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Introduction Kazakhstan
Native Kazakhs, a mix of Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes who migrated into region in 13th century, were rarely united as a single nation. area previously conquered by Russia in 18th century and Kazakhstan became a Soviet Republic in 1936. During 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 ethnic mixture and enabled non-Kazakhs to outnumber natives. Independence has caused many of these newcomers to emigrate. Current issues include: developing a cohesive national identity; expanding development of countries vast energy resources and exporting them to world markets; achieving a sustainable economic growth outside oil, gas, and mining sectors; and strengthening relations with neighboring states and other foreign powers.
Geography Kazakhstan
Central Asia, northwest of China; a limited portion west of Ural River in eastern-most Europe
Geographic coordinates:
48 00 N, 68 00 E
Map references:
total: 2,717,300 sq km
water: 47,500 sq km
land: 2,669,800 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than four times 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
0 km (landlocked); note - Kazakhstan borders Aral Sea, now split into two bodies of water (1,070 km), and Caspian Sea (1,894 km)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid
extends from Volga to Altai Mountains and from 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: 11.23%
permanent crops: 0.05%
other: 88.72% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
23,320 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
earthquakes in south, mudslides around Almaty
Environment - current issues:
radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with its former defense industries and test ranges throughout country pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because two main rivers which flowed into 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 wind and blown into noxious dust storms; pollution in 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, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note:
landlocked; Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing Baykonur Cosmodrome
People Kazakhstan
Total Population:
16,763,795 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 25.4% (male 2,161,510; female 2,089,780)
15-64 years: 66.8% (male 5,425,545; female 5,769,457)
65 years and over: 7.9% (male 458,379; female 859,124) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 28.2 years
male: 26.6 years
female: 29.7 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
0.17% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
18.36 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
10.78 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
-5.89 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.53 male(s)/female
Population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 58.73 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 53.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 63.41 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 63.48 years
male: 58.16 years
female: 69.06 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.16 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
6,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 300 (2001 est.)
noun: Kazakhstani(s)
adjective: Kazakhstani
Ethnic groups:
Kazakh (Qazaq) 53.4%, Russian 30%, Ukrainian 3.7%, Uzbek 2.5%, German 2.4%, Uighur 1.4%, other 6.6% (1999 census)
Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%
Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated "language of interethnic communication") 95% (2001 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 98.4%
male: 99.1%
female: 97.7% (1999 est.)
Government Kazakhstan
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Kazakhstan
conventional short form: Kazakhstan
local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy
former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
local short form: none
Government type:
Astana; note - 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 same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have administrative center name following in parentheses); in 1995 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 Baykonur space launch facilities and city of Bayqongyr (Baykonyr, formerly Leninsk)
16 December 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Republic Day, 25 October (1990)
adopted by national referendum 30 August 1995; first post-independence constitution previously adopted 28 January 1993
Legal system:
based on civil law system
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV (chairman of Supreme Soviet from 22 February 1990, elected president 1 December 1991)
head of government: Prime Minister Daniyal AKHMETOV (since 13 June 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by president
election results: Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV 81.7%, Serikbolsyn ABDILDIN 12.1%, Gani KASYMOV 4.7%, Engels GABBASSOV 1.5%
