Mongolia country profile

  • 3 March 2017
  • From the section Asia
Map of Mongolia

In 1990, Mongolia abandoned its 70-year-old Soviet-style one-party system in favour of political and economic reforms and multiparty elections.

Vast quantities of untapped mineral wealth have made it a target for foreign investors, transforming the country's tiny but fast-growing economy. This rapid change has taken place against a backdrop of political wrangling and government pledges to tighten control over the country's assets.

Once the heartland of an empire stretching to Europe under Genghis Khan, Mongolia is a landlocked country dominated by sparsely populated steppe and semi-desert.

A third of the population lives in the capital, while around 40% of the country's workforce is nomadic, herding livestock in the extensive pasturelands.



Capital: Ulan Bator

  • Population 2.8 million (2012)

  • Area 1.56 million sq km (603,909 sq miles)

  • Major language Mongolian

  • Major religion Buddhism

  • Life expectancy 65 years (men), 73 years (women)

  • Currency Togrog


President: Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj

Image copyright Getty Images

The Democratic Party's Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj was re-elected for a second term in July 2013, winning just over 50% of the vote. Key issues in his electoral campaign were the country's faltering economy and concerns over the growing role of foreign investors in its mining sector.

The Harvard-educated, veteran democracy campaigner has previously served two terms as prime minister.

The Mongolian People's Party landslide victory in the June 2016 parliamentary elections is expected to have a huge impact on the country's next presidential election in 2017 when Mr Elbegdorj ends his second term in office.

Prime minister: Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat (right) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a welcoming ceremony in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator in July 2016

Mongolia's parliament chose Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat as prime minister in July 2016 after the opposition Mongolian People's Party (MPP) unseated the Democratic Party (DP) in a landslide election win.

A former finance minister, who served for a short time under his predecessor Chimed Saikhanbileg, Mr Erdenebat's appointment indicated the severity of the country's economic situation amid near-flat growth and spiralling debt.

In a short speech after his nomination was approved by parliament, Mr Erdenbat urged "economic stabilization" and "financial discipline".

Like Mr Saikhanbileg, Mr Erdenebat represents a new generation of young Mongolian leaders. Before his election to parliament in 2012, he worked as an accountant and in managerial roles within the local government in his home region of Selenge.

He served as the governor of Selenge between 2008 and 2012.


Image copyright Getty Images

Mongolia's media have undergone considerable reform since the collapse of the Soviet-style system in 1990 to reach their current level of freedom and diversity.

The main public service broadcaster is competing with a growing number of private and satellite/cable services and more than 300 print and broadcasting outlets. State-owned newspapers have been privatised and internet access is unrestricted.


Some key dates in Mongolia's history:

1206-63 Genghis Khan unites Mongol tribes and launches a campaign of conquest which eventually results in the world's biggest land empire.

1691- Mongolia come under the rule of China's Qing dynasty.

1921 - Wins independence but under strict Soviet control.

1990 - Mongolia holds its first free multiparty elections.

2014 - Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag is dismissed by a parliamentary vote of no confidence and later replaced by Chimed Saikhanbileg.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Exploitation of the country's minerals has hastened the modernisation of the capital Ulan Bator

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