The text below is an excerpt from the original article by Giovanna Mingarelli, published October 23, 2013 on The Huffington Post.
It was my last night in the capital city of Ulanbaataar (UB) during my first visit to Mongolia. I had spent an evening at a private reception generously hosted by the President of Mongolia, Elbegdorj Tsakhia, taking part in some of Mongolia’s older traditions — like trying my hand at the Mongolian bow and enjoying a bowl of fermented mare’s milk.
My visit also included a day at the stunning Terelj Resort in Mongolia’s National Park; strolling the semi-arid steppes of the country’s highlands; and checking out the breathtaking statue of Genghis Khan seated on horseback, the largest statue of its kind in the world. Overall, I had spent four days exploring the many faces of the country, engaging in discussions about the future of this most ancient nation.
The value of the country is indescribably vast, and for those who know it, the possibility for gainful success is great — if the country can move in the right direction over the next several decades.
With a population of three million people, Mongolia is currently one of the world’s fastest growing economies, with GDP growth for 2013 forecasted to be 14 and 16 percent (with a value of USD $10 billion) and a natural wealth valued at more than USD $3 trillion.
Landlocked between China and Russia, the country is benefiting from a booming mining industry, which is still far from realizing its full potential. To this effect, the government has strong ambitions to use this wealth to improve infrastructure and foster growth, ultimately improving the lives of its people.
I had been invited to participate in the World Economic Forum’s Strategic Dialogue on the Future of Mongolia. This forum brought together 150 Mongolian government and other leading domestic and international stakeholders to develop a set of scenarios that explore the different ways in which Mongolia’s future might develop.