|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
ULAN BATOR (AFP) - Mongolia's baby boom is pushing its schools to breaking point, with desperate parents facing the stark choice of relying on a lottery system or paying for pricey private classes in capital Ulaanbaatar.
Spots in coveted government-funded kindergartens, for children aged two to five, are determined by an online ballot. Those who miss out risk being left out of the early years education system altogether - unless they can afford a fee-paying option.
Mr Sukhbaatariin Boldbaatar and his wife cannot afford a private nursery for their two-year-old son - he is looking for work, while she cares for their one-month-old infant at home."We thought we would win and we were going to buy his school material," Mr Boldbaatar said. "But we received a text message saying he was not selected. At that moment I thought, 'how could they treat a two-year-old based on luck'."
The city's publicly funded kindergartens have space for just half of the 146,000 children between the ages of two and five who live there, according to the municipal education department.
Experts blame the shortage on bad government policy and poor long-term planning. The majority of Mongolia's state-run schools were built during the Soviet era, and relatively few new facilities have been added since the country became democratic in 1990.
Those who do get in face crammed classrooms and overburdened teachers as resources are stretched.
Fed up with having to work in jammed classes for low pay, public school teachers went on strike on Sept 21 and on Sept 26.
The 122nd kindergarten of Bayanzurkh has 660 students, double its capacity.
"We had to adapt to working with over 60 pupils (per classroom)," said teacher Tsergiin Bayalag.
"This double workload doesn't just affect teachers. The cooks must make twice as much food. I want the government to pay a good enough salary for teachers," he added.
The overcrowding also poses health risks, with germs and the flu being passed around, leaving hospitals struggling to attend to a high number of sick children.
Those with a high enough income no longer even bother with the ballot as the private options offer better learning environments.
Poorer families, who do not secure a place in the public system, have little choice but to keep their children at home until age six, as kindergarten is not compulsory.
Mongolia's birth rate has soared from 18.4 babies per 1,000 population in 2006 to 25.4 per 1,000 last year, according to the national statistics office. There were some 49,000 births a decade ago, compared to around 80,000 last year.
A possible explanation is that a generation from a previous baby boom in the 1980s has reached reproductive age.
In the capital, where half of the country's population lives, internal migration of jobless herders from rural areas has added to the problem.
Executive director Batkhuyagiin Batjargal of the Mongolian Education Alliance NGO, said the crisis is the result of bad public policy. "There were enough warning signs, but not enough measures taken."
Birth rates soared in the Year of the Golden Pig in 2007, as Mongolians believe that year brings wealth, but little was done in anticipation of the extra demands on resources as those babies grew up.
The government is building schools in the ger, or slum, districts of Ulaanbaatar, but the country's debt problems have restricted spending.
Secondary schools are also packed but there is no lottery to enrol as the constitution guarantees free education to all children from the age of six.
Ms Lkhagvasurengiin Oyunchimeg, who has 44 students in her class at School Number 65, cannot find empty classrooms to give extra classes to children who lag behind.
"Sometimes, we work with those kids in the corridors," Ms Oyunchimeg said, "but the corridor is not a proper study area and they get easily distracted."...
On September 27, 2017, 202,556 shares of 31 firms listed as Tier I, II, and III were traded. 14 firms’ shares increased, 11 decreased in price and 7 remained unchanged. Mongol Keramik JSC was the top performer, increasing 15.00 percent, whereas Ulsyn ikh delguur JSC was the worst performer, decreasing 9.43 percent.
On the secondary market for corporate bonds, 1,642 bonds worth MNT 184,795,120 were traded and 24,919 bonds worth MNT 2,446,049,040 were traded by the block.
The MSE ALL Index rose 0.42 percent to stand at 1068.98. The MSE market cap stands at MNT 2,094,869,771,139 .
HOHHOT, The financial cooperation association of China and Mongolia has been set up in Hohhot on September 26 under the leadership of Baoshang Bank and Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia with the participation of 33 financial institutions from both countries.
The financial cooperation association of China and Mongolia held a signing ceremony on the day, during which 27 financial institutions from China and 6 counterparts from Mongolia inked a strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) to become members of the association.
