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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Kazakhstan

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Kazakhstan
Definition Field Listing
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 has caused many of these newcomers to emigrate. 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 outside the oil, gas, and mining sectors; and strengthening relations with neighboring states and other foreign powers.
   Geography    Kazakhstan
Definition Field Listing
Central Asia, northwest of China
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
48 00 N, 68 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,717,300 sq km
water: 47,500 sq km
land: 2,669,800 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly less than four times the size of Texas
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
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)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Definition Field Listing
continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid
Definition Field Listing
extends from the Volga to the Altai Mountains and from the plains in western Siberia to oases and desert in Central Asia
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Vpadina Kaundy -132 m
highest point: Khan Tangiri Shyngy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 11.23%
permanent crops: 0.05%
other: 88.72% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
23,320 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
landlocked; Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing the Baykonur Cosmodrome
   People    Kazakhstan
Definition Field Listing
16,741,519 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 26% (male 2,212,985; female 2,141,392)
15-64 years: 66.5% (male 5,393,281; female 5,731,288)
65 years and over: 7.5% (male 434,879; female 827,694) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.1% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
17.83 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
10.69 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-6.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
58.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 63.38 years
female: 69.01 years (2002 est.)
male: 58.02 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.12 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.04% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
3,500 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
less than 100 (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Kazakhstani(s)
adjective: Kazakhstani
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Kazakh (Qazaq) 53.4%, Russian 30%, Ukrainian 3.7%, Uzbek 2.5%, German 2.4%, Uighur 1.4%, other 6.6% (1999 census)
Definition Field Listing
Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%
Definition Field Listing
Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the "language of interethnic communication") 95% (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.4%
male: 99.1%
female: 97.7% (1999 est.)
   Government    Kazakhstan
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
Astana; note - the government moved from Almaty to Astana in December 1998
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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 (Baykonyr, formerly Leninsk)
Definition Field Listing
16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Republic Day, 25 October (1990)
Definition Field Listing
adopted by national referendum 30 August 1995; first post-independence constitution was adopted 28 January 1993
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on civil law system
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 Imangali TASMAGAMBETOV (since 28 January 2002)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the 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 the 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 was previously scheduled (next to be held NA 2006); note - President NAZARBAYEV's previous term was extended to 2000 by a nationwide referendum held 30 April 1995; prime minister and first deputy prime minister appointed by the president
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (39 seats - previously 47 seats; 7 senators are appointed by the president; other members are popularly elected, two from each of the 14 oblasts, the capital of Astana, and the city of Almaty, to serve six-year terms) and the Majilis (77 seats; 10 out of the 77 Majilis members are elected from the winning party's lists; members are popularly elected to serve five-year terms)
election results: note - the election results are for the 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:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court (44 members); Constitutional Council (7 members)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Agrarian Party [Romin MADINOV]; Alash [Sabet-Kazy AKATAY]; AZAMAT "Citizen" Movement [Petr SVOIK, Murat AUEZOV, and Galym ABILSEITOV, cochairmen]; Civic Party [Azat PERUASHEV, first secretary]; Communist Party or KPK [Serikbolsyn ABDILDIN, first secretary]; Forum of Democratic Forces [a union of opposition parties, movements, and NGOs which includes Communists, RNPK, Orleu "Development" Movement, Pokoleniye "Generation" Pensioners' Movement, Labor Movement, Association of Independent Mass Media of Central Asia, and the Tabighat "Nature" Ecological Movement]; Labor and Worker's Movement [Madel ISMAILOV, chairman]; Orleu "Development" Movement [Seidakhmet KUTTYKADAM]; Otan "Fatherland" [Sergei TERESCHENKO, chairman]; 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]; United Democratic Party (a new party not yet registered) [leader NA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Adil-Soz [Tamara KALEYEVA]; Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan [Galymzhan ZHAKIYANOV, Uraz ZHANDOSOV, Nurzhan SUBKHANBERDIN, Mukhtar ABLYAZOV, Zhanat YERTLESOVA, Bulat ABILOV, cofounders]; Kazakhstan International Bureau on Human Rights [Yevgeniy ZHOVTIS, executive director]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
AsDB, CCC, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECO, ESCAP, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS (associate), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM (observer), OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Kanat B. SAUDABAYEV
chancery: 1401 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
consulate(s): New York
FAX: [1] (202) 232-5845
telephone: [1] (202) 232-5488
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Larry C. NAPPER
embassy: 99/97A Furmanova Street, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan 480091
mailing address: American Embassy Almaty, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-7030
telephone: [7] (3272) 63-39-21, 50-76-23, 50-76-27 (emergency number)
