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This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of Kazakhstan



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Kazakhstan Top of Page
Background:

Native Kazakhs, a mix of Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes who migrated into the region in the 13th century, were rarely united as a single nation. The area was conquered by Russia in the 18th century, and Kazakhstan became a Soviet Republic in 1936. During the 1950s and 1960s agricultural "Virgin Lands" program, Soviet citizens were encouraged to help cultivate Kazakhstan's northern pastures. This influx of immigrants (mostly Russians, but also some other deported nationalities) skewed the ethnic mixture and enabled non-Kazakhs to outnumber natives. Independence in 1991 caused many of these newcomers to emigrate. Kazakhstan's economy is larger than those of all the other Central Asian states combined, largely due to the country's vast natural resources and a recent history of political stability. Current issues include: developing a cohesive national identity; expanding the development of the country's vast energy resources and exporting them to world markets; achieving a sustainable economic growth; diversifying the economy outside the oil, gas, and mining sectors; enhancing Kazakhstan's competitiveness; and strengthening relations with neighboring states and other foreign powers.

 

  
   Geography    Kazakhstan Top of Page
Location:

Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural River in eastern-most Europe
Geographic coordinates:

48 00 N, 68 00 E
Map references:

Asia
Area:

total: 2,717,300 sq km
land: 2,669,800 sq km
water: 47,500 sq km
Area - comparative:

slightly less than four times the size of Texas
Land boundaries:

total: 12,012 km
border countries: China 1,533 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,051 km, Russia 6,846 km, Turkmenistan 379 km, Uzbekistan 2,203 km
Coastline:

0 km (landlocked); note - Kazakhstan borders the Aral Sea, now split into two bodies of water (1,070 km), and the Caspian Sea (1,894 km)
Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)
Climate:

continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid
Terrain:

extends from the Volga to the Altai Mountains and from the plains in western Siberia to oases and desert in Central Asia
Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Vpadina Kaundy -132 m
highest point: Khan Tangiri Shyngy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m
Natural resources:

major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium
Land use:

arable land: 8.28%
permanent crops: 0.05%
other: 91.67% (2005)
Irrigated land:

35,560 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:

earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty
Environment - current issues:

radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with former defense industries and test ranges scattered throughout the country pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because the two main rivers which flowed into the Aral Sea have been diverted for irrigation, it is drying up and leaving behind a harmful layer of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then picked up by the wind and blown into noxious dust storms; pollution in the Caspian Sea; soil pollution from overuse of agricultural chemicals and salination from poor infrastructure and wasteful irrigation practices
Environment - international agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note:

landlocked; Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing the Baykonur Cosmodrome; in January 2004, Kazakhstan and Russia extended the lease to 2050
   People    Kazakhstan Top of Page
Population:

15,284,929 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 22.5% (male 1,758,782/female 1,683,249)
15-64 years: 69.2% (male 5,169,314/female 5,407,661)
65 years and over: 8.3% (male 446,549/female 819,374) (2007 est.)
Median age:

total: 29.1 years
male: 27.5 years
female: 30.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:

0.352% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

16.23 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:

9.4 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:

-3.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.045 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.956 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.545 male(s)/female
total population: 0.932 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 27.41 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 31.94 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.62 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 67.22 years
male: 61.9 years
female: 72.84 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:

1.89 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

16,500 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:

noun: Kazakhstani(s)
adjective: Kazakhstani
Ethnic groups:

Kazakh (Qazaq) 53.4%, Russian 30%, Ukrainian 3.7%, Uzbek 2.5%, German 2.4%, Tatar 1.7%, Uygur 1.4%, other 4.9% (1999 census)
Religions:

Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%
Languages:

Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the "language of interethnic communication") 95% (2001 est.)
Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.5%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.3% (1999 est.)
   Government    Kazakhstan Top of Page
Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Kazakhstan
conventional short form: Kazakhstan
local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy
local short form: Qazaqstan
former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type:

republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch
Capital:

name: Astana
geographic coordinates: 51 10 N, 71 25 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Kazakhstan is divided into three time zones
Administrative divisions:

14 provinces (oblystar, singular - oblys) and 3 cities* (qala, singular - qalasy); Almaty Oblysy, Almaty Qalasy*, Aqmola Oblysy (Astana), Aqtobe Oblysy, Astana Qalasy*, Atyrau Oblysy, Batys Qazaqstan Oblysy (Oral), Bayqongyr Qalasy*, Mangghystau Oblysy (Aqtau), Ongtustik Qazaqstan Oblysy (Shymkent), Pavlodar Oblysy, Qaraghandy Oblysy, Qostanay Oblysy, Qyzylorda Oblysy, Shyghys Qazaqstan Oblysy (Oskemen), Soltustik Qazaqstan Oblysy (Petropavlovsk), Zhambyl Oblysy (Taraz)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses); in 1995, the Governments of Kazakhstan and Russia entered into an agreement whereby Russia would lease for a period of 20 years an area of 6,000 sq km enclosing the Baykonur space launch facilities and the city of Bayqongyr (Baykonur, formerly Leninsk); in 2004, a new agreement extended the lease to 2050
Independence:

16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holiday:

Independence Day, 16 December (1991)
Constitution:

first post-independence constitution adopted 28 January 1993; new constitution adopted by national referendum 30 August 1995
Legal system:

based on Islamic law and Roman law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:

chief of state: President Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV (chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 22 February 1990, elected president 1 December 1991)
head of government: Prime Minister Karim MASIMOV (since 10 January 2007); Deputy Prime Ministers Umirzak SHUKEYEV (since 27 August 2007) and Yerbol ORYNBAYEV (since 29 October 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (no term limits); election last held 4 December 2005 (next to be held in 2012); prime minister and first deputy prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV 91.1%, Zharmakhan A. TUYAKBAI 6.6%, Alikhan M. BAIMENOV 1.6%
note: President NAZARBAYEV arranged a referendum in 1995 that extended his term of office and expanded his presidential powers: only he can initiate constitutional amendments, appoint and dismiss the government, dissolve Parliament, call referenda at his discretion, and appoint administrative heads of regions and cities
Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (47 seats; 7 members are appointed by the president; other members are elected by local assemblies; to serve six-year terms) and the Mazhilis (107 seats; 9 out of the 107 Mazhilis members are elected from the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, which represents the country's ethnic minorities; members are popularly elected to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - (indirect) last held December 2005; next to be held in 2011; Mazhilis - last held 18 August 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; Mazhilis - percent of vote by party - Nur-Otan 88.1%, NSDP 4.6%, Ak Zhol 3.3%, Auyl 1.6%, Communist People's Party 1.3%, Patriots Party .8% Ruhaniyat .4%; seats by party - Nur-Otan 98; note - parties must achieve a threshold of 7% of the electorate to qualify for seats in the Mazhilis
Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (44 members); Constitutional Council (7 members)
Political parties and leaders:

Adilet (Justice) [Maksut NARIKBAYEV, Zeynulla ALSHIMBAYEV, Bakhytbek AKHMETZHAN, Yerkin ONGARBAYEV, Tolegan SYDYKOV] (formerly Democratic Party of Kazakhstan); Agrarian and Industrial Union of Workers Block or AIST (Agrarian Party and Civic Party); Ak Zhol Party (Bright Path) [Alikhan BAIMENOV]; Auyl (Village) [Gani KALIYEV]; Communist Party of Kazakhstan or KPK [Serikbolsyn ABDILDIN]; Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan [Vladislav KOSAREV]; National Social Democratic Party (NSDP)[Zharmakhan TUYAKBAY]; Nur-Otan [Bakhytzhan ZHUMAGULOV] (the Agrarian, Asar, and Civic parties merged with Otan); Patriots' Party [Gani KASYMOV]; Rukhaniyat (Spirituality) [Altynshash ZHAGANOVA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:

