AusAID grant to boost Mongolian public sector transparency and accountability

18 April 2012

The flag of Mongolia.
The flag of Mongolia.

The University of Sydney Business School has won a prestigious AusAID research grant that will see it export its capability-building expertise to Mongolia.

The two-year $639,245 program will see the Business School partner with the Mongolian Ministry of Finance, the Financial Regulatory Commission of Mongolia, and the Mongolian Stock Exchange to deliver a program aimed at enhancing sustainable economic growth by improving transparency and accountability in the country's key public sectors.

A relatively new democratic nation currently facing significant challenges as it transforms into a developing economy, Mongolia is seen as an important contributor to the future economic growth of North Asia.

"Given the relative infancy of Mongolian public institutions there is little experience and precedent in implementing transparent and accountable frameworks and systems," says lead grant researcher Dr Nigel Finch. "This activity will address this broader development issue by improving the Mongolian Government's ability to implement transparent and accountable practices and build frameworks for the effective regulation of financial and non-financial disclosures of its public institutions".

Dr Finch will be supported throughout the program by business regulation expert Professor Andrew Terry, who adds that the country's rapid economic growth is seeing it attract unprecedented levels of foreign investment.

"Any increase in transparency and accountability will result in a significant risk reduction for foreign investors and may ultimately lead to a sovereign credit rating upgrade for Mongolia," he says.

The research project will form part of a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade showcase to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Mongolia. Dr Finch says the awarding of the grant is a clear demonstration of the Business School's ability to engage with business and government at the highest levels within Asia.

"Improving public sector transparency and accountability is one of the key priority areas for Mongolia which also has tangible benefits for Australian investment," he says. "Currently there are 144 Australian companies operating in Mongolia, and a more stable investment environment would be a significant development".

In addition to the obvious benefits that the Mongolian initiative will create, the project augurs well for further forays into North Asia according to Thomas Soem, an International Development Manager at the University, who played a central role in the writing of the AusAID tender.

"With Mongolia being on the Chinese border, this is a very welcome opportunity. This project is targeting a key area of development in Mongolia and there can be a lot of multiplier effects that arise as a result, " he said.

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