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Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Mongolia signed two technical assistance (TA) agreements totaling $1.6 million to support the preparation of the country’s health and education sector master plans on October 20.
The Ministry of Finance’s Director General Dorjsembed Batsengee, and ADB Country Director Yolanda Fernandez Lommen signed the agreements at a ceremony in Ulaanbaatar. Additional co-signatories and witnesses included First Secretary Hiroshi Fukasawa of the Embassy of Japan in Mongolia, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports’ State Secretary J. Bolormaa and the Ministry of Health’s Director General D. Tumurtogoo.
“The projects will help the Government of Mongolia develop a long-term plan for the health and education sectors to realize the goals established in Mongolia’s Sustainable Development Vision 2030,” said Ms. Fernandez Lommen. “Ensuring all major stakeholders are engaged in the development of new health and education sector master plans is one of the key objectives of the projects. The projects are consistent with ADB’s 2017-2020 Mongolia country partnership strategy, which aims to help the government provide better social services.”
The two projects are financed by the Government of Japan through the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR), which has supported 50 projects focused on poverty alleviation, livelihood improvement, and environmental protection in Mongolia over the past 18 years.
The TA on the health sector will assess previous master plan and major sector reforms, define core strategies in priority areas, establish a stakeholder’s consultation and coordination mechanism, and develop a midterm expenditure framework, financial, and investment plans.
Under the project, the Institutional and Human Resource Capacity Building Program will provide formal and on-the-job training to help officials at the Ministry of Health and local governments improve policy planning and implementation coordination.
The education sector TA, meanwhile, will help the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Sports and associated institutions manage and coordinate the process of developing, implementing, and monitoring an education sector master plan.
The TA will draw on in-depth education sector studies in Mongolia and reviews of international experience and lessons. Stakeholders and development partners will jointly review and discuss progress in the sector and identify priority policy and reform actions, physical investments, and institutional capacity development.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in co-financing....
NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co has partnered with data analytics start-up Mosaic Smart Data to help its fixed-income sales and trading business become more profitable.The bank, whose fixed-income trading revenue slumped last quarter, has signed a multi-year deal to use Mosaic Smart Data’s technology division globally, the companies said in a joint statement released on Sunday.
The London-based start-up has developed technology that aggregates and analyzes vast amounts of data from the fixed-income trading division of investment banks to help them make more informed decisions and gain a competitive edge.
That includes helping traders decide which clients to focus on in a given day or enabling management to assess which trader, or trading desk has been performing better.
The partnership underscores the growing demand by banks for technology that can help them gain greater insight from the large quantity of data they produce and store.
“One of the key things the banks are starting to realize is that some of their biggest competitive advantages are locked within their data,” said Matthew Hodgson, Mosaic Smart Data’s founder and chief executive.
Banks are seeking solutions to deal with a liquidity crunch in fixed-income markets. Stricter capital requirements imposed after the 2008 financial crisis have made it more expensive for banks to act as market makers in corporate bonds, leading their fixed-income divisions to slump.
JP Morgan’s fixed-income markets revenue fell 27 percent in the three months ended in September, compared with the same period last year.
Troy Rohrbaugh, global head of macro at JPMorgan, said in a statement that Mosaic Smart Data’s technology could make the bank’s teams “quickly make better informed decisions.”
Mosaic Smart Data is the first company to complete JPMorgan’s “In-Residence” program for fintech start-ups, which was launched in 2016. The program gives young fintech companies support in helping commercialize their products and services.
Hodgson said the idea for the company came from his own experience heading trading at large banks.
“The problem banks face is how do you run your business and understand everything in real time, whether it is research or inventory, and be able to anticipate rather than react to client needs,” he said.
While Phoenix-based Freeport McMoRan remains at loggerheads with the Indonesian government over selling a majority stake in its Grasberg mine in the remote Papua province, Rio Tinto is reported to be seeking an out sooner rather than later.
Bloomberg reports Melbourne-based Rio has held talks with a number of Indonesian groups about exiting its interest in the Grasberg mine which this year is on track to produce more than 450,000 tonnes of copper (compared to Rio's target of around 470,000 tonnes in 2017 across its operations) and a staggering 1.6m ounces of gold.
Rio’s deal with Freeport was struck in 1995 and entitles Rio to a 40% share of production when certain output levels are hit. But as a result of strikes and other disruptions and as the open pit at Grasberg nears the end of its life, Rio hasn’t seen any benefit since 2014.
Apart from building smelters in the Asian nation, Freeport has committed to spending $1 billion per year for the next five years to move operations underground with block-cave mining set to commence in early 2019. After 2021 Rio gets the 40% share on all production, but in an interview with Bloomberg last month Rio CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques said for the company to commit to any spending in Indonesia “an investment would need to prove more valuable than competing opportunities”.
