Syndicate content

East Asia and Pacific

2013: The challenge of public finance during a mining boom

Jim Anderson's picture
Also available in: Mongolian
Continuing our series celebrating the 25 years that Mongolia has been a member of the World Bank, today we look at 2013.  Foreign direct investment (FDI) fell below 20% of GDP, down from the heights around 50% of GDP a few years earlier. Growth, however, was still in double-digit territory and inflation was in single digits.

With the boom well underway, a report examined how to meet the challenge of scaling up infrastructure.  In a blog summarizing the study, one co-author was blunt:  “Financed by the mining boom, government spending on new infrastructure in Mongolia has increased 35-fold in the past 10 years. But you would not know this from driving the pot holed streets of Ulaanbaatar or inhaling the smog filled air of the city, particularly in the ger areas. … [The study] examines why this increased spending is not resulting in equivalent benefits for the citizens of Mongolia in terms of better roads, efficient and clean heating, and improved water and sanitation services.” The study pointed to poor project planning and implementation, and suggested ways to improve.

2012: Scaling up Mongolia

Coralie Gevers's picture
In the 25 years since Mongolia joined the World Bank, 2012 stands out for several reasons.  Starting with politics: 2012 was an electoral year that produced its fair share of surprises. The main issue at stake was for Mongolians to decide if and how they wanted to use the country's mining wealth for its development. Politicians appealed to Mongolians' love for their country, its nature, its grand history, and its fighting spirit. While Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi monopolized the headlines, the issue was much deeper: what does it mean to be Mongolian in today's globalizing world?
For an outside observer like me—I was in my second year as the World Bank’s Country Manager for Mongolia at the time—it was fantastic to see democracy at work: the spirit of 1990 that I had read about and seen in pictures at the National Museum was still alive! The more experienced observers were puzzled: many Mongolians told me that for the first time since 1990, they were unable to forecast the outcome of those elections. A few did predict the outcome, of course: the Democratic Party won the largest share of seats and opted to form a coalition with the MPRP and the Civil Will-Green Party.
At the World Bank, we also had a leadership change: Mr. Jim Yong Kim, until then President of Dartmouth College and co-founder of Partners in Health, replaced Mr. Robert Zoellick at the helm of the World Bank Group in July 2012.


Wanli Fang's picture
Also available in: English
新加坡Marina海湾的再开发项目将河道的一部分改造成水库。摄影: 10 FACE/Shutterstock


2011: Galloping

Jim Anderson's picture
In our review of the 25 years since Mongolia joined the World Bank, 2011 stands out as a year of recovery, and that is an understatement.  By the beginning of 2011 the economy had stabilized and our economists returned to a quarterly format for publication of the economic updates.  The January Economic Update noted the strengthening of the economy:  For the year as a whole, real GDP grew 17.5 percent, the fastest rate for any country in the world. And while many mineral exporters were riding the wave of high commodity prices, few matched Mongolia’s investment boom, with FDI more than quadrupling in only a few years.  A 45 second animation showing FDI and GDP for extractives exporting countries makes clear how remarkable Mongolia’s second, synchronous, wave of FDI really was.
FDI and GDP growth over time
FDI and GDP growth for six extractives exporting countries from 1990 to 2013 as animated by the World Bank’s Macrostats app.

2010: Continued support in the midst of snow and smoke

Badamchimeg Dondog's picture
As we continue with our stories of 25 years in 25 days, today we bring 2010 under the spotlight. My very first thought of 2010 brings me back to sunny and hot Brisbane, Australia where I studied at the time for a graduate degree. In early January that year, after completing my first year of studies, I decided to come home for a quick visit just in time for the Lunar New Year celebrations. As I stood at the Brisbane International Airport, still in a light T-shirt, I did not realize how much I was underestimating the warnings my parents had given me, repeatedly, regarding the snow and smoke situation back home. Coming from the heat and humidity down under, when I landed in UB I experienced a 60 degree Celsius temperature difference as that winter was exceptionally cold with heavy snow and sharp temperature drops (below minus 40 degrees Celsius) in most parts of the country. And the smoke made me continuously wonder if I had forgotten so quickly how bad it was though I had left for Australia only a year earlier. Many others had similar reflections, including Mr. Arshad Sayed, the World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia at the time, who blogged about the terrible dzud we experienced that winter in rural parts of the country and the air pollution situation in the nation’s capital.

2009: Responding to the global financial crisis; estimating the costs of air pollution

Jim Anderson's picture
Also available in: Mongolian

Continuing our series celebrating the 25 years since Mongolia became a member of the World Bank, today we look at 2009.  The global financial crisis that began in the US the previous year hit Mongolia hard in late 2008 and through 2009, as commodity prices collapsed and economic growth turned negative for the first time since 1993.  The World Bank switched from a quarterly to a monthly format for its economic updates to stay abreast of the rapidly deteriorating situation—the April 2009 edition illustrated how sharply the commodities markets had reversed in only one year.

