This week marks the 30th anniversary of the declaration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – a day devoted to reaffirming our commitment and shared responsibility to end poverty.
Mongolia, like many other countries, has made great strides in reducing poverty and improving standards of living. But what stands out in the case of Mongolia is how much the pace of poverty reduction has fluctuated in the past decade.
The Mongolia 2020 Poverty Report: a Decade of Progress and Stagnation in Poverty Reduction, a joint report released last month by the National Statistics Office of Mongolia and the World Bank, shows that poverty in Mongolia fell by 17 percentage points between 2010 and 2014. But after the 2016 recession, the pace of poverty reduction decreased significantly and has since stagnated. The pandemic-induced economic downturn had tangible impacts on employment, incomes, and poverty especially in late 2020 and into 2021.
Many countries in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region have emerged from the pandemic on a robust economic recovery trajectory, but Mongolia stands out as having made slower progress. Following a sharp decline in 2020, the economy made a strong rebound in early 2021. But it has since shown signs of stagnation. In EAP countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia, exports, driven by buoyant external demand, have been an important engine of growth during the post-pandemic era. Yet, exports in Mongolia continue to be muted since China reinstated border restrictions in mid-2021, which have persisted into 2022.
Figure 1. Real annual GDP growth (%): 2020 vs. 2022 (projected)