CIDA: Minister Oda Visits Mongolia

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA, Aug 28, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation has completed a fact-finding trip to Mongolia today, aimed at building greater cooperation between Canada and Mongolia. During her visit, Minister Oda met with senior government officials, including Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Gombojav Zandanshatar, Minister of Social Welfare and Labour, Tugsjargal Gandi, and Dashdorj Zorigt, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.
"The warm welcome I received during my visit demonstrated that Canada and Mongolia will continue to build on our growing relationship. We had productive discussions on how Canada might further assist Mongolia to strengthen its democratic governance and economic growth," Minister Oda said.
"We welcome the desire of the Mongolian government to model their future development on Canada," stated Minister Oda. "Their recognition that our shared values can contribute greatly to a prosperous and democratic future for the Mongolian people."
Canada and Mongolia examined ways to strengthen governance leading to improvements towards an open, accountable and transparent public service. Despite the high levels of literacy and primary education in Mongolia, a larger technical and skilled workforce was identified as a primary need to help Mongolian women and men secure long term employment in the country's growing open market economy.
The Government of Canada will also continue to support development initiatives in Mongolia through its long-term support to multilateral and global organizations, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
In 2009 - 2010, the Government of Canada contributed $11.34 million toward development assistance initiatives in Mongolia.
BACKGROUNDER
Mongolia is a lower-middle income country dependent on the export of its natural resources that represents 22.4 percent of its GDP. Half of Mongolia's population of 2.8 million lives in and around the capital of Ulaanbaatar. The remainder of the population is widely dispersed throughout the desert regions of the country.
Mongolia has made significant progress in its move to a market-based economy following the end of communism and the introduction of democracy in 1990. The country held its first parliamentary elections in 1990 and its first direct presidential election in 1993.
Despite economic and political reforms, 22.4 percent of Mongolia's population continues to live below the poverty line of $1.25 per day. Mongolia ranks 100 out of 169 countries on the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index. More than 40 percent of the workforce is engaged in the declining agricultural sector, while the rapidly growing mining sector relies heavily on foreign workers. Despite high literacy rates, at 97 percent, many Mongolian women and men lack the relevant skills to secure jobs in this vital industry.
Mongolia's rate of maternal mortality is 46 per 100,000 live births. The under-five mortality rate is 43.3 deaths per 1,000 live births and life expectancy at birth is 67 years.
Mongolia's extensive reserves of copper, gold, oil, and coal are its primary source of export revenue. In 2010, mineral exports accounted for 81 percent of Mongolia's export revenue.
For further information on Canada's current development projects in Mongolia visit the Canadian International Development Agency's Project Browser. ( http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/cidaweb/cpo.nsf/fWebCSAZEn?ReadForm&idx=00&CC=MN )
        
        Contacts:
        Justin Broekema
        Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
        819-953-6238
        justin.broekema@acdi-cida.gc.ca
        
        Media Relations Office
        Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
        819-953-6534
        media@acdi-cida.gc.ca
        
        
        


SOURCE: Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA
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