Li Zhenxi, president of Baoshang Bank, introduced that the financial cooperation association of China and Mongolia is a non-profitable, open cross-border financial cooperation organization. Based on the purpose of “resource sharing, advantage complementarity and mutual benefit,” it aims to establish a highly effective development regime to promote China-Mongolia economic and trade exchange and facilitate an all-around cooperation between the two countries.
“With the deep implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, the association is bound to guide economic restructuring and upgrading of China and Mongolia and even the northeast Asia in a bid to improve economic relationship between the two countries and make greater contribution to the China-Russia-Mongolia economic corridor,” added Li.
The financial cooperation association of China and Mongolia is expected to help realize advantage complementarity among its members in risk control, research consultation, investment project cooperation and cross-border capital operation, and carry out cooperation in cross-borer settlement, financing and e-commerce.
Hohhot /MONTSAME/ A forum on the Mongolia-China agricultural cooperation, manufacturing and processing of products has been held in Hohhot, Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region in frames of the Mongolia-China Expo.
P.Sergelen, Acting Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry attended the forum, talking about a possibility of Mongolia to export meat.
“Mongolia has vast experience in animal husbandry. To the extent of a gradual increase in livestock number in Mongolia, the country is able to maximize the meat reserve and export 128.5 thousand tons of meat. As of present, 24 slaughtering houses and six processing factories have been licensed by inspection institutions of Russia, China, Vietnam and Iran. These factories will export meat, which is supplied from ten aimags after performing laboratory examinations,” the Minister underlined.
Deputy Director of the China’s Promotion Center for Agricultural Trade Zhang Shaowang pointed out that China is interested in buying Mongolian meat because of its freshness and hygiene. He said China is possible to render assistance to Mongolia for the animal husbandry as China has advanced technologies. He hopes that the Mongolia-China Expo would contribute to the bilateral cooperation in the agricultural sphere.
Mongolia’s strong economic performance in the first half of 2017 will likely continue for the rest of the year, as coal exports and business confidence continue to strengthen. Continued commitment to macroeconomic stability, coupled with a favorable external environment, should mean that Mongolia’s recovery continues, according to a new Asian Development Bank report, Finchannel reported. In an update of its flagship economic publication, Asian Development Outlook 2017, ADB forecasts continued growth for Mongolia’s economy at 4% and 3% in 2017 and 2018, respectively, compared to the 2.5% and 2% previously projected. “Mongolia’s growth has been stronger than expected in 2017,” said Yolanda Fernandez Lommen, ADB country director in Mongolia. “Continued government commitment will be key to ensuring that planned investment into large ongoing mining projects—critical for future growth prospects—moves ahead. While it is important to create a sound investment environment in Mongolia’s mineral wealth, more will be needed to ensure that mining-led growth is sustainable and inclusive, and the conditions are created to support economic diversification and higher productivity growth.”...
TOKYO/BANGKOK -- Japanese kosen are designed to turn teenagers into professional technicians through five years of intensive training. Established after World War II to help industrialize Japan's economy, the vocational high schools are now attracting attention from emerging Asia for much the same reason.
In Japan, kosen's primary role, to nurture young engineers, seems to be diminishing, but the school's unique teaching system endures. So add technical training schools to the list of Japanese exports.
Among the importers are Thailand and Mongolia. The Nikkei visited both countries to see how things are going.
In Thailand, we found a country worrying about the so-called "middle-income trap." Now there are hopes that kosen can help the country escape this fate. After all, back in Japan's post-war heyday, they were integral in feeding the country's economic locomotive.
At Suranaree Technical College in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, a four-hour drive from central Bangkok, we watched as new students who had entered the school in April were somewhat awkwardly tackling welding machines. When a machine shot out sparks, students watching the process backed up a bit.
In another class, students were using metal fragments to practice soldering. As a small plume of white smoke rose, the smell of flux wafted up. Jiranuwat Chornkrathok, a 16-year-old student, perfectly pulled off the trick. Later, Jiranuwat said he wanted to become an engineer at an electric appliance maker or at a power generation plant.
