian choppers to join Memorial Day parade in Washington

April 11 (UB Post) Memorial Day is a U.S. federal holiday celebrated every year on the final Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

During Memorial Day in Washington, chopper enhusiasts will conduct a parade of honor. Mongolian riders were invited to take part in the parade.

Ten riders will go to Washington on April 20 to promote Mongolia and to meet people who have similar interests. Some 400,000 riders from various countries will gather and start their parade at the Pentagon.

Link to article


Harumafuji enrolls in university master's course

April 13 (NHK) Yokozuna grand champion Harumafuji has enrolled in a master's course at Hosei University to study economic development.

The top-ranked sumo wrestler passed an exam for working people to enter Hosei Graduate School of Regional Policy Design in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward.

He attended his first seminar on Saturday, after returning from a tour of Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo.

He took notes as he listened to presentations by students who inspected projects in Japan and Germany to see how measures are being taken to revitalize regional economies.

Harumafuji, whose real name is Davaanyam Byambadorj, says he took a correspondence course on law from a university in his home country Mongolia last year.

He says he aims to attend Hosei University once or twice a week to complete his master's degree.

A 54-year-old company employee who attended the same seminar says he admires Harumafuji's determination to study despite being very busy, and he will try to copy his example.

Professor Yoshiyuki Okamoto, who is in charge of the seminar, says he was surprised at first but the research plan submitted by Harumafuji showed his strong will to study.

Okamoto says Harumafuji seems to have awareness of such issues as pollution and income disparities that are linked to the rapid growth of Mongolia's economy.

The Sumo Association says Harumafuji is the first reigning Yokozuna to attend a graduate school.

Harumafuji said he wants to make a comparison between Japan and Mongolia, and write a paper on how to create a safe and secure place where people can trust others.

Link to article (includes video report)


Yokozuna Harumafuji becomes first to enroll in master's

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) The 70th Yokozuna of Japanese professional sumo wrestling Harumafuji D.Byambadorj has enrolled the Hosei University of Tokyo to achieve a master degree.

He became the first Yokozuna-titled sumo to enter the university. Last year, he graduated from the Mongolian University of Law Enforcement, and then passed the enrolment examination of the Hosei University this year. On April 7, he received his student card.

The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) has permitted D.Byambadorj to study in the university, thus he will become the very first Yokozuna to defend the degree in sumo history.  

Link to article


Murun Makes an Assist in Debut Match as Pro-Footballer in Thailand

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) The first-ever professional footballer of Mongolia A.Moron made his first appearance in Thailand's football arena on Wednesday.

Playing for Krabi FC of Thailand, A.Moron had a successful assist to a goal at Khonkaen FC vs Krabi FC match which ended with a score of 2:1 in favor of Khonkaen FC. This was the last match of Krabi FC in the Thailand Football Association Cup. Krabi FC is currently the 15th in Thailand League Division 1, with one win and two draws.

Becoming the first-ever professional footballer of the nation, A.Moron Friday signed two year's agreement to play for the Krabi FC in the first division league of Thailand last December.

Born in Ulaanbaatar, A.Moron (24) has played college soccer for Hannibal-La Grande University and the Central Methodist Eagles, located in Fayette, Missouri. He made his international debut for Mongolia in 2007, and has appeared in FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. 

Link to article


Powerlifter S. Sodnompeljee qualifies for 2016 Paralympics

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) A Mongolian powerlifter E.Sodnompeljee has been qualified to compete in the Rio De Janeiro Summer Paralympic Games of 2016.

Competed in the men's 88 kg contest, he got the right after he took 7th place in the 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championships ran April 5-11 in Dubai, the UAE.

This year's IPC Powerlifting World Championships were participated by some 300 powerlifters from 500 countries. First ten athletes in each weight category contest are qualified to take part in the Paralympics.

As the result, the national team of Egypt won the World championships, winning four gold, five silver and two bronze medals.   

Link to article


Top Gear's Hammond Reveals Desire to Go to Mongolia

April 13 (What's on TV) Richard Hammond has revealed he would like to return to the Arctic for a future Top Gear special.

The 44-year-old and his co-presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May travelled from Resolute, Canada to the Magnetic North Pole in 2007 for the Polar Special in the ninth series of the BBC motoring show.

"I'd absolutely like to go back to an Arctic environment because I really enjoyed that because it was so physically challenging. I think there's more to explore there," Richard said, adding: "I'd also like to go to Mongolia. I've never been there."

Richard, who hosts National Geographic Channel's new show Science Of Stupid, also enjoyed visiting Burma for the latest Top Gear special.

"It was absolutely staggering. What an amazing, amazing journey. It's an incredible place," he said.

"It's been inaccessible for a very long time to a lot of people and we were very unusual sights. I haven't been anywhere before where I have been such a stranger and that was a real privilege."

The presenter admitted deciding where to shoot the specials was a logistics nightmare.

"We are a big unit. We work really hard on those specials every year and make sure we go somewhere interesting. Because we target unlikely places, we go up against new and different things so it can't be formulaic," he explained.

With Top Gear in its 21st series and still a ratings winner, Richard said they are "staggered" by its success.

"We're massively surprised on a daily basis by how many people watch it and how many different places it's shown in. We just wanted to make a really good car show that we think is funny," he said.

Science Of Stupid, National Geographic Channel, Wednesday.

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