Economic forum successfully takes place

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          The Mongolian Economic Forum took place on July 9 and 10. In the forum, more than 500 foreign investors, including representatives of the world’s top 45 banks and financial institutions, such as JP Morgan, CITI, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley attended. This year’s economic forum was held under the theme of “Welcome to Mongolia”, and about 2,200 guests and representatives from foreign and domestic economic and business sectors participated in the forum making it a wider scope than in previous years.

Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene opened the forum and said that during the pandemic, the economy of Mongolia was at negative 4.7 percent, in 2022 it was positive 4.8 percent, and in the first quarter of this year it was positive 7.9 percent, which is the first time that the GDP has reached 5,000 USD.

The premier then said “Within the framework of comprehensive anti-corruption program, one of the most successful projects was E-Mongolia platform, which digitized 839 services of 71 government organizations, which made government information transparent, and worked to reduce government bureaucracy. As a result, in 2022, Mongolia ranked 74th out of 193 countries in the E-Government Development Index, 18 places higher than previous year.”

According to PM, the government fully paid the debt of 1.5 billion USD of the Chinggis bond in December of last year and 800 million USD of the Gerege bond in May 2023, maintaining its credit rating at the B stable level. Also, in addition to our only export railway, four new export gateways are being put into operation in line with China’s “Belt and Road” initiative as part of its Port Revival goal. As a result, export income reached 13 billion USD. Moreover, in relations to the New Revival Policy, Oyu Tolgoi mine was put into operation last year, which had a major impact on our country ranking fourth in the world in terms of copper production.

At the main discussion, member of the Board of Directors of the Rio Tinto Group, founder of the Global Economic Governance Program at the University of Oxford Professor Ngeire Woods said, “Each country with a rapidly developing small economy in the world is facing major challenges. Most of those challenges depend more on external factors such as the international financial system, currency market, and geopolitical issues, rather than on the country itself. There are three important questions to be asked. First, does Mongolia have the vision to lead the country in difficult social and economic times? Second, does the state have the capacity to advance all this? Third, can it be stable in terms of political governance?” With the questions, professor Woods emphasized that she believes that the “Vision 2050” document can be an answer to the questions and is a clear expression of our country’s striving for development.

During the forum, Mongolian Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erden and the Governor of Mongol Bank B.Lkhagvasuren met with foreign banks and investment funds. In addition, the branch meeting on “Banking and Finance” was organized. Governor of Mongol Bank B.Lkhagvasuren said that the banking industry is conducting an IPO and transitioning to public ownership. This is a special moment for customers, regulators, and investors, and it is a new beginning of the development of the industry. He also mentioned that foreign investment in the banking sector, participation of multinational banks and financial institutions, and cooperation with them are important for the development and expansion of the banking sector to the extent that it can bear the burden of economic expansion and support economic growth.

Other participants representing the banking sector spoke about the importance of reform and the problems they face in the banking sector. For example, proposals were made to increase the availability of green finance, improve its certification system, and loosen restrictions on investments in the banking sector by international financial institutions in the banking sector and restrictions on investing in multiple banks.

At the second-day, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Development Ch.Khurelbaatar mentioned the possibility of investing in banking, tourism, renewable energy, agriculture, mining, and infrastructure. In particular, to intensify the development of the banking sector and take a big step forward, Mongolians announced that they are fully opening the doors of the banking sector to foreign investors.

However, during the “New Future - New Opportunities” plenary session, Global Chairman to JP Morgan’s Investment Bank, Technology, Media and Communications Group Jennifer Nason said, “The Oyu Tolgoi project is not only a copper mine, but Mongolia’s major project that demonstrates competence. The project is said to be the result of multi-skilled personnel, high-level performance, and world-class operations. Therefore, Mongolia is a country of entrepreneurs” which brought attention.

During the Prime Minister’s meeting at the end, investors said that they are happy that the 2012 economic recovery is coming back. They mentioned that we have lost ten years, and now is important to save economic growth, become disciplined in the state budget and not make investment policy mistakes.

In the forum, following decisions were made and these agreements, and memorandums were signed:

• what3words company signed the first memorandum with Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Mongol Shuudan, and E-Mongolia academy.

• An agreement was signed with China’s “SSSS First Highway Engineering Group” LLC. Capital City Governor and Ulaanbaatar City Mayor D.Sumiyabazar said that within the agreement, circle highway, Ulaanbaatar metro project, improvement of Tuul river dam, construction of hospital and school are planned. The agreement is an investment of about 4.3 billion USD.

• Ministry of environment and Tourism announced the establishment of a Nature Conservation Trust Fund in Mongolia with “The Nature Conservancy”. Specifically, it aims to create a sustainable financing system for the nature conservation sector, manage it, and implement long-term nature conservation programs.

• To support foreign investment, the Government has decided to establish an Investment and Trade Department under the Ministry of Economy and Development. They also announced the establishment of a new Partnership Center.

Amarjargal Munkhbat