Mongolia is a major destination for Australian foreign investment, particularly in its fledgling mining sector. The mining sector’s contribution to economic growth has grown steadily over the past decade and today accounts for approximately 20 per cent of gross domestic product1.
Australia has significant commercial interests with over 50 Australian companies operating in Mongolia, such as in Mongolia's largest financial undertaking, the Oyu Tolgoi mine. The new Australia–Mongolia Extractives programme will become a major focus of Australia’s bilateral engagement in the years ahead. The programme will help support effective governance in private-sector led growth and economic reform in Mongolia. It will assist government agencies to:
- strengthen governance and environmental safeguards in the mining sector
- help create a more transparent and stable investment environment for Australian and other foreign investors
- partner with the private sector to improve access to technical and vocational education and training and jobs in disadvantaged communities to advance Mongolia’s development.
A $5 million partnership (2012-15) with the World Bank to improve water resource management in the main mining area in southern Mongolia will be incorporated into this programme. The partnership is providing policy and planning support for management of Mongolia’s finite water resources. As part of our development of the Extractives programme with the Mongolian Government, we are engaging broadly with the Mongolian private sector and foreign investors on the aims and implementation of the programme, including through the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia.
We will continue to support education and human resource development in Mongolia's private, public and civil society sectors through the highly-valued Australia Awards in Mongolia scholarships programme. From 2015, Australia will provide 45 Australia Awards Scholarships to Mongolian awardees. The programme’s alumni, who include parliamentarians, senior civil servants and businesspeople, are making a strong contribution to the sustainable development of the Mongolian economy and our bilateral relationship. Structured support for employment and networking between scholarship alumni is a strong feature of the programme, which the Mongolian Government has contrasted favourably with scholarship programmes from other countries.
Australian volunteer James Anthony works as an English Language Specialist with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in Mongolia (credit: Austraining International).
Details of the proposed expenditure for this program for 2013-14 can be found here.
A table of proposed expenditure for 2013-14 and actual expenditure for 2012-13 for DFAT's aid program can be found here.
1 World Bank, Mongolia Overview, Washington, D.C., 2013, viewed 20 March 2014 [external website]