Suranaree Technical College is one of the two model schools in Thailand backed by Japan's Kosen National Institute of Technology, an independent administrative body on a mission to establish and operate national kosen colleges. It is to be transformed into a kosen come spring. As it prepares to make the switch, it is working out a new curriculum and training teachers with the help of the kosen institute.
The kosen institute offers eight training programs for Thai kosen teachers. While The Nikkei was visiting Suranaree Technical College, teachers from three other schools were on hand for a course being taught by a Japanese lecturer, dispatched by the National Institute of Technology, Kumamoto College, in Kumamoto Prefecture.
The one-week class was designed to help students learn the basics of Python, a general-purpose programming language often used to operate artificial intelligence.
Surapun Junsavut, a 36-year-old teacher at Chonburi Technical College who attended the course was struck by how differently Japanese and Thais approach teaching. Japanese methods are more practice-driven, he observed. The kosen program, in particular, places great importance on practical training.
In Thailand, the hope for kosen is that the schools help keep the country's economy from losing steam.
The project there is being spearheaded by Thailand's Ministry of Education. "We are seeking to introduce the Japanese kosen model to raise the educational standards in our country," said Jerdruedee Chinvaroj, director of the Bureau of Vocational Education Standards and Qualifications.
Thailand has developed a range of thriving industries; its auto sector is especially strong. But the country faces growing competition from lower-cost Myanmar and Cambodia. At the same time, it is struggling to upgrade its industrial structure.
In short, Thailand is staring into the so-called "middle income trap." To avoid the fate that has befallen so many developing nations, the government has launched "Thailand 4.0," an initiative meant to upgrade its industries.
Crucial to this drive is the development of sophisticated workers who can technologically create and innovate.
The Thai business community is holding out hope that kosen can do something about the country's lack of skilled and knowledgeable engineers.
"The establishment of the kosen system will probably boost the country's industrial foundation," the executive said.
But the truth is, these institutions are having difficulty attracting students. This is because Thai technical college students are generally perceived as boorish, Thais harbor a strong preference for white-collar professions and lack respect for those who toil on the shop floor, and because Thailand has a low birth rate.
In Mongolia, the hope is that kosen can help modernize the country.
In 1992, the late Aleksei Ganbayar entered the National Institute of Technology, Tokyo College, known as Tokyo Kosen. He was among a second group of students to be sent to a Japanese kosen under a scholarship program.
He earned a degree in electrical engineering and worked for 20 years as an engineer on projects with Sony, Fujitsu and other companies. He was content with his life in Japan but began considering his own country's modernization.
Mongolia is rich in natural resources and earns foreign currency by exporting them. Japan imports and processes raw materials to make goods. Ganbayar thought that with enough skilled engineers, Mongolia could also get into the value-added game.
Other Mongolian kosen graduates who found jobs in Japan shared the dream of establishing these schools in Mongolia. They started a "kosen club" and began working to bring the academies to Mongolia.
Japanese kosen officials welcomed the idea and in 2009 set up the Society for the Establishment of Mongolian Kosen. With the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Tokyo Kosen and other parties began sending teachers to Mongolia and welcoming education officials from the country.
Things moved quickly. Luvsannyam Gantumur, a kosen graduate, became Mongolia's education, culture and science minister, and in 2014 three kosen opened in Mongolia -- one at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, another affiliated with the Institute of Engineering and Technology and the third at the New Mongol Institute of Technology.
Why is Mongolia interested in kosen? Partly because its gross domestic product, at $3,686 per person in 2016, is roughly the same as that of Japan back when kosen graduates began contributing to the Japanese economy. In 1973, for instance, Japan's per capita GDP was $3,977.
There is a hope of history repeating itself.
Ulaanbaatar is home to half the country's population. The capital urgently needs engineers to improve hygiene and infrastructure, Mayor Sundui Batbold said. The metropolitan government of Ulaanbaatar has partnered with Tokyo Kosen, and its leaders are confident of success.
Before the two parties reached their cooperation agreement, Tokyo Kosen opened an office in Ulaanbaatar. The office is headed by Tsagaan Baigalmaa, a city council member. Baigalmaa entered Tokyo Kosen in 1991, a year before Ganbayar.
