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Speeches & Transcripts March 26, 2018

Opening Remarks by James Anderson at the Mongolia Employment Support Project (MESP) Launch

Dear Minister Chinzorig, dear colleagues and friends,

Good morning. On behalf of the World Bank Group, I’m delighted to speak at this event launching the Mongolia Employment Support Project (MESP) to be implemented by the MLSP with financial and technical support of the WBG for the coming four years.

This project greatly enriches our longstanding partnership with the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection by expanding the WBG engagement in the SPJ sector that have been largely focused on social welfare and pensions matters.

The recent slowdown in Mongolia’s growth due to lower commodities prices brought a significant decline in jobs and a rapid rise in unemployment. Even during the economic boom between 2010 and 2014, the unemployment rate stayed relatively elevated and rarely dropped below 7 percent. Informal employment – often through low-level self-employment –also continues to be widespread. Informal jobs and unemployment are particularly common for a number of specific population segments such as citizens having difficulty finding employment, youth, women and poor households etc.

, better aligning employment training programs with labor demand, and improving the quality and availability of labor market information.

The project will provide new opportunities for people to start and grow sustainable microenterprises. The comprehensive support will include a range of non-financial support services, including business skills and development training, mentoring, peer-to-peer and alumni networks, and market linkages. It will also include financial support such as microloans for new and existing microenterprises, supplemented by interest rate relief for the most vulnerable beneficiaries.

In addition, it will support employment training that is better matched with labor demand, while local labor and social welfare offices will be given the opportunity to develop and implement their own labor market proposals appropriate for the local context.

I hope to see some of you tomorrow at the launch of the report of a qualitative study of constraints underlying gender disparities in Mongolia's labor market

where the issues around the growing gender disparities in Mongolia’s labor market will be extensively discussed.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank Minister Chinzorig for initiating this project ideas and bringing these ideas to fruition. The project was diligently designed by our joint team under the leadership of Ms. Amartugs, General Director of the Employment Promotion Policy Implementation Department of the ministry and we thank you Ms. Amartugs very much for your great leadership, commitment and collaboration with our team through this long process of coming to this stage. I would also like to thank the World Bank team that is here with me today for this event.

Let me end by wishing the management and colleagues at the MLSP, its implementing agencies, UB city and aimag/district employment offices and all stakeholders every success in making the best use of this project for achieving your great institutional objectives in effectively addressing the labor market challenges in the country.

I very much look forward to seeing the successful implementation of the project.

Thank you.