Adil-Soz [Tamara KALEYEVA]; Almaty Helsinki Group [Ninel FOKINA]; Confederation of Free Trade Unions [Sergei BELKIN]; For a Just Kazakhstan [Bolat ABILOV]; For Fair Elections [Yevgeniy ZHOVTIS, Sabit ZHUSUPOV, Sergey DUVANOV, Ibrash NUSUPBAYEV]; Kazakhstan International Bureau on Human Rights [Yevgeniy ZHOVTIS, executive director]; Pan-National Social Democratic Party of Kazakhstan [Zharmakhan TUYAKBAI]; Pensioners Movement or Pokoleniye [Irina SAVOSTINA, chairwoman]; Republican Network of International Monitors [Dos KUSHIM]; Transparency International [Sergei ZLOTNIKOV]
International organization participation:

AsDB, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAPC, EBRD, ECO, FAO, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SCO, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Yerlan IDRISOV
chancery: 1401 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 232-5488
FAX: [1] (202) 232-5845
consulate(s): New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador John M. ORDWAY
embassy: Ak Bulak 4, Str. 23-22, Building #3, Astana 010010
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [7] (3172) 70-21-00
FAX: [7] (3172) 34-08-90
Flag description:

sky blue background representing the endless sky and a gold sun with 32 rays soaring above a golden steppe eagle in the center; on the hoist side is a "national ornamentation" in gold
   Economy    Kazakhstan Top of Page
Economy - overview:

Kazakhstan, the largest of the former Soviet republics in territory, excluding Russia, possesses enormous fossil fuel reserves and plentiful supplies of other minerals and metals. It also has a large agricultural sector featuring livestock and grain. Kazakhstan's industrial sector rests on the extraction and processing of these natural resources and also on a growing machine-building sector specializing in construction equipment, tractors, agricultural machinery, and some defense items. The breakup of the USSR in December 1991 and the collapse in demand for Kazakhstan's traditional heavy industry products resulted in a short-term contraction of the economy, with the steepest annual decline occurring in 1994. In 1995-97, the pace of the government program of economic reform and privatization quickened, resulting in a substantial shifting of assets into the private sector. Kazakhstan enjoyed double-digit growth in 2000-01 - 8% or more per year in 2002-06 - thanks largely to its booming energy sector, but also to economic reform, good harvests, and foreign investment. The opening of the Caspian Consortium pipeline in 2001, from western Kazakhstan's Tengiz oilfield to the Black Sea, substantially raised export capacity. Kazakhstan in 2006 completed the Atasu-Alashankou portion of an oil pipeline to China that is planned to extend from the country's Caspian coast eastward to the Chinese border in future construction. The country has embarked upon an industrial policy designed to diversify the economy away from overdependence on the oil sector by developing light industry. The policy aims to reduce the influence of foreign investment and foreign personnel. The government has engaged in several disputes with foreign oil companies over the terms of production agreements; tensions continue. Upward pressure on the local currency continued in 2006 due to massive oil-related foreign-exchange inflows. Aided by strong growth and foreign exchange earnings, Kazakhstan aspires to become a regional financial center and has created a banking system comparable to those in Central Europe.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$143.4 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):

$53.6 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:

10.6% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):

$9,400 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 5.7%
industry: 39.8%
services: 54.4% (2006 est.)
Labor force:

8.029 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 20%
industry: 30%
services: 50% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate:

7.4% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:

19% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 3.3%
highest 10%: 26.5% (2004 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:

33.9 (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

8.6% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):

26% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:

revenues: $18.66 billion
expenditures: $18.02 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:

12.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:

grain (mostly spring wheat), cotton; livestock
Industries:

oil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur, iron and steel; tractors and other agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials
Industrial production growth rate:

7.7% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:

64.23 billion kWh (2005 est.)
Electricity - consumption:

57.99 billion kWh (2005 est.)
Electricity - exports:

3.978 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:

4.552 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production:

1.3 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:

222,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:

1 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - imports:

113,600 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:

9 billion bbl (1 January 2005)
Natural gas - production:

