Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, played host to the 20th World Export Development Forum (WEDF) on June 27, 2023, where Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh addressed a global audience. The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Mongolian government co-hosted the significant event.

In his remarks, Khurelsukh stressed the necessity of trade for economic advancement, particularly for landlocked developing countries like Mongolia.

He proposed green, digital, and inclusive trade as the primary methods for global export diversification.

Khurelsukh said: “We must work together for the sustainable development of the world and the promotion of a healthy, safe, and peaceful life for all humanity.”

He addressed the pivotal role micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises play in global trade, economic relations, and job creation.

Citing World Bank research, Khurelsukh said that these businesses generate an average of 7 out of 10 jobs in rapidly developing countries, contributing approximately 40% to the gross national income of those nations.

The President highlighted the hardships faced by landlocked developing countries, particularly due to the recent global pandemic.

He underscored the need to address these countries’ challenges and devise practical solutions, encouraging proposals to present at the upcoming Third UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries.

In his speech, Khurelsukh acknowledged climate change’s deepening impact and called for diversification of global trade and economic relations in a greener, organic, and digital manner.

Khurelsukh said: “We must embrace advanced technologies and innovations, create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and wealth creators, enhance competitiveness, and provide equal opportunities.”

Mongolia’s actions to mitigate climate change effects were also discussed.

The “Billion Trees” campaign, “Food Supply and Security,” and “Healthy Mongolian” initiatives were mentioned as the national efforts aimed at reducing climate change’s negative effects.

Furthermore, Khurelsukh addressed the vital role women play in any nation’s prosperity.

Referring to an IMF study, he noted that women constitute approximately 40 percent of the global labour force, yet their participation rate is nearly 25 percent lower than that of men. In response, Khurelsukh announced the Mongolian Parliament is developing a draft law on “Increasing Women Entrepreneurs’ Participation in the Economy.”

Khurelsukh noted the launch of the “She Trade Hub” in Mongolia, which he believes will provide crucial support to women entrepreneurs and contribute significantly to Mongolia’s trade. The forthcoming “Female Foreign Ministers Meeting” in Ulaanbaatar was also mentioned, a platform for discussions on international peace, security, climate change, and food security.

Lastly, he acknowledged the importance of digital transition for global development. He referred to the UN study, which showed that despite a 20 percent drop in global services exports in 2020 due to the pandemic, e-services only declined around 2 percent.

He revealed Mongolia’s plan to become a “Digital Nation,” exemplified by the establishment of the “Ministry of Digital Development and Communications.”

The WEDF’s 20th edition promises to be instrumental in shaping future trade, expected to spark innovative ideas and partnerships for a more equitable and prosperous global future.

TFG are delighted to be media partners at the World Economic Development Forum 2023. Find out more here.