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Goodbye Mongolia...and IFC

David Lawrence's picture

DSC_0223 The day has finally come—my last day at IFC, after nearly 14 years. In a few days I'll be leaving Mongolia. My next stop is Ukraine, which will become a base for my work as a short-term consultant. My family moved there six months ago, and now it's time for me to join them.

Mongolia has changed a lot since I arrived in May 2008. At the time there was uncertainty about Mongolia's path going forward, both economically and politically. Only one month after I arrived there were post-election riots which left five people dead and shook confidence in the country's stability. Investors were also wary: a key agreement with Rio Tinto over the development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold deposits dragged into another year without resolution.

These questions have since been put to rest. The presidential election in May 2009 saw a peaceful transition of power to the opposition party, and the long-awaited agreement with Rio Tinto was signed in October of the same year. The Government also took concrete steps to improve the business and investment climate, which IFC supported through its Business Inspections Reform and Corporate Governance projects. Investor interest in Mongolia has increased, and Mongolians have a much brighter outlook for the future of their country.

There are difficulties ahead, and tackling them will make the next few years the most interesting in modern Mongolian history. I am sorry that I won't be around. But now it's time to settle in one place after a lifetime of moving from one place to another, for the benefit of my wife and kids. Momma wants to go home, and as they say, if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

My colleagues and my boss, who came to say goodbye from Beijing, threw me a wonderful farewell party in the Valiant Art Gallery. It was a a great place to have it, surrounded by Mongolian art and entertained by musicians, dancers and contortionists. I will miss my friends and colleagues, and I will miss the beauty of Mongolia: its nature, the people, and culture.

I will also miss writing for the PSD Blog. I started writing for it in Aceh, Indonesia in 2006 and continued when I moved to Mongolia. As a token of my appreciation to my readers, I leave you with a video of the contortionists who performed at my farewell party.

Comments

Submitted by Leila on
Dave, you will be missed!

Submitted by Nicole Goldstein on
Thanks David. I enjoyed reading about your personal experiences in Mongolia. I know that Naaz Barma who is currently on leave from the World Bank (having taken up a the post of assistant professor of Political Science at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California) worked a great deal on Mongolia while she was in the East Asia region, particularly in the extractive industries which you mention. With Brian Levy, she developed what they termed a "Governance and Political Analysis" framework and "applied this to mining sector issues in Mongolia, by looking at mining licensing to how the windfall public funds are used to foster long-term development." One of their crucial findings - which they advised the Bank's country team to do - was to reach out to a broad set of stakeholders and beyond the Executive. This is the link to the paper for those who are interested! http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTPUBLICSECTORANDGOVERNANCE/Resources/PGPEbook121509.pdf?&resourceurlname=PGPEbook121509.pdf

Submitted by Buyana on
Hi David, I didn't know you left already...didn't have a chance to say goodbye properly but I hope we will see each other again in the future! All the best, Buyana

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