Kazakhstan

YD-20100704-kazakistan-10

General Info

Full name: Republic of Kazakhstan
Population: 15.7 million (UN, 2010)
Capital: Astana
Largest city: Almaty
Area: 2.7 million sq km (1 million sq miles)
Major languages: Kazakh, Russian
Major religions: Islam, Christianity
Life expectancy: 62 years (men), 73 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Kazakh tenge = 100 tiyn
Main exports: Oil, uranium, ferrous and nonferrous metals,
machinery, chemicals, grain, wool, meat, coal
GNI per capita: US $7,440 (World Bank, 2010)
Internet domain: .kz
International dialling code: +7

Geography

Kazakhstan lies in the north of the central Asian republics and is bounded by Russia in the north, China in the east, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in the south, and the Caspian Sea and part of Turkmenistan in the west. It has almost 1,177 mi (1,894 km) of coastline on the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan is about four times the size of Texas. The territory is mostly steppe land with hilly plains and plateaus. Kazakhstan is mountainous along its far eastern and southeastern borders, where much of the forested Altai and Tian Shan ranges remain snowcapped throughout the year and with many elevated peaks exceeding 6,500 meters.
Natural resources:

Major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, gold, uranium.
Kazakhstan has an abundant supply of accessible mineral and fossil fuel resources. Development of petroleum, natural gas, and mineral extractions, such as Potassium, has attracted most of the over $40 billion in foreign investment in Kazakhstan since 1993 and accounts for some 57% of the nation’s industrial output (or approximately 13% of gross domestic product). According to some estimates, Kazakhstan has the second largest uranium, chromium, lead, and zinc reserves,  the third largest manganese reserves, the fifth largest copper reserves,  and ranks in the top ten for coal, iron, and gold.. It is also an exporter of diamonds. Perhaps most significant for economic development, Kazakhstan also currently has the 11th largest proven reserves of both petroleum and natural gas.
In total, there are 160 deposits with over 2.7 billion tons of petroleum. Oil explorations have shown that the deposits on the Caspian shore are only a small part of a much larger deposit. It is said that 3.5 billion tons of oil and 2.5 trillion cubic meters of gas could be found in that area. Overall the estimate of Kazakhstan’s oil deposits is 6.1 billion tons. Kazakhstan also possesses large deposits of phosphorite. One of the largest known being the Karatau basin with 650 million tonnes of P2O5 and Chilisai deposit of Aktyubinsk/Aqtobe phosphorite basin located in north western Kazakhstan, with a resource of 500–800 million tonnes of 9% ore.

Languages

Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the “language of interethnic communication”)
Kazakhstan is officially a bilingual country: Kazakh, a Turkic  language spoken natively by 64.4% of the population, has the status of the “state” language, while Russian, which is spoken by most Kazakhstanis, is declared the “official” language, and is used routinely in business, government, and inter-ethnic communication, although Kazakh is slowly replacing that. Other minority languages spoken in Kazakhstan include Ukrainian, Uyghur, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Uzbek and Mongolian.  English gained its popularity among the youth since the collapse of USSR. Education across Kazakhstan is conducted in either Kazakh or Russian or both.
Religions: Muslim 70.2% , Christian 26.2 % ( Russian Orthodox 23.9 %, other Christian 2.3%), Buddhist 0.1%, Atheist 2.8%
Ethnically the country is as diverse, with the Kazakhs making up over half the population, the Russians comprising just over a quarter, and smaller minorities of Uzbeks, Koreans, Chechens and others accounting for the rest. Kazakhstan is by far the largest of the Central Asian states of the former Soviet Union. It has borders with Russia, China and the Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. Kazakhstan is the world’s ninth biggest country by size, and it is more than twice the size of the other Central Asian states combined. Its lack of significant historical sites and endless featureless steppe have put many off Kazakhstan, while many still are captivated by the emptiness and mystery of this Goliath state. Kazakhstan is the richest country in Central Asia due to its large oil and natural gas reserves. The country is also the largest landlocked country.
Kazakhstan’s Membership in International Organizations
Kazakhstan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations. Kazakhstan is a member of the United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and North Atlantic Cooperation Council. Kazakhstan held the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2010 and held an OSCE summit in Astana in December 2010. It is an active participant in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Partnership for Peace program. Kazakhstan also engages in regional security dialogue with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Kazakhstan in June 2011 became the chairman of the Foreign Ministers’ Council of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and in 2012 hosted a ministerial meeting for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. Kazakhstan is also a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Population

Kazakhstan has a population of 17.7 million, with 131 ethnicities, including Kazakh, Russian, Ukrainian, German, Uzbek, Tatar, and Uyghur. Around 63% of the population are Kazakhs. Kazakhstan allows freedom of religion. On 12 November 2012, Kazakhstan was elected by United Nations’ members to the UN Human Rights Council. Kazakhstan has been quite a religiously tolerant nation, but has lately come under international criticism for lack of religious freedom.

Natural resources

Kazakhstan has an abundant supply of accessible mineral and fossil fuel resources. Development of petroleum, natural gas, and mineral extractions, such as Potassium, has attracted most of the over $40 billion in foreign investment in Kazakhstan since 1993 and accounts for some 57% of the nation’s industrial output (or approximately 13% of gross domestic product). According to some estimates, Kazakhstan has the second largest uranium, chromium, lead, and zinc reserves,  the third largest manganese reserves, the fifth largest copper reserves,  and ranks in the top ten for coal, iron, and gold.. It is also an exporter of diamonds. Perhaps most significant for economic development, Kazakhstan also currently has the 11th largest proven reserves of both petroleum and natural gas.

Transport

A new highway between Almaty and the border with China will reduce transit times from around six to three hours. Most cities are connected by railroad; high-speed trains go from Almaty (the southernmost city) to Petropavl (the northernmost city) in about 18 hours.

Agriculture

Agriculture accounts for approximately 5% of Kazakhstan’s GDP. Grain, potatoes, vegetables, melons and livestock are the most important agricultural commodities. Agricultural land occupies more than 846,000 square kilometres (327,000 sq mi). The available agricultural land consists of 205,000 square kilometres (79,000 sq mi) of arable land and 611,000 square kilometres (236,000 sq mi) of pasture and hay land. Chief livestock products are dairy products,  leather, meat, and wool. The country’s major crops include wheat, barley, cotton, and rice. Wheat exports, a major source of hard currency, rank among the leading commodities in Kazakhstan’s export trade. In 2003 Kazakhstan harvested 17.6 million tons of grain in gross, 2.8% higher compared to 2002.

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