Facts about Kazakhstan

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KazakhstanNative 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 of Kazakhstan

Location:
Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural River in eastern-most Europe
Coordinates:
48 00 N, 68 00 E
Area:
total: 2,717,300 sq km
water: 47,500 sq km
land: 2,669,800 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)
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
Natural hazards:
earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty
Environment current issues:
radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with its former defense industries and test ranges 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
Geography - note:
landlocked; Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing the Baykonur Cosmodrome

Population of Kazakhstan

Population:
15,340,533 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 23% (male 1,792,685/female 1,717,294)
15-64 years: 68.8% (male 5,122,027/female 5,357,819)
65 years and over: 8.2% (male 438,541/female 804,878)
Median age:
28.8 years
Growth rate:
0.33%
Infant mortality:
28.3 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.89 years
male: 61.56 years
female: 72.52 years
Fertility rate:
1.89 children born/woman
Nationality:
noun: Kazakhstani(s)
adjective: Kazakhstani
Ethnic groups:
Kazakh (Qazaq) 53.4%, Russian 30%, Ukrainian 3.7%, Uzbek 2.5%, German 2.4%, Uygur 1.4%, other 6.6% 
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% (
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.4%
male: 99.1%
female: 97.7% 

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Kazakhstan
local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy
former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type:
republic
Capital:
Astana; note - the government moved from Almaty to Astana in December 1998
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:
Republic Day, 25 October (1990)
Constitution:
adopted by national referendum 30 August 1995; first post-independence constitution was adopted 28 January 1993
Legal system:
based on civil law system
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.
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (39 seats; 7 senators are appointed by the president; other members are elected by local government bodies, 2 from each of the 14 oblasts, the capital of Astana, and the city of Almaty, to serve six-year terms; note - formerly composed of 47 seats) and the Mazhilis (77 seats; 10 out of the 77 Mazhilis members are elected from the winning party's lists; members are popularly elected to serve five-year terms).
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (44 members); Constitutional Council (7 members)
Political parties and leaders:
Agrarian and Industrial Union of Workers Bloc or AIST (comprised of the Agrarian Party and Civic Party); Agrarian Party [Romin MADINOV, chairman]; Aq Zhol Party (Bright Path) [Alikhan BAIMENOV, chairman]; ASAR (All Together) [Dariga NAZARBAYEVA, chairwoman]; AUL (Village) [Gani KALIYEV, chairman]; Civic Party [Azat PERUASHEV, first secretary]; Communist Party of Kazakhstan or KPK [Serikbolsyn ABDILDIN, first secretary]; Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan [Vladislav KOSAREV, first secretary]; Democratic Party of Kazakhstan [Maksut NARIKBAEV, chairman]; Otan (Fatherland) [Bakhytzhan ZHUMAGULOV, executor]; Patriots' Party [Gani KASYMOV, chairman]; Rukhaniyat [Altynshash ZHAGANOVA, chairwoman]

Economy

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. 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 2002-07 - thanks largely to its booming energy sector, but also to economic reform, good harvests, and foreign investment. Inflation, however, jumped to more than 10% in 2007. In the energy sector, the opening of the Caspian Consortium pipeline 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 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 2007 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:
$168.2 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
9.2%
GDP per capita:
$8,200
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 38.6%
services: 54.7%
Inflation rate:
7.6%
Labor force:
7.85 million
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 20%
industry: 30%
services: 50%
Unemployment:
8.1%
Budget:
revenues: $12.19 billion
expenditures: $12.44 billion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 84.3%
hydro: 15.7%
other: 0% 
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
Agriculture:
grain (mostly spring wheat), cotton; livestock
Exports:
oil and oil products 58%, ferrous metals 24%, chemicals 5%, machinery 3%, grain, wool, meat, coal 
Export partners:
Russia 13.1%, Bermuda 12.8%, Germany 10.4%, China 9.8%, Italy 7.9%, France 7.6% 
Imports:
machinery and equipment 41%, metal products 28%, foodstuffs 8% 
Import partners:
Russia 34.6%, China 21.6%, Germany 7.1%, Ukraine 4.1% 
Currency:
tenge (KZT)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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