Squeezed between China and Russia and equal in size to Western Europe, Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. While it may be short on people, Mongolia is one of the richest countries in natural resources, and that’s just the known deposits: Four-fifths of the country is still unsurveyed. The country’s major mining projects are expected to bring a flood of money into the impoverished country over the next decade.
Simply getting ready to mine is supercharging the tiny economy. GDP grew 6.1 percent last year and was up 9.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011 over the same period the previous year. The International Monetary Fund predicts Mongolia could grow at double-digit rates for at least the next 10 years, lifting per capita income—now at $2,470— fourfold within a decade and making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.