Friday, October 16, 2009

Mongolia 2030

The world has begun to recognize Mongolia as one of the richest countries in terms of natural resources, particularly in mineral wealth. At the same time we, Mongolians have begun to increasingly worry about the “Dutch decease” an economy gets when there is too much dependence on mineral commodity.

It looks like both our politicians and our government do not have any further agenda behind finding cash in any form at any cost, in order to buy electorate votes for the next election.

For ordinary Mongolians who measure life and their wellbeing with longer than four year span, or the lifetime of their children and grandchildren, at times it is necessary to think for a moment about the future of our country in 20 or so years from now. Not any Mongolian would wish for the next generation to live in the current way, so that one is born, married, has many babies, and not finding a job exists hardly making ends meet and then cheats himself by drinking vodka. This is the lifestyle of half of the Mongolian population today. Our future must be different tomorrow.

Every developed nation whose people enjoy high standard of living and whose visa is hard to obtain for Mongolians, had to discuss its future vision as a nation once upon a time. After that everyone could see clearly many years ahead and worked hard to get there. Their government does its best to make sure their creative business activities are based on certain principles and not on circumstances, that their citizens’ freedom and their properties are protected. So they spend their resources in a productive way and their long term hard work results in their current wealth.

For us, who do not know where we are on the road of development and most importantly where we will be, not surprisingly all roads seem right. While officials talk about goals for millennia, it is not clear what that means for us. What is each of us supposed to do in our lifetime to attain those goals? What could a vision for Mongolia in the year of 2030 be?

In 20 years from now we can be an international center for higher education, medicine, banking and financing, as well as a major hub for air transportation.

If we can provide these services at a world class level, there would be a global demand for them.

If we establish a branch of the World’s best universities, whole of Asian and Eastern Russian students would come to study in Mongolia. It would even be cheaper for European and American students, provided that the quality of educational services is the same. This model could also be applied to medical and banking sectors. There is even more chance in the air passenger and cargo transportation (Please read the essay “Air transportation” in

We would establish the infrastructure, the “hardware,” for the branches of the strongest schools through most modern design with our mining revenue. The “software” or the know-how would come with the faculty and academia of the schools and should be run by their management. We would provide all the conditions for showing as minimal difference from the base schools as possible.

We would adapt to their standard of teaching, and not limit with labor quota or other conditions. Legal and business environments are to be created to ensure that both branch and base campuses have the same quality.

One of the valleys of Bogd Mountains could be say a Yale-Ulaanbaatar University Campus. Several similar branches have opened in China already, but there are limitations in terms of freedom of speech, due one-sided ideology. The same could be applied to the medical, banking and financial services

The problem with us Mongolians is that our actions are short sighted. We must think big and create big. Sadly, in some cases we proceed without purpose. Many hurdles we face today in terms of increasing our living standard are due to this single defect.

We have almost all the resources needed for creating such centers. The financial resources are coming in the very near future. We are as global as ever before and we have freedom to act. We have a smart younger generation. If we make a clear cut vision and focus, there is a historic chance emerging for us to use the enormous mineral proceeds in a smart and effective way. It depends on our will and aspiration, productivity, and transparency level of governance. If we can become such a knowledge economy, than it would be a real renaissance of the same powerful Mongolia 800 year ago.


  1. Wow wow wow! What a cool idea, but nobody has commented yet and I am the first one right :-)

    I want exactly what you said -the hub for the world class education in Mongolia. I am doing my PhD in the UK and everyone in Mongolia cannot afford to pay such a big sum to gain a good quality education at the moment.

    But I will be there soon and that will be a start and hopefully more more scholars will create better future for bright Mongolians.
    Thank you for sharing your ideas through your blog.
    All the best,

  2. Great read. We desperetaly need this kind of picture for our future; to aspire and work towards.