note: President NAZARBAYEV expanded his presidential powers by decree: only he can initiate constitutional amendments, appoint and dismiss government, dissolve Parliament, call referenda at his discretion, and appoint administrative heads of regions and cities
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 10 January 1999, a year before it previously previously scheduled (next to be held NA 2006); note - President NAZARBAYEV's previous term previously extended to 2000 by a nationwide referendum held 30 April 1995; prime minister and first deputy prime minister appointed by president
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of Senate (39 seats - previously 47 seats; 7 senators are appointed by president; other members are popularly elected, two from each of 14 oblasts, capital of Astana, and city of Almaty, to serve six-year terms) and Majilis (77 seats; 10 out of 77 Majilis members are elected from winning party's lists; members are popularly elected to serve five-year terms)
election results: note - election results are for old Senate structure; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; 16 seats up for election in 1999, candidates nominated by local councils; Majilis - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Otan 23, Civic Party 13, Communist Party 3, Agrarian Party 3, People's Cooperative Party 1, independents 34; note - most independent candidates are affiliated with parastatal enterprises and other pro-government institutions
elections: Senate - (indirect) last held 17 September 1999 (next to be held NA December 2005); Majilis - last held 10 and 24 October and 26 December 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (44 members); Constitutional Council (7 members)
Political parties and leaders:
Agrarian Party [Romin MADINOV]; Ak Zhol Party "White Road" [Bulat ABILOV, Uraz ZHANDOSOV, Zhanat YERTLESOVA, cofounders]; AUL "Village" [leader NA]; Civic Party [Azat PERUASHEV, first secretary]; Communist Party or KPK [Serikbolsyn ABDILDIN, first secretary]; Otan "Fatherland" [Gani YESIMOV, chairman]; Patriots' Party [Gani KASYMOV]
note: only seven parties in Kazakhstan have been registered under new political party law passed in July 2002
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Adil-Soz [Tamara KALEYEVA]; Alash [Sabet-Kazy AKATAY]; AZAMAT "Citizen" Movement [Petr SVOIK, Murat AUEZOV, and Galym ABILSEITOV, cochairmen]; Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan [Galymzhan ZHAKIYANOV, Nurzhan SUBKHANBERDIN, cochairmen]; Labor and Worker's Movement [Madel ISMAILOV, chairman]; Kazakhstan International Bureau on Human Rights [Yevgeniy ZHOVTIS, executive director]; Orleu "Development" Movement [Seidakhmet KUTTYKADAM]; Pensioners Movement or Pokoleniye [Irina SAVOSTINA, chairwoman]; People's Congress of Kazakhstan of NKK [Olzhas SULEIMENOV, chairman]; People's Cooperative Party of Kazakhstan [Umirzak SARSENOV]; Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan or RNPK [Akezhan KAZHEGELDIN]; Socialist Party [Petr SVOIK]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Kanat B. SAUDABAYEV
FAX: [1] (202) 232-5845
consulate(s): New York
telephone: [1] (202) 232-5488
chancery: 1401 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Larry C. NAPPER
embassy: 99/97A Furmanova Street, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan 480091
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [7] (3272) 63-39-21, 63-13-75, 50-76-23, 50-76-27 (emergency number)
FAX: [7] (3272) 63-38-83
Flag description:
sky blue background representing endless sky and a gold sun with 32 rays soaring above a golden steppe eagle in center; on hoist side is a "national ornamentation" in gold
Economy Kazakhstan
Economy - overview:
Kazakhstan, largest of former Soviet republics in territory, excluding Russia, possesses enormous fossil fuel reserves as well as plentiful supplies of other minerals and metals. It also is a large agricultural - livestock and grain - producer. Kazakhstan's industrial sector rests on 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. breakup of USSR in December 1991 and collapse in demand for Kazakhstan's traditional heavy industry products resulted in a short-term contraction of economy, with steepest annual decline occurring in 1994. In 1995-97, pace of government program of economic reform and privatization quickened, resulting in a substantial shifting of assets into private sector. Kazakhstan enjoyed double-digit growth in 2000-01 - and a solid 9.5% in 2002 - thanks largely to its booming energy sector, but also to economic reform, good harvests, and foreign investment. opening of Caspian Consortium pipeline in 2001, from western Kazakhstan's Tengiz oilfield to Black Sea, substantially raised export capacity. country has embarked upon an industrial policy designed to diversify economy away from overdependence on oil sector, by developing light industry. Additionally, policy aims to reduce influence of foreign investment and foreign personnel; government has engaged in several disputes with foreign oil companies over terms of production agreements, and tensions continue.