2009: Дэлхийн санхүүгийн хямралыг сөрсөн арга хэмжээ; агаарын бохирдлын өртгийг тооцох нь

Jim Anderson's picture
Also available in: English
Монгол улс Дэлхийн Банкны гишүүн болсноос хойших 25 жилийн түүхийг эргэн сөхөж байгаагийнхаа хүрээнд өнөөдөр бид 2009 оны тухай ярина. АНУ-аас эхэлсэн дэлхийн санхүүгийн хямрал өмнөх жил нь Монголын эдийн засагт нөлөөлж, 2008 оны сүүл, 2009 он бүхэлдээ хүнд байлаа. Дэлхийн ашигт малтмалын үнэ шалдаа бууж, 1993 оноос хойш Монголын эдийн засгийн өсөлт анх удаа хасах гарлаа. Хурдтайгаар муудаж байсан эдийн засгийн өөрчлөлтүүдийн мэдээллээс хоцрохгүйн тулд Дэлхийн Банк улирал тутам гаргаж байсан Эдийн засгийн төлөв байдлын тоймоо сар болгон гаргадаг боллоо. 2009 оны дөрөвдүгээр сарын тоймоос уул уурхайн бүтээгдэхүүний үнэ нэгхэн жилийн дотор хэрхэн хурдтай унасныг харж болно.


2008: Нийтлэг зорилгоо тодорхойлох нь

Erdene-Ochir Badarch's picture
Also available in: English

Дэлхийн Банк болон Монгол улсын хамтын ажиллагааны 25 жилийн түүхийг бид жил жилээр эргэн харж байгаа. Өнөөдөр бид 2008 оныг авч үзье. 2008 он монголчуудын хувьд хар, цагаан аль алинаар нь дурсагдан үлдэх он болсон. Хар гэдэг нь 2008 оны парламентын сонгуулиас үүдэлтэй хэрэг явдал байлаа. Жирийн таван иргэн амиа алдаж, нийслэл Улаанбаатар хотод хоёр өдөр, гурван шөнө онц байдал тогтоосон. 1990 онд Монгол улс нэг тогтолцооноос нөгөө рүү тайван замаар шилжсэнээрээ бахархаж байсан бол 2008 оны хэрэг явдал нь ардчиллын 25 жилийн түүхэн дэх хамгийн хар цаг үе байлаа.

2008 энэхүү хар хэрэг явдлын дараахан Найдангийн Түвшинбаяр Бээжингийн олимпоос Монголын анхны олимпийн алтан медалийг хүртсэн юм. Төв талбайдаа цуглан Монголынхоо далбааг намируулж, алга ташин баяр хүргэж байсан хүмүүсиййн царайг би хэзээ ч мартахгүй. Дэлхийн Банкны Монголыг хариуцсан захирал Дэвид Доллар энэ түүхэн үйл явдлын гэрч бөгөөд “Энэ үйл явдал нь өрсөлдөгч улс төрийн намынхан хоорондоо гар барьж, бахархлаа хуваалцахаар ач холбогдолтой байсан юм” гэж бичсэн байдаг.

2008: Defining common goals through deliberation

Erdene-Ochir Badarch's picture
Also available in: Mongolian

Continuing with our series looking at the 25 year partnership between Mongolia and the World Bank, today we look at 2008, a year that will be remembered by many Mongolians for events both high and low. The low point was the riot that followed parliamentary elections on 1st July, 2008. Five innocent lives were lost and Ulaanbaatar city was under a state emergency for two days and three nights. While Mongolia is rightfully praised for its peaceful transition from one regime to another in 1990, this incident of 2008 will be remembered as the darkest time in the 25 years of democracy.

The high of 2008 occurred after this riot when Mr. Tuvshinbayr Naidan brought home Mongolia’s 1st ever gold medal from the Beijing summer Olympics. I will never forget the sight of people waving our national flag, gathering in the Central Square and cheering with exhilaration.   The World Bank’s Country Director, David Dollar, also celebrated this historic occasion, noting that “The event was important enough to get rival political parties to shake hands and share the pride.”

What can Chinese cities learn from Singapore?

Wanli Fang's picture
Also available in: 中文
One of Singapore’s latest redevelopment projects included the construction of a freshwater reservoir. Photo: 10 FACE/Shutterstock

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Singapore Urban Week along with other colleagues from the World Bank Beijing office, as well as delegates from China’s national government and participating cities. For all of us, this trip to Singapore was an eye-opening experience that highlighted the essential role of integrated urban planning in building sustainable cities, and provided practical solutions that can be readily adapted to help achieve each city’s own development vision. A couple of key lessons learned:

Putting people at the center of development strategies

This is only possible when planners always keep in mind people’s daily experience of urban space and invite them as part of decision-making process through citizen engagement.

For instance, in many cities, public transit has been perceived as a low-end, unattractive option of travel, causing ridership to stagnate despite severe traffic congestion. But in Singapore, public transit accounts for 2/3 of the total travel modal share in 2014. Moving around the city by metro is comfortable and efficient because transfers between different modes and lines are easy, with clear signage of directions, air-conditioned connecting corridors, and considerate spatial designs and facilities for the elderly and physically-challenged users. In addition, metro stations are co-located with major retail and commercial activities and other urban amenities, significantly reducing last-mile connectivity issues.