This chapter includes the following articles.
With a population of 2.8m inhabiting its wind-swept, grassy steppes and vast expanses of desert, Mongolia is the world’s most sparsely populated country. Its primary religion is Buddhism, though it is estimated that 40% of the population does not practise religion. Ninety per cent of the population speaks Mongolian, most using the Khalkha Mongol dialect, which shares lineage with Turkic, Japanese and Korean languages. Nomadic tradition, particularly the herding of livestock, remains one of the biggest influences on the national culture. In 1990, Mongolia abandoned a single-party communist dictatorship and adopted a mixed presidential-parliamentary system. The nation continues to emerge as a key centre for mining investment, with a wide variety of important mineral reserves, and also offers potential in a variety of other sectors, including telecoms and IT, agriculture, transportation and logistics. This chapter includes interviews with President Ts. Elbegdorj, Prime Minister N. Altankhuyag, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr and Russian Federation Ambassador Victor V. Samoilenko.