Indonesia has also told Freeport, which under the divestment framework retains operational control until 2041, that it would prefer that the joint venture with Rio be concluded ahead of the stake stale, something Freeport has rejected.
Freeport has been mining at Grasberg since the early 1970s and currently owns just over 90% of the local subsidiary PT-FI operating the mine. Freeport has been in negotiations to sell down its stake for the better part of a decade, but talks have repeatedly broken down over valuation.
Last year, Freeport offered a 10.6% stake in PT-FI that valued Grasberg at $16.2 billion. Jakarta’s counter offer was $630 million. The government is arguing that Grasberg's reserves belong to the state and not the mine operator. Freeport estimates Grasberg's underground reserves currently being developed at 11.8m tonnes of copper and 24m ounces of gold.
Britain's five biggest business lobby groups are calling for an urgent Brexit transition deal, or they warn the UK risks losing jobs and investment.
In a joint letter being sent to Brexit Secretary David Davis, the groups, including the Institute of Directors and CBI, will say time is running out.
Sources told the BBC the letter is still in draft form, but will be sent in the next day or two.
A government spokesman said the talks were "making real, tangible progress".
The other lobby groups backing the letter are the British Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the EEF manufacturing body.
Together they represent companies employing millions of workers.
There has been a growing anxiety among businesses at what they see as a lack of progress in the Brexit negotiations.
One of the five groups told the BBC it was felt a joint letter would "emphasise our wish for a deal and clarity".
They say it is important that the Brexit transition period matches as closely as possible current trading arrangements with the EU.
Theresa May has suggested a period of about two years, with the UK and EU trading on broadly similar terms to now and payments to Brussels to meet Britain's budget commitments.
But although EU negotiators have agreed to start preliminary work on a future relationship, they still want more concessions on the UK's so-called "divorce payment" before starting talks on trade and transition.
Sky News and the Guardian reported they had seen the draft letter, which says an agreement on a transition "is needed as soon as possible, as companies are preparing to make serious decisions at the start of 2018, which will have consequences for jobs and investment in the UK".
The letter reportedly adds: "It is vital that companies only have to undertake one adjustment as a result of the UK's withdrawal, not two - and that businesses, the UK government and authorities in the EU have enough time to make the changes needed to deliver Brexit successfully."
The BBC understands that the business groups want the contents of the letter to remain private.
Concern about the loss of UK jobs and investment was underlined last week when the boss of investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, tweeted that he will be "spending a lot more time" in Frankfurt.
Goldman, which employs about 6,000 people in London, is building up its presence in the German financial city ahead of Brexit.
Earlier this month, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, Sam Woods, warned that the UK and the EU must agree a transition deal by Christmas or companies would start triggering contingency plans.
And in a survey released on Monday, the EEF said that Brexit uncertainty was holding back the plans of manufacturing firms to invest in new plant and machinery.
The EEF said the outlook for investment among its members was "finely balanced", with 51% intending to spend more in the next two years. For the rest, uncertainty over the UK's exit from the EU was holding back planned spending.
Mr Davis is due to travel to Paris for Brexit talks on Monday after France appeared to emerge as the most hardline EU member state when it comes to the divorce bill.
The prime minister is also due to update the Commons on Monday on the progress made during last week's summit of EU leaders in Brussels.
It is thought that Mrs May will say that negotiations are "deeply technical", but she has not forgotten that the lives of millions of people are at the heart of the process.
A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said the prime minister proposed a strictly time-limited implementation period in her Florence speech and had been clear that agreeing this principle early in the process would minimise unnecessary disruption to businesses.
He said: "We are making real and tangible progress in a number of vital areas in negotiations. However, many of the issues that remain are linked to the discussions we need to have on our future relationship.
"That is why we are pleased that the EU has now agreed to start internal preparatory discussions on the framework for transitional arrangements as well as our future partnership."
While true that Mongolia’s economy is heavily dependent on fluctuating coal and copper prices, it is also true that the country’s political parties increasingly influence economic outcomes.
According to The Asia Foundation’s annual survey on perceptions of corruption in Mongolia, in 2010, political parties ranked fifth on a list of the 16 most corrupt entities. By 2017, political parties had reached second place, just behind the Land Affairs Authority.
The findings point to a worrying trend: as the amount of money needed to win an election increases, political parties are looking to “secret, private” donors, giving rise to questions of transparency and fairness in the electoral process. Economists argue that if this pattern continues, it will negatively affect Mongolia’s investment patterns and economic performance.
27 years after the revolution that would lead the Mongolia to a democratic form of government, the country faces social and economic issues that have yet to be resolved. Mongolia’s current poverty issues are mostly connected to its climate and natural disasters such as severe snow storms over the winter and droughts during the summer. The characteristic nomadic way of living is slowly fading because of how animals, as well as their owners, are gravely affected by such climate conditions.
