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Mongolia: wealth share in focus

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 01:52

June 27 - Uneven distribution of the proceeds of Mongolia's booming mining industry takes centre stage in parliamentary election. Julie Noce reports.

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Upcoming parliamentary elections in Mongolia will be decided by people like 29-year-old Altantsetseg. (al-tsun-ser-sick) She and her family live in a shanty town on the outskirts of the capital, Ulan Bator. They are part of a growing population who've been forced from their homes on the grasslands to make way for mining companies. For many migrants, their new life is one of uncertainty. (SOUNDBITE) (Mongolian) 29-YEAR-OLD MOTHER LAAGANSUREN ALTANTSETSEG SAYING: "I don't see any benefits (from mining). I don't see anything changing. A lot of the young people are unemployed, and a lot of women must take charge of their families. The children eat badly and are poorly clothed. I think the people at the top are sharing and eating up the wealth." But it's because of companies like Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi (oh-you tole-goy) that Monglia's economy grew more than 17 percent last year, with foreign investment increasingly important to the resource rich nation. Still, the uneven distribution of wealth has become a political hot button issue giving candidates the perfect platform ahead of this week's parliamentary elections. For politicians, it's a choice between big business, or so called resource nationalism, which is a political promise to get people their land back. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF INVESTOR STRATEGIST AT FRONTIER SECURITIES DALE CHOI SAYING: "Even with popular voter support for resource nationalism, I think authorities in this country are still realistic and will not push it too far, because obviously they need high economic growth and they have understanding that if pushing too hard foreign investment it would mean foreign investment would leave and the current economic growth would slow down" The question is - can politicians convince three million voters before they head to the polls this Thursday. Julie Noce, Reuters

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Mongolia: wealth share in focus

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 01:52