buying power parity - $120 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
9.5% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $7,200 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 9%
industry: 40%
services: 51% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
26% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 27.3% (2001)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
35.4 (1996)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
8.4 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
industry 30%, agriculture 20%, services 50% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate:
8.8% (2002 est.)
revenues: $4.2 billion
expenditures: $5.1 billion, includes capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
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:
10% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:
52.43 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 84.3%
hydro: 15.7%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
48.36 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
3.6 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
3.2 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
798,200 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
195,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
2.709 billion bbl (37257)
Natural gas - production:
10.08 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
14.3 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
4.1 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
8.3 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
920.3 billion cu m (37257)
Agriculture - products:
grain (mostly spring wheat), cotton; livestock
$10.3 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
oil and oil products 58%, ferrous metals 24%, chemicals 5%, machinery 3%, grain, wool, meat, coal (2001)
Exports - partners:
Russia 16.2%, Bermuda 12.1%, China 11.3%, Germany 8.8%, Italy 5.5%, Ukraine 4.9%, France 4% (2002)
$9.6 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment 41%, metal products 28%, foodstuffs 8% (2001)
Imports - partners:
Russia 37.1%, US 9.3%, China 9.3%, Germany 9.1% (2002)
Debt - external:
$6.6 billion (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$610 million in US assistance programs, 1992-2000
tenge (KZT)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
tenge per US dollar - 153.28 (2002), 146.74 (2001), 142.13 (2000), 119.52 (1999), 78.3 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Kazakhstan
Telephones - main lines in use:
1.92 million (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
400,000 (2001)
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: international traffic with other former Soviet republics and China carried by landline and microwave radio relay and with other countries by satellite and by Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic cable; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 60, FM 17, shortwave 9 (1998)
6.47 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
12 (plus nine repeaters) (1998)
3.88 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
10 (with their own international channels) (2001)
Internet users:
100,000 (2002)
Transportation Kazakhstan
total: 13,601 km
broad gauge: 13,601 km 1.520-m gauge (3,661 km electrified) (2002)
total: 81,331 km
paved: 77,020 km
unpaved: 4,311 km (2000)
3,900 km
note: on Syr Darya (Syrdariya) and Ertis (Irtysh) rivers
condensate 640 km; gas 10,527 km; oil 9,771 km; refined products 1,187 km; water 1,465 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Aqtau (Shevchenko), Atyrau (Gur'yev), Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk), Pavlodar, Semey (Semipalatinsk)
Merchant marine:
total: 1 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,064 GRT/646 DWT
ships by type: roll on/roll off 1
note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: US 1 (2002 est.)
488 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 60
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 26
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 9 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 428
over 3,047 m: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 19
1,524 to 2,437 m: 44
914 to 1,523 m: 103
under 914 m: 251 (2002)
Military Kazakhstan
Military branches:
Ground Forces, Air and Air Defense Forces, Naval Force, Border Service, Republican Guard
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 4,580,754 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 3,658,815 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 174,111 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$221.8 million (Ministry of Defense expenditures) (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.9% (Ministry of Defense expenditures) (FY02)
Transnational Issues Kazakhstan
Disputes - international:
Kazakhstan and China have resolved their border dispute and are working to delimit their large open borders to control population migration, illegal activities, and trade; delimitation of boundary with Russia is scheduled for completion in 2003 - delimitations with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are complete with demarcations underway - delimitation with Kyrgyzstan is largely complete; equidistant seabed treaties have been signed with Azerbaijan and Russia in Caspian Sea but no resolution has been made on dividing water column among any of littoral states; no resolution of Caspian seabed boundary with Turkmenistan
Illicit drugs:
significant illicit cultivation of cannabis for CIS markets, as well as limited cultivation of opium poppy and ephedra (for drug ephedrine); limited government eradication of illicit crops; transit point for Southwest Asian narcotics bound for Russia and rest of Europe