As a country whose economy relies on agriculture and cattle raising, such natural impacts destroy Mongolia’s economy from the root. Thus, Mongolia’s poverty is higher in the rural areas than in major cities.
The Red Cross has been successfully helping Mongolia’s population during the “dzud,” a natural disaster seen only in Mongolia that is distinguished by its severe low temperatures. 2010 was the culminating point, when eight million animals were killed by the natural phenomenon.
By working hand in hand with families within the affected communities, the Red Cross has provided supplies, shelter, physical and emotional support throughout 17 different provinces across Mongolia.
But the different ways of how to help people in Mongolia encompass more than the effects of extreme weather, and therefore have to be tackled with a variety of concepts and strategies.
The United Nations has been working with Mongolia and its citizens to develop an integrated national system as well as macroeconomic plans, which were previously lacking. These strategies have decreased unemployment and reduced poverty due to their economic impact in the country.
The organization People in Need have been working with the country of Mongolia for decades. The NGO ensures access to healthcare for habitants in remote locations, distributes food around the country and helps rebuild rural areas after harsh weather events, among other forms of aid.
How to help people in Mongolia is a question with a simple answer. Creating and spreading awareness is key, and the companies mentioned above and many more are successfully doing this every day. There is hope for Mongolia.
ULAN BATOR, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Nearly one in three Mongolians were living in poverty in 2016, according to a report released on Thursday.
The report, titled "Poverty Situation -- 2016" and released by Mongolia's National Statistical Office and the World Bank, found that the poverty rate increased by eight percentage points from that of 2014 to hit 29.6 percent.
It means that nearly a million Mongolians out of a population of 3 million were living in poverty.
Mongolia's economic growth has been slowing in recent years. Growth was 7.9 percent in 2014 but fell to 1.2 percent last year.
In January 2018, Mongolia is expecting to repay the 'Chinggis' sovereign bond of USD 500 million and the DIM Fund’s bond of USD 160 million in May. According to former Finance Minister B.Choijilsuren, Mongolia will be able to repay bonds on time. He said, ‘we have created the financial situation which can make the repayment of the two bonds valuing a total of USD 660 million possible before the new cabinet begins operation’....
Vnesheconombank has provided financing for a project to supply Russian manufactured agricultural machinery to Mongolia within a USD10m facility granted to Development Bank of Mongolia.
The export project brings together seven Russian agri-machinery manufacturers: Combine Plant Rostselmash LLC, JSC Clever, JSC Buzuluk Heavy Engineering Plant, Voronezhselmash LLC, Kazanselmash LLC, Basis LLC, Omskagroservis LLC.
According to Nikolay Tsekhomsky, Vnesheconombank First Deputy Chairman - Member of the Board, the deal marks the continuation of successful cooperation between Vnesheconombank and Development Bank of Mongolia, paving the way for Russian exporters to Mongolian market and for Mongolian partners - to Russian equipment supplies on favourable terms using export credit funding.
Vnesheconombank and Development Bank of Mongolia are now considering the possibility of joint implementation of other high-potential Russian export projects in Mongolia.
Development Bank of Mongolia was founded in 2011 by Order of the Mongolian Government. The bank’s sole shareholder is the Mongolian Government. The activity of the bank is governed by the Development Bank Act. The bank specializes in financing projects with positive commercial and social impact. The bank’s consolidated assets as at 30.06.2017 amounted to USD129.3m, with equity capital of USD431m and 2Q2017 income of USD43.4m.
ULAN BATOR, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) Mongolia formed a new government, led by Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, on Thursday after two days of parliamentary discussions.
The new cabinet is expected to tackle challenges of reducing poverty, recovering the economy, developing the country's mining industry and attracting foreign investments.
It is faced with heavy external and internal debts amounting to over 73 percent of the gross domestic product of the landlocked east Asian country.
The parliament confirmed Ukhnaa's appointment on Oct. 4. It dismissed in early September the former government led by Jargaltulga Erdenebat, who was allegedly violating parliamentary procedures by granting contracts to companies linked to three cabinet members.
On the cabinet list, Enkhtuvshin Ulzisaikhan is appointed as deputy prime minister, Zandanshatar Gombojav as head of the cabinet secretariat, Enkhbold Nyamaa as defense minister, Tsogtbaatar Damdin as foreign minister, Khurelbaatar Chimed as finance minister, Sumiyabazar Dolgorsuren as mining and heavy industry minister, Batzorig Batjargal as food, agriculture and light industry minister, Nyamdorj Tsend as justice and home affairs minister, and Davaasuren Tserenpil as energy minister.