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Poverty in Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked nation in East Asia, caught between Russia to the north and China to the South. Since transitioning into a capitalist democracy in the 1990s, it has become one of the region’s fastest-growing economies. However, Mongolia is held back by various issues such as poverty and uneven economic growth. Here are five facts about poverty in Mongolia:

Five Facts About Poverty in Mongolia

  1. Poverty Rates: According to the World Bank, 28.4% of Mongolians lived below the poverty line as of 2018. The Mongolian Poverty Line is defined as living off 166,580 Tugrug ($66.4 USD) per month. A further 15%  are considered vulnerable to falling into poverty due to unforeseen events. Taken together, these statistics show that two out of every five Mongolians live in or close to poverty.
  2. High Inflation: Mongolia has been experiencing rapid inflation over the past few years, compounding the issues surrounding poverty in Mongolia. Inflation rates increased from 0.73% in 2016 to 7.26% in 2019. This financially strains vulnerable communities who already struggle to provide for necessities. High inflation notably impacts the urban poor more than the rural poor; while the urban poor need to buy all their food, many rural herders and farmers can produce much of their own food and gain greater profits from increased prices.
  3. Uneven Economic Growth: Mongolia’s GDP has grown in the past few years, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has benefited. Approximately one-third of Mongolian GDP growth comes from mining, which only employs about 6% of the total population and relies heavily on foreign investors. Rural areas are experiencing continuing economic growth due to increased livestock prices, as well as higher rates of consumption and decreasing poverty rates, as opposed their urban counterparts. This is most evident in the rates of herders who fall below the poverty line. According to the World Bank, “Herders were among the poorest in 2010, but now only one in three herders are estimated to be poor.”
  4. Rural v. Urban: This uneven economic growth can best be seen in the divide between the rural and urban poor. While poverty percentages have decreased in rural areas, the rate of urban poverty has remained unchanged. As previously stated, those in rural areas are experiencing economic growth while the urban poor are trapped in stagnation. Rural poverty decreased from 34.9% in 2016 to 30.8% in 2018, while Urban poverty hovers just above 27%. While the rural poverty percentages are still higher, it’s important to keep in mind that 63.5% of the poor live in cities.
  5. Poor Living Conditions: Due to the country’s nomadic past, gers (traditional Mongolian tents), are still widely used throughout the country. These structures are cheap compared to apartments and other housing arrangements, with both the rural and urban poor living in them. A reported 57% of all poor Mongolians live in gers. However, most gers lack many modern necessities such as insulation and running water. This exacerbates the fact that nine in 10 poor Mongolians lack access to various basic infrastructure services like sanitation and heating. The central government is continuing to address these issues and is attempting to move those living in gers into more modern housing.

The Good News

Mongolia has been experiencing nearly 30 years of economic growth and social development. Many experts describe Mongolia as “The Wolf Economy” due to its massive growth and supply of natural resources. The nation has tripled its GDP since 1991 with help from international groups and smart government investments. Healthcare industries have seen a massive improvement, with Mongolia seeing declines in maternal and child mortality rates. The government has also instituted various programs to help people out of poverty in Mongolia and raise the general standard of living. The United States has provided aid and development funds to help strengthen the Mongolian economy and promote democratic political reforms. As a result, the US is Mongolia’s fourth-largest import partner, valuing more than $200 million dollars in items such as machinery and consumer goods. Various American businesses also operate within Mongolia such as Visa, Caterpillar Inc. and GE.

– Malcolm Schulz
Photo: Flickr

Fastest Growing EconomiesIt is no secret that developed countries experience a markedly lower incidence of poverty than their developing counterparts. Furthermore, the poverty that these developed countries experience is often not the extreme variety that is endemic to developing regions of the world. If a country’s level of development can serve as a rough gauge of the magnitude of poverty experienced in the country, then it is worth exploring which economies are growing the fastest and developing at the most rapid pace. Below is the list of the five fastest-growing economies right now using the most recent data with the annual GDP growth rates from The World Bank.

