Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Upcoming SlideShare
Bcm business growth index Q3 2015
Next
Download to read offline and view in fullscreen.

Share

25.01.2010 Remarks at Business Council of Mongolia Meeting, Jonathan Addleton

Download to read offline

Jonathan Addleton, US Abassador to Mongolia

Related Books

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all

Related Audiobooks

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all
  • Be the first to like this

25.01.2010 Remarks at Business Council of Mongolia Meeting, Jonathan Addleton

  1. 1. REMARKS AT BUSINESS COUNCIL OF MONGOLIA MEETING Jonathan Addleton (January 25, 2009) Many thanks – I am delighted to be back in Mongolia after more than five years away; I also much appreciate the invitation to participate in today’s meeting. Given the full schedule, I will try to be relatively brief. However, I do want to provide a quick survey of some of the major ways in which the activities of our Embassy address and can be supportive of the broader business environment here in Mongolia. As I will freely acknowledge, I do come with some biases. Having spent most of my career with USAID, that includes a strong bias for entrepreneurship, for business development and for private sector growth. This approach is reflected in my early tenure in Mongolia, when I served as country director for the USAID program in Mongolia. The program at that time included several programs aimed at promoting private sector development in both rural and peri-urban Mongolia. It also included a strong policy component aimed at improving the business climate. And it included a strong emphasis on the financial sector. I won’t go into details in this forum – but will simply say that in those years USAID had a hands-on involvement in establishing Xac Bank and revitalizing Khan Bank. Although that involvement ended a number of years ago, I do acknowledge some pride USAID’s historic involvement in these notable private sector success stories. Moving forward, it is gratifying to return to Mongolia after several years away and see that, while significant challenges remain, there has indeed been notable progress. Part of that progress is reflected in the Oyu Tolgoi agreement – but there are other positive indications as well.
  2. 2. Every new ambassador will no doubt claim that they arrive at a “historically” important moment for the country to which they have been assigned. In this case, I do believe that there is some truth to that claim. Certainly, decisions that Mongolia makes now will shape the economic and political future of the country for years to come. Mongolia should and will make those decisions. However, foreign embassies, foreign donors and you and your businesses can make a useful contribution in the extent to which we highlight international experience and provide “lessons learned” in other countries and contexts around the world. The fact is, the challenges facing resource rich economies with relatively small populations are huge. But Mongolia can and is benefitting from an increasing familiarity with prior international experiences and “lessons learned,” both positive and negative. As an Embassy, we have a number of “tools” available to enrich the discussion and bring this international development experience to bear, much of which has a direct relation to private sector growth and expansion in Mongolia. As I mentioned, while taking an interest in the development dimensions of our program, I would be the first to argue that in the best of all possible worlds, work at the development end becomes simply a foundation or platform for bringing about the kind of change that truly brings about lasting economic change – specifically, the promotion of entrepreneurship and the establishment of enterprises that are needed to generate employment, promote economic diversity and generate the revenues needed to advance Mongolia’s other objectives, including those related to health, education and cultural development. On the development front, we have several mechanisms, including programs funded by USAID, USDA and MCC. The USAID program has already been mentioned. At more than $20 million, the USAID program in 2009 was the largest in years – and, in fact, the largest ever. Among other things, it included a special “supplemental” to assist Mongolia during the financial crisis, including through $10 million in budget support and more than $2 million for technical assistance related to banking and the financial sector as well as a loan guarantee program implemented through Xac Bank and Khan Bank.
  3. 3. As an old USAID officer, I can say it was very unusual to be able to provide $10 million in budget support for Mongolia – but we signed up that agreement only a couple of weeks ago. Looking ahead to this year, the strong USAID emphasis on economic policy reform and support will certainly continue. Although often operating below the radar screen, US Department of Agriculture programs have been a factor for years and continue to be useful. Most recently, USDA monetization programs have helped extend prior USAID initiatives related to business development in both rural and peri urban Mongolia, involving among other institutions CHF and Mercy Corps. I would argue that other US embassy programs, including Fulbright scholarships as well as Peace Corps and even the Ambassador’s fund for cultural preservation, also have an important development dimension with business implications. But by far the largest current development program involving direct USG support is the