Speech by ADB President Takehiko Nakao on 15 July 2013 to mark the opening of the Orbit-Talkhit Road, Ulaanbaatar.
It is my great pleasure to participate in the opening of this vital new road financed by the concessional Asian Development Fund. We fully support the Government's vision of modernizing this ancient city, and applaud its intention to invest its growing resources in infrastructure that directly improves the lives of citizens, especially in the ger areas.
Since Mongolia joined ADB in 1991, we have seen Ulaanbaatar's population almost triple, placing great strains on the city's ability to cater equally to its citizens. This is a common picture across developing Asia. To help alleviate this problem, ADB is also working with the Government to increase access to clean water, sanitation, and solid waste collection. To date ADB has invested over $100 million in the city's development.
In the past 20 years, Mongolia's economy has grown rapidly, and it is on track to achieve Millennium Development Goals in education and health. Poverty has fallen substantially, although it is still high at 27%. I would like to congratulate the Government and people of Mongolia for these achievements.
As in other rapidly-growing Asian countries, the primary challenge of growth is to ensure that its benefits be shared broadly including those living in cities and in the countryside. The key will be to ensure that standards of living and especially job opportunities are well balanced across the country.
In this, and other tasks, I can assure you of ADB's commitment to provide unwavering support in the future.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This project is expected to increase safety, reduce travel time to schools, hospitals and social welfare institutions, and enable better employment opportunities. I would like to congratulate the government and the people of Mongolia.