Libya

Annual GDP growth rate of 26.7 percent (2017)

Situated on the Mediterranean Coast of Africa, the large country of Libya recorded a monumental economic GDP growth rate in 2017. The country’s economy is almost entirely driven by oil and natural gas exports, which have pushed the Libyan growth rate to this level. In 2017, oil production reached its peak for the last five years and, in combination with the rise in oil prices, spurred growth.

Since ousting of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the country has seen severe political instability with different military groups claiming different regions of the country. However, in the summer of 2018, at meetings led by French President Emmanuel Macron, the main two opposing factions in Libya agreed to hold elections in December. If successful, the elections could lead to stability in this volatile region and give the Libyan more financial and political security.

Guinea

Annual GDP growth rate of 5.8 percent (2017)

Located on Western Africa coast, Guinea’s economy is driven largely by exports of bauxite, high-grade iron ore, gold and diamonds. Furthermore, The CIA World Factbook states that Guinea has the potential to be a major exporter of hydroelectric power due to its river potential. Additionally, the untapped mineral deposits of the country are poised to attract international investment. Guinea has seen a recovery from the severe Ebola crisis, but it is still under the threat of political instability. However, the pieces for a more prosperous Guinea are beginning to fall into place.

Ethiopia

Annual GDP growth rate: 10.2 percent (2017)

Ethiopia, Africa’s 10th largest country, lies on the eastern side of the continent within the horn of Africa. Ethiopia also holds Africa’s second largest population and one of the most dynamic economies in the region. Ethiopia’s GDP consists mostly of the service sector, agriculture and industry, respectively. According to recent estimates, Ethiopia is poised to be the fastest growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2018.

Furthermore, the sustained decade-long growth that country has experienced contributed to a reduction of poverty in the country, with the extreme poverty rate declining from 55.5 percent in 2000 to 33.5 percent in 2011. The government of Ethiopia has recently implemented the 2nd phase of its growth and transformation plan that aims to increase GDP growth and create jobs by a 20 percent expansion of the industrial sector of the economy.

Macau SAR, China

Annual GDP growth rate of 9.1 percent (2017)

Macau, a Special Administrative Region of China, is located off the southern coast of the Chinese mainland.  Macau’s economy is dominated by the services sector and there are little natural resources on the island. The economy of the region is driven primarily by gambling and tourism, and the area mainly serves as a playground to people from the Chinese mainland and to those from Hong Kong.

The economy of Macau is the third richest in the world in terms of GDP per person; however, this wealth does not translate to everyone in the country equally. Officially, the poverty rate is claimed at 2.3 percent, but the charitable organization, Caritas, estimates this percentage to be closer to 10 percent. Macau’s political system is also rampant with corruption, which unfortunately hampers the reduction of poverty.

Maldives

Annual GDP growth rate of 8.8 percent (2017)

The Maldives consists of over 1,190 bordering along the Indian Ocean. Only 188 of the islands are inhabited since the population is concentrated on the larger islands, including the 39 percent of the population living in the capital Malé. The economy of the Maldives is largely driven by tourism, shipping, and fishing. The most recent data on poverty was published in 2009 and it shows the poverty rate to be 15.7 percent improved from 23 percent in 2002.

These emerging economies represent some of the most promising regions on Earth because of their improvement on quality of life. Strong economies are the backbone of both political and social stability and ultimately greater well-being of people. These five countries look poised to fulfill these goals as the fastest growing economies.

– William Menchaca
Photo: Pixabay

economic growth
Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, is the measure of goods and services produced in an economy — an often-used tool to measure the success of a nation’s economic growth. While this has been the main measure of success over the last century or so, many are starting to questions its effectiveness at measuring total welfare of a country. While it is important to look at other factors in country growth, GDP remains a key aspect of reflecting the top ten countries with growing business.

