Wednesday, March 27, 2013

CONFERENCE STARTS ON EFFECTIVE SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND MANAGEMENT

Ulaanbaatar, March 20 /MONTSAME/ For Effective Sovereign Wealth Fund Management, the Government of Mongolia and World Bank Group Partner started Wednesday a High-level International Conference.

Some 100 high-level policy makers and MPs have gathered to discuss options for Mongolia in managing its mineral resources revenue at an International Conference titled "Effective Sovereign Wealth Fund Management", co-organized by the Ministry of Finance of Mongolia and the World Bank.

It has brought together international practitioners from other resource-rich countries who can share their expertise on Sovereign Wealth Funds, so that Mongolian policymakers can make better informed choices that will best serve Mongolia's vision for shared prosperity through effective management of its mineral revenue.

The PM N.Altankhuyag made the opening remarks. Following it, two keynote speeches were delivered by Ch.Ulaan, the Minister of Finance, and by Mr Roger Schjerva, Norway's Deputy Minister of Finance. Welcoming remarks were given by Ms Coralie Gevers, the Country Manager of the World Bank. Discussions are held and led by some Ministers and by N.Zoljargal, the president of the Bank of Mongolia, as well as MPs including heads and members of Economic and Budget Standing Committees.

Mr Schjerva intends to touch upon his country's experience with managing natural resource over the last four decades and its globally renowned Sovereign Wealth Fund. The speech is followed by presentations by internationally distinguished guest speakers. Mr. Rolando Ossowksi, Former Assistant Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund will overview fiscal management framework and resource funds management in resource rich countries such as Mongolia.

Mr Roberto De Beaufort Carmago of the World Bank, a leading expert on Sovereign Wealth Fund, will introduce key mechanisms of Sovereign Wealth Funds including governance and operation aspects. Ideas and views will be exchanged between Mongolian participants and high-level international practitioners from other resource rich countries with successful natural resource management practice and Sovereign Wealth Fund experience, including Norway, Chile, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, Abu Dhabi and Timor-Leste.

The conference will be wrapped up by discussions on options for Mongolia by top policy makers and MPs of Mongolia.

Mongolia is experiencing a major economic transformation thanks to its vast mineral resources. It has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world registering economic growth of 17.5 percent in 2011 (Mogi: 17.3%) and 12.3 percent in 2012. Estimated to have the potential to provide at least a third of national GDP, the development of the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) copper and gold mine--along with other mineral discoveries--promises to transform this nation's economy. The natural resource revenues provide a great opportunity to significantly enhance national wealth and shared prosperity across all Mongolians for generations to come.

Going forward in Mongolia, prudent fiscal policy and proper management of mineral revenues will be critical to ensuring stable and sustainable economic growth and to turning the expected mineral revenue streams into a strong foundation of prosperity for future generations. In this context, the Government of Mongolia has been working to develop a comprehensive framework for resource fund management. "As the Government defines a set of concrete actions including drafting a new legislation that will stipulate guidelines of mineral wealth management, the International conference will help develop a consensus around key issues", saidMr S.Purev, the Vice Minister of Finance, underscoring the importance of the conference.

Large mineral revenue windfalls do not come without significant challenges. Increasing reliance on mineral resources makes the Mongolian economy more vulnerable to highly volatile mineral market fluctuation. "This international conference will be a forum to learn how other resource rich countries successfully overcame challenges and to discuss options for Mongolia to transform volatile mineral revenues into the permanent source of future prosperity," said Ms Coralie Gevers.

The two-day International Conference will be further extended to an open discussion with university students who will lead Mongolia's economy in the future. A Student Forum on "International Experience on Managing Natural Resource Revenue" will be held on March 22 at the National University of Mongolia, with over 100 university students and professors. This Student Forum will bring three distinguished international guest speakers to discuss principles of sound mineral resource management framework and country experiences from Chile and Botswana which are internationally accepted as best practices.

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