World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Mongolia Travelling Guide
Mongolia Travelling Guide

General background: The Mongols entered history in the 13th century when under GENGHIS KHAN they conquered a huge Eurasian empire. After his death the empire was divided into several powerful Mongol states, but these broke apart in the 14th century. The Mongols eventually retired to their original steppe homelands and came under Chinese rule. Mongolia won its independence in 1921 with Soviet backing. A Communist regime was installed in 1924. During the early 1990s, the ex-Communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) gradually yielded its monopoly on power to the Democratic Union Coalition (DUC), which defeated the MPRP in a national election in 1996. Over the next four years the DUC put forward a number of key reforms to modernize the economy and democratize the political system. However, the former Communists were a strong opposition that stalled additional restructuring and made implementation difficult. In 2000, the MPRP won an overwhelming victory in the legislature - with 72 of the 76 seats - and completely reshuffled the government. While it continues many of the reform policies, the MPRP is focusing on social welfare and public order priorities.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than Alaska

Climate: Harsh weather conditions with both wind and cold

Terrain: Flat to rugged hilly country

Population: 2.6 million

Ethnic groups: Khalkh Mongols (86%), Kazaks (2%), Chinese (2%), Russian (2%), about a dozen other groups

Religions: Tibetan Buddhism, Muslim, Shamanism

Language: Mongolian, Turkic, Russian, Chinese

Government type: Parliamentary

Capital: Ulaanbaatar

Legal system: Blend of Russian, Chinese, Turkish, and Western systems of law that combines aspects of a parliamentary system with some aspects of a presidential system; constitution ambiguous on judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Economic overview: Economic activity traditionally has been based on agriculture and breeding of livestock. Mongolia also has extensive mineral deposits: copper, coal, molybdenum, tin, tungsten, and gold account for a large part of industrial production. Soviet assistance, at its height one-third of GDP, disappeared almost overnight in 1990-91, at the time of the dismantlement of the USSR. Mongolia was driven into deep recession, prolonged by the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party's (MPRP) reluctance to undertake serious economic reform. The Democratic Coalition (DC) government has embraced free-market economics, easing price controls, liberalizing domestic and international trade, and attempting to restructure the banking system and the energy sector. Major domestic privatization programs were undertaken, as well as the fostering of foreign investment through international tender of the oil distribution company, a leading cashmere company, and banks. Reform was held back by the ex-Communist MPRP opposition and by the political instability brought about through four successive governments under the DC. Economic growth picked up in 1997-99 after stalling in 1996 due to a series of natural disasters and declines in world prices of copper and cashmere. In August and September 1999, the economy suffered from a temporary Russian ban on exports of oil and oil products, and Mongolia remains vulnerable in this sector. Mongolia joined the World Trade Organization (WTrO) in 1997. The international donor community pledged over $300 million per year at the last Consultative Group Meeting, held in Ulaanbaatar in June 1999. The MPRP government, elected in July 2000, is anxious to improve the investment climate; it must also deal with a heavy burden of external debt. Falling prices for Mongolia's mainly primary sector exports, widespread opposition to privatization, and adverse effects of weather on agriculture in early 2000 and 2001 restrained real GDP growth in 2000-01.

Communication/Telephone system: Very low density.

Places of interest: Nomads travel the vast plains. Wild horses are still roaming the area.

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