The average world GDP growth is slightly under 3 percent, annually. As of 2017, the following countries have made the top ten list of fastest growing economies; interestingly, they are all developing countries.

10 Countries Seeing Economic Growth

  1. Ethiopia: 8.3 Percent
    Ethiopia has predominantly been an agricultural country — a fact that is still one of the main sources of business used. However, the country is growing into other fields that shows promising investment opportunities, such as construction or real estate and manufacturing items that range from anything from consumer purchasing to company purchasing.At this point, income for the average citizen still remains at one of the lowest levels, but the continued economic growth has had a positive effect i.e. bringing extreme poverty from 55.3 percent in 2000 to 33.5 percent in 2011.
  2. Uzbekistan: 7.6 Percent
    Uzbekistan is mainly known for its natural gas, gold and copper exports; however, when Russia and China’s markets decreased, this had a directly negative impact on the nation from 2013 to 2016. The Uzbekistan government evaluated its form of market and created space for investment and business growth within its systems. This evaluation had a positive impact, as Uzbekistan moved from fifth on the GDP growth list in 2015 to second in 2017.
  3. Nepal: 7.5 Percent
    A good deal of business has been drawn to Nepal and developed within Nepal due to a need for basic resources such as water, electricity and communication within the nation, especially after the 2015 earthquake. While this market still exists, Nepal’s ability to take the natural disaster and use it as an opportunity to grow and develop is a sign of its imagination and strength.
  4. India: 7.2 Percent
    India is the highest country for outsourcing, and the nation’s ability to use its resources of education and skills has created a unique market to many other countries. Inequality still holds India back from reaching its full potential, but many are speaking out against caste systems and gender inequality, thus drawing attention to the varying gaps (wage and education) surrounding different demographics.
  5. Tanzania: 7.2 Percent
    Tanzania’s rapid economic growth has been attributed to its gold export and tourism influx, but this development has led to new business in energy fields, real estate, infrastructure and agriculture. Tanzania still remains one of the poorest, but this is mostly attributed to population growth rather than an inability to grow business as the poverty rate fell from 60 percent in 2007 to 47 percent in 2016.
  6. Djibouti: 7 Percent
    Djibouti is a small country next to Ethiopia based off the water — a location creating a perfect market for shipping and trade. The nation’s recent spike in economic growth has been largely attributed to foreign investors finding opportunities in port facilities and construction. While the extreme heat in the country and low resources on clean water is still a battle for many citizens, the steady growth of market and job opportunities will surely increase quality.
  7. Laos: 7 Percent
    Laos possesses rich natural resources and a high utilization for hydroelectricity. Its central location in southeast Asia created strong trade with its neighboring countries, and also a growing global interest in the nation has created increased levels of tourism.
  8. Cambodia: 6.9 Percent
    Cambodia is in a similar situation as Laos, particularly with being in the same region. While starting a business in Cambodia can be difficult, especially without bribes, the nation’s economy continues to develop with the help of tourism, natural resources and water-based operations.
  9. Myanmar: 6.9 Percent
    In the past, Myanmar attracted an influx of foreign investment due to its many opportunities to expand business fronts such as telecom, tourism, natural resources and infrastructure; however, foreign investment in the nation has dropped in recent years. In 2017, the Myanmar government began to make a real push to increase investment again by restructuring its government and economy to a democracy form of government (from a military-based one) and creating a more market-oriented economy.
  10. Philippines: 6.9 Percent
    Many tourists flock to the Philippines to visit inexpensive hotels and visit beautiful beaches, particularly in recent years,. While this interest has increased economic growth, Phllippinian stubbornness is actually what continues to keep the economy moving despite the nation’s corrupt government and natural disasters.

While citizens fight for more freedom and better business opportunities, the Philippines’ economy and quality of life will improve even more quickly once government and citizens are able to reach more amicable agreements.

– Natasha Komen

Photo: Flickr