Millennium Challenge Corporation/Account, often referred to as the MCC or MCA initiative. Again, I am happy to say that progress on this front is positive. Most notably, all that remains is for the Ikh Hural to ratify an Amended MCC compact that ensures that the $285 million originally intended for Mongolia goes to Mongolia and is not reprogrammed to another country for other purposes. By my lights, the MCC “package” does indeed focus strategically on programs vital for Mongolia’s future: infrastructure, education, environment, health and land titling. In financial terms, it represents a significant grant contribution to Mongolia’s future. By way of comparison, all of the USAID development funds channeled to Mongolia since 1991 total approximately $200 million. In contrast, the MCC allocation is for $285 million over only five years. In my view, that five year period will be critical for Mongolia, serving as a sort of “bridge” between expectations of future income streams brought about by mining initiatives and the time it will take for those income streams to actually materialize.
  4. 4. The clock is already ticking on those five years and at this point there are less than four years left. Now is the time for things to happen; for contracts to be issued and finalized; and for the program to move forward. Indeed, it might be said that there are three main priorities for the MCC program right now: implementation, implementation and implementation. Tender and contracting possibilities are routinely advertised on the MCA website: www.mca.mn As most of you know, all MCC programs are completely untied. Indeed, the MCC track record from around the world shows that companies from many countries have bid successfully for MCA contracts. As an American Ambassador, I want American firms to participate in a big way; but I also want to affirm to this audience that the intent of MCC is to procure the best possible contractors and technical advisors from around the world, wherever they may be found. As I mentioned, the MCC program is quite heavily focused on a few areas. That includes $80 million for infrastructure, including the bridge and road to Nailakh and the road south from Choir to Sainshand. It also includes some $50 million for energy and the environment; nearly $50 million for vocational training; nearly $40 million for health; and more than $23 million for land titling and leasing in urban and peri urban Mongolia. As I think you will agree, these programs have significant implications for your businesses as well. Beyond that, of course, we have an active and strong economics and commercial section, one that actively follows and promotes private sector development in Mongolia. Some of that work is reflected in the very recent investment climate statement produced by this Embassy, one that is publicly available and must rank among the most detailed and comprehensive offered up by any Embassy anywhere. In this presentation, I have simply tried to highlight some of the major ways in which USG funded programs relate to business development in Mongolia.
  5. 5. I am pleased to also note that there are real people and potential sources of information behind these programs. Most notably, our embassy has real institutional depth as well as a historic “memory” of our past areas of involvement. For example, many of you will already know Michael Richmond, our Commercial Officer, who has followed Mongolia closely for many years. Our “new” USAID Mission Director, Chuck Howell, isn’t exactly new to Mongolia – during the 1990s, he first served as Country Director for Peace Corps and then as Country Director for USAID. The historical sense that comes with that long-term involvement is invaluable. He in turn is assisted by other individuals and resources, including two individuals that arrived during my previous tenure in Mongolia – Jeff Goodson, who provides an important measure of historical continuity; and Fernando Bertoli, who heads up the USAID-funded Economic Policy Reform Program. As I mentioned earlier, MCC represents by far the biggest USG investment in Mongolia so far. Here, too, Robert Reid as well as Burak Inanc who is here today can be an invaluable source of information – along with their colleagues at the Mongolian organized and run MCA, which is the focal point for the planning, contracting and implementation associated with the Millennium Challenge program in Mongolia. Other officers at the Embassy, including DCM Nick Hill, head of economic section Vinny Spera and myself will also want to be helpful and supportive. When it comes to specific questions or further follow-up, by all means contact this network of people. As it happens, we are a big enough embassy to have some considerable technical and sectoral depth – but small enough to ensure that we also talk to each other, re- enforcing and strengthening the overall message that we certainly want to extend to a broader audience: that the business side of what we do is important; that expanded trade and investment lend depth and credibility to any bilateral relationship; and that Mongolia stands to benefit enormously when business relationships are deepened and strengthened with any number of international partners, including the United States. Thanks again for the opportunity to provide these remarks; now, I would be happy to answer any questions, either now or informally afterwards.

Jonathan Addleton, US Abassador to Mongolia

Views

Total views

298

On Slideshare

0

From embeds

0

Number of embeds

3

Actions

Downloads

2

Shares

0

Comments

0

Likes

0

×