Ulaanbaatar, October 30, 2009- Financial experts from around the world gathered yesterday to discuss Mongolia’s economic susceptibility to periods of bust and boom.
The conference is a timely reminder following Mongolia’s signing of the Oyu Tolgoi $4 billion mining deal with mining giants Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines and the recent decline in the price of copper, Mongolia’s main export, which has left a gaping hole in the nation’s struggling economy.
H.E. Mr. Ts. Elbegdorj, the President of Mongolia opened the conference by stating: “We (Mongolia) have just endured a global crisis of massive proportions. On the heels of this crisis, we have taken the responsible decision to develop the Oyu Tolgoi project after many years of debate. This project, along with other promising mineral deposits, has the potential to dramatically change our country and our future.”
“This conference provides us with an ideal opportunity to learn from the experiences of other countries, so that Mongolia does not make the same mistakes in the future.” said the President.
The President urged a good discussion and learning among the conference participations towards to concrete action from the government of Mongolia in regards to responsible fiscal and financial planning, policies and implementation.
The conferences’ main agenda was Mongolia’s financial sector and fiscal policy that emerged during a time of crisis. The conference, which was organized by the World Bank and held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, also focused on the importance of spending responsibly, proper government investment plans, responsible domestic fiscal policy and good governance.
Speakers at the 2009 Economic Policy Conference included:
- Vikram Nehru, Director Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Sector Department, the World Bank EAP
“Managing a financial crisis and lessons for Mongolia”
- Eric Parrado, International Finance Coordinator & Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of Finance of Chile.
“Fiscal stabilization lessons from Chile”
- Remco van der Molen, Netherlands Ministry of Finance.
“Preventing Dutch Disease”
- L. Purevdorj, Governor of the Bank of Mongolia.
“The importance of reforms in the financial sector of Mongolia”
- Steve Barnett, Mission Chief for Mongolia, IMF.
“The rules and tools for fiscal responsibly”
Vikram Nehru speaking to an audience of over 900 at the cultural center in Ulaanbaatar said Mongolia has a small and open economy, one that is prone to external shocks.
“To ensure financial stability in Mongolia, a financial system needs to be introduced that is less pro-cyclical and more resilient to internal stress and external shock.” said Mr Nehru.
Nehru’s speech focused on three key concepts when managing a financial crisis: 1) the need for speed, 2) the need for preparation and 3) the need for transparency.
Arshad Sayed, the Country manager and Resident representative, World Bank in Mongolia said that “Today’s discussion helped to inform these ongoing policy debates as well as to highlight how the Government’s proposed reforms draw on the experience of other countries, countries that have dealt successfully with problems in managing volatile revenues from natural resources and their overall economies.”
“I hope this second Mongolia Economic Policy Conference will help support the important actions the Mongolia Government continues to take in response to the crisis, and the equally important medium term reform agenda.” said Mr. Sayed.
The annual Economic Policy Conference provides an important avenue for the government of Mongolia and representatives of Mongolian society to learn from local and international finance experts about effective fiscal and financial policy. The conference also provides an opportunity for the people of Mongolia to ask questions of the experienced panel and share their views on the country’s development priorities.