In 2014, after she had heard Mongolia was trying to set up kosen, she returned to her homeland from Harvard University, where she was a researcher, and offered to help.
Baigalmaa said owners of textile, food and construction businesses tell her there is a shortage of employees who understand both engineering and management to serve as factory managers.
The Mongolian University of Science and Technology's kosen is training engineers who understand manufacturing and refrigerated transportation of dairy products. If the industry can ramp up sufficiently, it could help alleviate much of the need to import these products.
At the school, there are about 50 students in each class, about a quarter the number at Japanese kosen.
A 17-year-old student in his fourth year of studying machine engineering at the school said he wants to open his own auto repair shop. After graduation, he hopes to get a job at an auto parts plant.
The school has 20 Japanese teachers. Their expertise ranges from welding to computer-aided design. The great advantage of Japanese teachers, Sergelen said, is that they tell students it is OK to fail. They have failed themselves, have learned from their failures and have gone on to make new things.
This is the true value of Japanese kosen, Sergelen said....
DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it will collaborate with Lyft to deploy Ford self-driving vehicles on the ride services company’s network in large numbers by 2021.
Ford and Lyft teams will begin working together to design software to allow Ford vehicles to communicate with Lyft’s smartphone apps.
Ford self-driving test vehicles will be connected to Lyft’s network, but at first, customers will not be able to use them, Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification, told Reuters. Ford will put human-driven vehicles on Lyft’s network.
He did not say when Ford and Lyft expect to offer the first rides in self-driving cars.
“We’re not building prototypes for the sake of building prototypes,” Marakby said, adding Ford intends to ultimately put thousands of self-driving vehicles in use.
Ford’s new Chief Executive Jim Hackett is scheduled to meet with investors on Tuesday to outline the Dearborn, Mich. automaker’s strategy for boosting profitability. Ford shares are down 1.65 percent so far this year, while Detroit rival General Motors Co’s shares have risen 15.6 percent, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV shares are up 71 percent.
Hackett’s plans to compete for revenue from mobility services, which include car sharing and ride-hailing, will be one area of focus for investors. The Lyft partnership fills in a piece of the puzzle.
Ford also is testing delivery services using self-driving vehicles and a van shuttle service. The self-driving vehicles Ford will deploy through Lyft will use software developed by Argo AI, a company in which Ford is investing $1 billion over the next five years.
The company has said it will invest $700 million in a factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, to make it capable of building electric and self driving vehicles.
Lyft has said it will offer an open platform for companies to deploy self-driving vehicles on its network, and has partnerships with self driving vehicle technology startup Drive.ai and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo self driving car unit.
GM has a 9 percent stake in Lyft, acquired for $500 million in January 2016. “Our relationship with GM has always been a non-exclusive relationship,” Raj Kapoor, Lyft’s chief strategy officer, told Reuters.
GM is also assembling the assets necessary to launch its own ride services using self-driving cars, building its Maven car-sharing unit and preparing to launch mass production of autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric cars at a factory in suburban Detroit.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Mongolian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced their five-year cooperation strategy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on September 27.
Acting Minister of Health A.Tsogtsetseg and WHO Regional Director for Western Pacific Shin Young-soo signed a document on strategic cooperation between the Government of Mongolia and the WHO in 2017-2021.
Following the ceremony, WHO Regional Director Shin Young-soo, who is visiting Mongolia on September 26-28, spoke about the WHO’s efforts to render medical services to outer districts of the capital city and remote communities in provinces in cooperation with local and national organizations, noting how Mongolia strives to realize the Sustainable Development Goals and develop an inclusive healthcare system, leaving no one behind.
“The health sector of Mongolia has seen visible growth in recent years,” he said, citing the reduction of infant mortality rate in 2000-2015. Meanwhile, Mr. Shin Young-soo expressed concerns about continued spread of diseases such as tuberculosis, drug-resistant tuberculosis and hepatitis, increasing cases of non-infectious diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke and diabetes. “It is necessary to focus on environmental pollution and sanitation, issues that leave impact on health,” he said.
