Departing Country Manager Shares His Thoughts on Mongolia's Economic Growth

July 22, 2010

Ulaanbaatar, July 22, 2010 – Today representatives from the banking sector, private sector, academic community, media and the public attended a public lecture, presented by Arshad Sayed, titled ‘Mongolia's economic growth: what’s next?’.

Arshad, who has held the position of resident representative of the World Bank Mongolia office, shared findings from the World Bank produced ‘Mongolia Quarterly Economic Update –July 2010’  and spoke candidly about his four year tenure in Ulaanbaatar.

Arshad said that in March 2007, he had given a lecture titled “Mongolia’s natural resources: a blessing or a curse”? Today, he said, I think I may have an answer.  There is definitely the potential to go down the path filled with blessings, but that path will not be easy, and there will be many obstacles.

“To overcome these obstacles what is needed is to build a social compact – between Parliament and Government, private sector, and citizens.  A compact that will ensure that when wrong steps are taken, everyone agrees to correct these and when good steps are taken, everyone agrees to fall in line.”

“I hope that during my tenure the World Bank has contributed to the development of Mongolia by opening up windows of knowledge of other countries – such as Chile, Botswana, Canada and Australia, among others, so that Mongolia can benefit from their experience” said Sayed.

He also hoped that the Bank would continue to create platforms of engagement – where knowledge, advice, and resources could be brought together – so that other partners and civil society in the country could participate in shaping the development agenda.  “As a country that has been my home for the past four years, I will miss Mongolia” said Arshad.

Arshad finished his lecture with a poem titled ‘I am Mongolia’.

Where do I belong?
I come,  Where,
came different worlds,
started the march of conquests
a new age began

Why this crossroad?
I have withstood, the
ravages of armies,
greed of neighbors,
fury of gods

Why do I struggle?
I have within me, more
riches than others know
treasures than one can find
beauty than can be seen

Why do I falter?
I gave birth, to
kings and princes
the steady passage of modernity

Oh, Do not
Pity, Or
shed tears
rush in judgment

For I am Mongolia
And I have a date with destiny
A destiny that began with Burkhan khalduun

Following the lecture, Arshad, along with the World Bank’s senior mining and energy specialist Graeme Hancock and senior infrastructure specialist Jim Reichert and other sector staff answered questions from audience members about Mongolia’s mining future, the Government of Mongolia’s cash handout strategies and solutions for a brighter future.

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