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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 35 cu km/yr (2%/17%/82%)
per capita: 2,360 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
109.6 cu km (1997)

Land boundaries:
total: 12,185 km
border countries: China 1,533 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,224 km, Russia 6,846 km, Turkmenistan 379 km, Uzbekistan 2,203 km

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

continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
48 00 N, 68 00 E

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

Area - comparative:
slightly less than four times the size of Texas

Irrigated land:
35,560 sq km (2003)

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 that 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

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

Natural hazards:
earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty

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

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.88 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.54 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
16,500 (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.55 years
male: 62.24 years
female: 73.16 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.5%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.3% (1999 est.)

Net migration rate:
-3.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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)

Median age:
total: 29.3 years
male: 27.8 years
female: 31.1 years (2008 est.)

15,340,533 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
2.3% of GDP (2005)

Population growth rate:
0.374% (2008 est.)

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

Death rate:
9.39 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 26.56 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 31.03 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2007)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 22.1% (male 1,734,622/female 1,659,723)
15-64 years: 69.6% (male 5,219,983/female 5,463,468)
65 years and over: 8.2% (male 443,483/female 819,254) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
16.44 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

noun: Kazakhstani(s)
adjective: Kazakhstani

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Richard E. HOAGLAND
embassy: Ak Bulak 4, Str. 23-22, Building #3, Astana 010010
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [7] (7172) 70-21-00
FAX: [7] (7172) 34-08-90

National holiday:
Independence Day, 16 December (1991)

18 years of age; universal

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

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Adil-Soz [Tamara KALEYEVA]; Almaty Helsinki Group [Ninel FOKINA]; Confederation of Free Trade Unions [Sergei BELKIN]; 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]

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

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (47 seats; 15 members are appointed by the president; other members are elected by local assemblies; members serve six-year terms, but elections are staggered, with half of the members up for re-election every three years) and the Mazhilis (107 seats; 9 out of the 107 Mazhilis members are elected by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, a presidentially appointed advisory body designed to represent the country's ethnic minorities; non-appointed members are popularly elected to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - (indirect) last held October 2008; 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 - Nur Otan 16; 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

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

Flag description:
sky blue background representing the endless sky and a gold sun with 32 rays above a soaring golden steppe eagle in the center; on the hoist side is a "national ornamentation" in gold

16 December 1991 (from Soviet Union)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Kazakhstan
conventional short form: Kazakhstan
local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy
local short form: Qazaqstan
former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic

Political parties and leaders:
Adilet (Justice) [Maksut NARIKBAYEV, Zeynulla ALSHIMBAYEV, Serik ABDRAHMANOV, 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]; Alga [Vladimir KOZLOV] (unregistered); Auyl (Village) [Gani KALIYEV]; Azat Party (formerly True Ak Zhol Party) [Bolat ABILOV]; 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]

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 two time zones

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

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 five-year term; election last held 4 December 2005 (next to be held in 2012); prime minister and first deputy prime minister appointed by the president, with Mazhilis approval; note - constitutional amendments of May 2007 shortened the presidential term from seven years to five years and established a two-consecutive-term limit; changes will take effect after NAZARBAYEV's term ends; he, and only he, is allowed to run for president indefinitely
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%

Administrative divisions:
14 provinces (oblystar, singular - oblys) and 3 cities* (qalalar, singular - qala); 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

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (44 members); Constitutional Council (7 members)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
China 15.5%, Germany 11.5%, Russia 11.2%, Italy 7.2%, France 6.7% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
61.81 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
11% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
3.665 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$326 million (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$103.6 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
6.9% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
1.236 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$12,000 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
27.8% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$43.75 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$184.3 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$141.2 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
30.4 (2005)

Exchange rates:
tenge (KZT) per US dollar - 120.25 (2008 est.), 122.55 (2007), 126.09 (2006), 132.88 (2005), 136.04 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
5% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$12.74 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
8.358 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
Russia 35.4%, China 22.1%, Germany 8% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
18.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5.8%
industry: 39.4%
services: 54.7% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
127,600 bbl/day (2005)

$66.57 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
30.58 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
tenge (KZT)

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. Kazakhstan enjoyed double-digit growth in 2000-01 and 8% or more per year in 2002-07 - thanks largely to its booming energy sector, but also to economic reform, good harvests, and increased foreign investment; growth slowed to 5% in 2008, however, as a result of declining oil prices and a softening world economy. Inflation reached 10% in 2007 and 18% in 2008. In the energy sector, the opening of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium in 2001, from western Kazakhstan's Tengiz oilfield to the Black Sea, substantially raised export capacity. In 2006 Kazakhstan completed the Atasu-Alashankou portion of an oil pipeline to China that is planned in future construction to extend from the country's Caspian coast eastward to the Chinese border. The country has embarked upon an industrial policy designed to diversify the economy away from overdependence on the oil sector by developing its manufacturing potential. The policy changed the corporate tax code to favor domestic industry as a means 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 agreement, most recently, in regards to the Kashagan project in 2007-08. Since 2007, Astana has provided financial support to the banking sector which has been struggling with poor asset quality and large foreign loans.

Natural gas - exports:
8.1 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, metal products, foodstuffs

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

Electricity - exports:
3.528 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
13.8% (2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$25.75 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
74.93 billion kWh (2007 est.)

$37.53 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
30 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 31.5%
industry: 18.4%
services: 50% (2006)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
2.832 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$22.36 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
243,100 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$2.188 billion (2008 est.)

Public debt:
9.1% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$47.66 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$41.38 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.3%
highest 10%: 26.5% (2004 est.)

Exports - commodities:
oil and oil products 59%, ferrous metals 19%, chemicals 5%, machinery 3%, grain, wool, meat, coal (2001)

Economic aid - recipient:
$229.2 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 84.3%
hydro: 15.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
10.8 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
27.88 billion cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $29.64 billion
expenditures: $32.6 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
1.445 million bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
1.901 million (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
3.237 million (2007)

3.88 million (1997)

Internet country code:

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

6.47 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
12.588 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
12 (plus 9 repeaters) (1998)

Telephone system:
general assessment: inherited an outdated telecommunications network from the Soviet era requiring modernization
domestic: intercity by landline and microwave radio relay; number of fixed-line connections is gradually increasing and fixed-line teledensity is about 20 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage is increasing rapidly and subscriptions now exceed 80 per 100 persons
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 (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
10 (with their own international channels) (2001)

Internet hosts:
36,417 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

4,000 km (on the Ertis ((Irtysh)) River (80%) and Syr Darya ((Syrdariya)) River) (2008)

condensate 658 km; gas 11,082 km; oil 10,376 km; refined products 1,095 km (2007)

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

Ports and terminals:
Aqtau (Shevchenko), Atyrau (Gur'yev), Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk), Pavlodar, Semey (Semipalatinsk)

5 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 5
by type: petroleum tanker 4, refrigerated cargo 1 (2008)

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)

total: 91,563 km
paved: 83,717 km
unpaved: 7,846 km (2006)

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)

97 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

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 16-49: 4,176,731
females age 16-49: 4,219,636 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,871,205
females age 16-49: 3,551,032 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Ground Forces, Naval Force, Air and Air Defense Forces, Republican Guard

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 145,495
female: 140,149 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.9% of GDP (Ministry of Defense expenditures) (FY02)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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): 3,700 (Russia); 508 (Afghanistan) (2007)

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

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