Landlocked Mongolia has made significant progress since its shift to a market-based open economy in 1990. Half of Mongolia’s 2.8 million people live in or around Ulaanbaatar, the capital city.

Notwithstanding a reduction in the country’s overall poverty, more than one out of five Mongolians still struggle to live on less than US$1.25 per day, and the country ranks 108 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 Human Development Index.

Mongolia held its first democratic parliamentary election in 1990 and its first direct presidential election in 1993. It continues to hold democratic and fair elections, including in June 2013.

Mongolia holds extensive reserves of copper, gold, oil and coal, and exports of these commodities are the country’s primary source of revenue. Exports are expected to drive economic growth over the next five years. The country is putting in place systems to manage this export-led growth, protect its environment and natural assets and ensure equitable sharing of benefits among citizens. Approximately 22 percent of Mongolia's workforce is still employed in agriculture, although this figure has been declining, while the rapidly growing mining sector relies to a significant degree on foreign workers because Mongolia's workforce lacks relevant skills.

Find out what Canada is doing to support development in Mongolia.

Thematic focus

In 2014, Mongolia was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada's international development efforts.

Canada's international development bilateral assistance program in Mongolia is closely aligned with Mongolia's Economic and Social Development Priorities 2010–2015, which focuses on ensuring human development, decreasing rural-urban disparities and improving economic competitiveness.

The goal of Canada's assistance is to help the country stimulate sustainable economic growth by strengthening public service capacity, particularly the management of the extractive sector.

Economic growth

Canada will support efforts to improve the quality, stability and transparency of Mongolia's mining-related legislation, policies and regulations, including ensuring that environmental and workplace health and safety issues are addressed. Canada will also support Mongolia's efforts to develop a professional, merit-based and non-partisan civil service that can plan and administer government reforms and initiatives, particularly in relation to the extractive sector.

Key anticipated results

  • Increased capacity of Mongolian public sector institutions to manage the extractive sector sustainably and responsibly.

Results to date

  • Supported the revision and development of an implementation plan for the new civil service law.
  • Increased effectiveness and visibility of Mongolian women Parliamentarians to undertake legislative reform to end gender-based violence.
  • Strengthened water management training for mining companies and stakeholders in the South Gobi.

Progress on aid effectiveness

Mongolia adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages). Most donors focus on economic infrastructure, education and social services.

By working with Canadian and international partners, Canada is working to improve the health and rights of women and children globally, which includes the country of Mongolia.

2014-2015 international assistance disbursements to Mongolia (in millions of dollars)

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