Ulaanbaatar, September 20, 2012 - As part of her first visit to Mongolia, World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, Pamela Cox met with nomadic herders in Tuv aimag today, to learn how “solar gers” are transforming their lives by giving them access to electricity – the result of the Bank’s Renewable Energy and Rural Electricity Access Project which helped Mongolia reach its goal of “100,000 solar gers.”
“We are proud to be part of this effort, which means 500,000 people, or half the rural population of Mongolia, have electricity through portable and affordable solar home systems,” said Ms.Cox. “Now, children can study at night, families can watch TV and recharge cell phones, enabling them to connect to the world while maintaining their nomadic lifestyles. This is one of many innovative ideas that we are putting to work on the ground to make growth more inclusive.”
The project also developed and trained a network of 50 privately-run shops throughout Mongolia that sell, maintain, and repair solar home systems. This network of private operators have partnered with village administrators to connect with herders. The shops also sell TVs, radios, cell phone chargers and other small appliances bundled with solar home systems, creating a new market for consumer electronics and stimulating economic activity in rural areas.
In Mongolia, Cox will also meet with the Prime Minister and other government officials to learn more about their views on development priorities and discuss how the World Bank can best support these efforts.
“Recent double-digit growth saw poverty decrease by almost 10 % points between 2010 and 2011, from 39.2 % to 29.8 %, and important progress has been made in gender, with more women parliamentarians than ever before,” said Ms.Cox. “But about 30 % of Mongolians still live in poverty. The challenge is for the ongoing economic transformation to be inclusive and sustainable so that all Mongolians have an opportunity for a better life. “
While Mongolia’s long term economic prospects are strong, generating sustainable and inclusive growth will require sustained actions including a sound legal framework for mining, transparent management of revenues, support for diversification of the economy, and support for the most vulnerable.
Ms.Cox will also meet with representatives of civil society, the private sector and development partners to discuss how to promote transparency and accountability.