Goodbye Mongolia...and IFC

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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.


David Lawrence

International Development Consultant

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