The Health Ministry and the WHO identify three strategic priorities for the cooperation in the next five years – strengthening healthcare system assessable to all; realizing comprehensive people-centered healthcare programs; and improving the health of all Mongolians, engaging other sectors in order to ensure healthy environment, reflect health issues in government policies, focusing on inter-sector cooperation and improving coordination.
Acting Minister A.Tsogtsetseg expressed her confidence that the strategy will guide bilateral efforts and contribute to improving population health.
South Korea has stepped up its efforts to globalise its legal system by strengthening its cooperation with Mongolia. From 13th to 15th September, Kim Oe-sook, Minister of Government Legislation, visited the Mongolian Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs and the Law School of the National University of Mongolia to discuss strengthening legislative exchanges and cooperation.
'The visit to Mongolia was very meaningful as we identified the country's huge interest in our legal system that enabled rapid economic growth in Korea in a short period of time,' Ms. Kim said in a recent interview.
'If Mongolia adopts our legal system according to its interests and will, a legal system similar to ours could take root in the country,' she added. 'I believe that our people who want to advance into the Mongolian market would enjoy an environment more favorable to them.'
During her visit, Ms.Kim met with Sandag Byambatsogt, Minister of Justice and Home Affairs of Mongolia, and signed a work plan as a follow-up measure to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 2014.
The agreement came as Mongolia has shown interest in the success of Korea's 'national legal information system' and asked the Korean government to share its experience of developing the system.
Based on the work plan, the two nations will conduct joint research and establish a seminar on the modification of laws from 2018 to 2020.
Kincora Copper, a junior resource company listed on the Canadian TSX Venture Exchange, announced on September 22 that it had secured 1.1 million USD in capital through a private placement by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
EBRD will receive a 6.16 percent stake in the company in exchange for 1.1 million USD in capital. The purpose of the private placement for Kincora was to further its funding for exploration.
EBRD noted that such funding is not in the usual portfolio and the private placement was a move away from the bank’s reluctance to finance exploration rather than operational projects because it is seen as more high-risk. Eric Rasmussen, the director of natural resources at the EBRD, said the bank could make an exception because of “an exploration gap” following the commodity price crash of 2015-2016.
Kincora, which has the mining license for more than 1,500 square kilometers has begun its drilling program for copper in Mongolia. Analysts predict that the demand for copper will only increase, especially in China, due to infrastructure projects such as the one promised by US President Donald Trump and the rise of electric vehicles. This promises to be very beneficial for Kincora Copper and Oyu Tolgoi, which explains EBRD’s interest and willingness to buy a stake in Kincora.
EBRD is a multilateral bank that promotes the development of the private sector and entrepreneurial initiative in 37 economies across three continents. The bank is owned by 66 countries as well as the EU and the EIB.
Since entering Mongolia in 2006, EBRD has committed a total of 1.7 billion USD to the Mongolian private sector through 86 projects.
EBRD announced that its first vice president Phil Bennett will visit Mongolia next week to meet the interim government and the business community. He will also visit Rio’s Oyu Tolgoi mining project, a statement on Thursday said.
The securing of the 1.1 million USD in private placement marks the second time this year that Kincora has received capital through a tranche. The first tranche raised around 4.8 million USD on August 22.
Similar to the first tranche, each unit will be comprised of one common share of Kincora and one-half of a share purchase warrant, each whole warrant entitling the holder to acquire a further share at 0.36 USD for a period of two years.
The agreement also provides EBRD with certain pre-emptive rights to acquire further shares of Kincora in future private placements and requires that EBRD consent to a disposition of any interest in the company’s Mongolian subsidiaries.
“We are very pleased to welcome EBRD as a shareholder. The bank has unique knowledge of, and relationships in Mongolia and has provided finance to assist the development of the two existing economic copper projects in the Devonian belt. In the last two months, Kincora has attracted two new significant investors who are well known in the industry and have undertaken extensive due diligence,” said Sam Spring, president and CEO of Kincora.
“The second tranche from EBRD will support and accelerates the first modern systematic Tier 1 drill testing and district scale reconnaissance exploration program in the world-class, under-explored Southern Gobi Devonian copper gold belt with drilling activities commenced at our East TS target in the last month and shortly also to commence at the Bayan Tal target,” Spring added....