Formal Name: Republic of Kazakstan.
Short Form: Kazakstan.
Term for Citizens: Kazakstani(s).
National holidays: 25 October, Republic Day; 16 December, Independence Day.
Area: 2.7 million sq. km; ninth-largest nation in the world; the size of Western Europe.
Major cities: Astana (capital, June 1998), Almaty (former capital), Karaganda, and Shymkent.
Terrain: Extends east to west from the Caspian Sea to the Altay Mountains and north to south from the plains of Western Siberia to the oasis and desert of Central Asia.
Climate: Continental, cold winters and hot summers; arid and semi-arid.
Border lengths: Russia 6,846 km, Uzbekistan 2,203 km, China 1,533 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,051 km, and Turkmenistan 379 km.
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked); Kazakhstan borders the Aral Sea, now split into two bodies of water (1,070 km), and the Caspian Sea (1,894 km).
Natural hazards: earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty.
Population 15,340,533 (July 2008 est.).
Population density: 5.5 people per sq km.
Population distribution: 56.4% of population lives in urban areas. Twenty-six cities had approximate populations of more than 50,000 --Astana (capital) more than 600,000, Almaty (former capital) 1.2 million, Karaganda 440,000, Shymkent 370,000, Taraz 340,000, Ust-Kamenogorsk 310,000, Pavlodar 300,000.
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.)
Education: Mandatory universal secondary education. School system consists of kindergarten, primary school (grades 1-4), secondary school (grades 5-9), and high school (grades 10-11).
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.5%
Independence: December 16, 1991 (from the Soviet Union).
Declaration of sovereignty: October 25, 1990.
Constitution: first post-independence constitution adopted 28 January 1993; new constitution adopted by national referendum 30 August 1995.
Legal system: based on civil law system.
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal.
Branches: Executive--president, prime minister, government (Council of Ministers). Legislative--Senate and Mazhilis. Judicial--Supreme Court.
Administrative subdivisions: 17; 14 oblasts plus 3 cities--Almaty, the former capital; Astana, the current capital; and the territory of Baykonur - approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing the Cosmodrome - which Russia leases; in January 2004, Kazakhstan and Russia extended the lease to 2050.
Twelve parties were registered for the parliamentary elections in fall 2004. They were: the Agrarian Party, Ak Zhol (Bright Path), Asar (All Together), Ayul (Farmers), the Civil Party, the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, the Communist People’s Party, DCK (Democratic Choice), the Democratic Party of Kazakhstan, Otan (Fatherland), Party of Patriots, and Rukhaniyat (Spirituality). In January 2005, DCK was liquidated.
Executive branch: head of state: President Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV (chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 22 February 1990, elected president 1 December 1991, reelected 1999, 2006).
head of government: Prime Minister Karim MASIMOV (since January 2007).
government (Council of Ministers): appointed by the president.
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 4 December 2005 (next to be held 2012).
election results: Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV 91.1%.
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: Mazhilis - last held 18 August 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: 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
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]
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (44 members); Constitutional Council (7 members).
International organization participation: AsDB, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECO, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SCO, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO (observer).
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. 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 (purchasing power parity): 7.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): 3.8 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 8.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): ,100 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5.8%
services: 54.8% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 8.229 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 32.2%
services: 49.8% (2005)
Unemployment rate: 7.3% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 13.8% (2007)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.3%
highest 10%: 26.5% (2004 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 30.4 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 10.8% (2007)
Investment (gross fixed): 29.7% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: .58 billion
expenditures: .33 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 7.7% of GDP (2007 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: 4.5% (2007)
Electricity - production: 76.34 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 84.3%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 76.43 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - exports: 3.7 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - imports: 4 billion kWh (2007)
Oil - production: 1.338 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 234,000 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 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 16.69 billion cu m (2007)
Natural gas - consumption: 8.4 billion cu m (2007)
Natural gas - exports: 10.27 billion cu m (2007)
Natural gas - imports: 3.901 billion cu m (2007)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 1.765 trillion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -.851 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: .35 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: oil and oil products 59%, ferrous metals 19%, chemicals 5%, machinery 3%, grain, wool, meat, coal (2001)
Exports - partners: China 15.2%, Germany 11.7%, Russia 11.7%, Italy 7.4%, France 6.9% (2006)
Imports: .21 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, metal products, foodstuffs
Imports - partners: Russia 34.6%, China 22.1%, Germany 8.1% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: 9.2 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: .39 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: .37 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: .16 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: .97 billion (September 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares: .52 billion (2005)
Currency (code): tenge (KZT)
Currency code: KZT
Exchange rates: tenge per US dollar - 122.55 (2007), 126.09 (2006), 132.88 (2005), 136.04 (2004), 149.58 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
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).
Internet country code: .kz.
Airports: 314 (2004 est.).
Heliports: 4 (2005 est.).
Pipelines: condensate 18 km; gas 10,370 km; oil 10,158 km; refined products 1,187 km (2004).
Railways: total: 13,700 km.
broad gauge: 13,700 km 1.520-m gauge (3,700 km electrified) (2004).
Roadways: total: 258,029 km.
paved: 247,347 km.
unpaved: 106,824 km (2003).
Waterways: 4,000 km on the Syr Darya (Syrdariya) and Ertis (Irtysh) rivers (2004).
Ports and terminals: Aqtau (Shevchenko), Atyrau (Gur'yev), Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk), Pavlodar, Semey (Semipalatinsk).