25.39 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:

29.2 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:

7.269 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:

11.09 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:

1.765 trillion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:

-$1.797 billion (2006 est.)
Exports:

$38.76 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:

oil and oil products 58%, ferrous metals 24%, chemicals 5%, machinery 3%, grain, wool, meat, coal (2001)
Exports - partners:

Germany 12.4%, Russia 11.6%, China 11%, Italy 10.5%, France 7.5%, Romania 5% (2006)
Imports:

$24.12 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment 41%, metal products 28%, foodstuffs 8% (2001)
Imports - partners:

Russia 36.4%, China 19.3%, Germany 7.4% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient:

$229.2 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$19.13 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:

$73.45 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$29.82 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$2.374 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:

$10.52 billion (2005)
Currency (code):

tenge (KZT)
Exchange rates:

tenge per US dollar - 126.09 (2006), 132.88 (2005), 136.04 (2004), 149.58 (2003), 153.28 (2002)
Fiscal year:

calendar year
   Communications    Kazakhstan Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

2.928 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

7.83 million (2006)
Telephone system:

general assessment: service is poor; equipment antiquated
domestic: intercity by landline and microwave radio relay; mobile cellular systems are available in most of Kazakhstan
international: country code - 7; international traffic with other former Soviet republics and China carried by landline and microwave radio relay and with other countries by satellite and by the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic cable; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat
Radio broadcast stations:

AM 60, FM 17, shortwave 9 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:

12 (plus 9 repeaters) (1998)
Internet country code:

.kz
Internet hosts:

33,217 (2007)
Internet users:

1.247 million (2006)
   Transportation    Kazakhstan Top of Page
Airports:

97 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:

total: 65
over 3,047 m: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 27
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 8 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 32
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 12 (2007)
Heliports:

5 (2007)
Pipelines:

condensate 658 km; gas 11,019 km; oil 10,338 km; refined products 1,095 km (2006)
Railways:

total: 13,700 km
broad gauge: 13,700 km 1.520-m gauge (3,700 km electrified) (2006)
Roadways:

total: 90,018 km
paved: 84,104 km
unpaved: 5,914 km (2004)
Waterways:

4,000 km (on the Ertis ((Irtysh)) River (80%) and Syr Darya ((Syrdariya)) River) (2006)
Merchant marine:

total: 5 ships (1000 GRT or over) 30,011 GRT/49,223 DWT
by type: petroleum tanker 4, refrigerated cargo 1 (2007)
Ports and terminals:

Aqtau (Shevchenko), Atyrau (Gur'yev), Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk), Pavlodar, Semey (Semipalatinsk)
   Military    Kazakhstan Top of Page
Military branches:

Ground Forces, Naval Force, Air and Air Defense Forces, Republican Guard
Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years; minimum age for volunteers NA (2004)
Manpower available for military service:

males age 18-49: 3,758,255
females age 18-49: 3,822,845 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 18-49: 2,473,529
females age 18-49: 3,168,048 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:

males age 18-49: 173,129
females age 18-49: 168,697 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

0.9% (Ministry of Defense expenditures) (FY02)
   Transnational Issues    Kazakhstan Top of Page
Disputes - international:

Kyrgyzstan has yet to ratify the 2001 boundary delimitation with Kazakhstan; field demarcation of the boundaries with Turkmenistan commenced in 2005, and with Uzbekistan in 2004; demarcation is scheduled to get underway with Russia in 2007; demarcation with China was completed in 2002; creation of a seabed boundary with Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea remains under discussion; equidistant seabed treaties have been ratified with Azerbaijan and Russia in the Caspian Sea, but no resolution has been made on dividing the water column among any of the littoral states
Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 5,000 (Russia) (2006)
Illicit drugs:

significant illicit cultivation of cannabis for CIS markets, as well as limited cultivation of opium poppy and ephedra (for the drug ephedrine); limited government eradication of illicit crops; transit point for Southwest Asian narcotics bound for Russia and the rest of Europe; significant consumer of opiates

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


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