FAX: [7] (3272) 50-62-69
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
sky blue background representing the endless sky and a gold sun with 32 rays soaring above a golden steppe eagle in the center; on the hoist side is a "national ornamentation" in gold
   Economy    Kazakhstan
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Kazakhstan, the largest of the 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 the 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. 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 has enjoyed double-digit growth in 2000-01 thanks largely to its booming energy sector, but also to economic reform, good harvests, and foreign investment. The opening of the Caspian Consortium pipeline in 2001, from western Kazakhstan's Tengiz oilfield to the Black Sea, substantially raises export capacity. Astana has embarked upon an industrial policy designed to diversify the economy away from overdependence on the oil sector by developing light industry.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $98.1 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
12.2% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $5,900 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 10%
industry: 30%
services: 60% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
26% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 27% (2001)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
35 (1996)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
8.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
8.4 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
industry 30%, agriculture 20%, services 50% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
10% (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $4.2 billion
expenditures: $5.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
11.4% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
48.692 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 86%
hydro: 14%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
48.336 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
50 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
3.102 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
grain (mostly spring wheat), cotton; wool, livestock
Definition Field Listing
$10.5 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
oil and oil products 52.8%, ferrous metals 12.9%, machinery, chemicals, grain, wool, meat, coal (2000)
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Russia 19.5%, China 7.3%, Germany 6.2% (2000)
Definition Field Listing
$8.2 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and parts 29.5%, energy and fuels 11.3%, electrical equipment 8.8%, vehicles 8.7%, ferrous metals 6.4% (2000)
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Russia 48.7%, Germany 6.6%, US 5.5% (2000)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$11.6 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$610 million in US assistance programs, 1992-2000
Definition Field Listing
tenge (KZT)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
tenge per US dollar - 151.14 (January 2002), 146.74 (2001), 142.13 (2000), 119.52 (1999), 78.30 (1998), 75.44 (1997)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Kazakhstan
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
1.92 million (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
400,000 (2001)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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; with other countries by satellite and by the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic cable; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 60, FM 17, shortwave 9 (1998)
Definition Field Listing
6.47 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
12 (plus nine repeaters) (1998)
Definition Field Listing
3.88 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
10 (with their own international channels) (2001)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
100,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Kazakhstan
Definition Field Listing
total: 13,601 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial lines
broad gauge: 13,601 km 1.520-m gauge (3,661 km electrified) (2001)
Definition Field Listing
total: 189,000 km
paved: 108,100 km (includes some all-weather gravel-surfaced roads)
unpaved: 80,900 km (these roads are made of unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1990)
Definition Field Listing
3,900 km
note: on the Syr Darya (Syrdariya) and Ertis (Irtysh) rivers
Definition Field Listing
crude oil 2,850 km; refined products 1,500 km; natural gas 3,480 km (1992)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Aqtau (Shevchenko), Atyrau (Gur'yev), Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk), Pavlodar, Semey (Semipalatinsk)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,064 GRT/646 DWT
note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: United States 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: roll on/roll off 1
Definition Field Listing
449 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 28
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 14
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
under 914 m: 3 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 421
over 3,047 m: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 18
1,524 to 2,437 m: 45
914 to 1,523 m: 101
under 914 m: 246 (2002)
   Military    Kazakhstan
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Ground Forces, Air and Air Defense Forces, Naval Force, Border Service, Republican Guard
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 4,545,168 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 3,629,219 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 163,628 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$173 million (Ministry of Defense expenditures) (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
1% (Ministry of Defense expenditures) (FY01)
   Transnational Issues    Kazakhstan
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Kazakhstan is working rapidly with China and Russia to delimit its large open borders to control population migration, illegal activities, and trade; signed bilateral agreement with Russia delimiting the Caspian Sea seabed, but littoral states are far from any multilateral agreement on dividing the waters and seabed regimes - Iran insists on division of Caspian Sea into five equal sectors while Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan have generally agreed upon equidistant seabed boundaries; border largely delimited with Uzbekistan, but unresolved dispute remains over sovereignty of two border villages, Bagys and Turkestan, and around the Arnasay dam; Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan wrestle with sharing limited water resources and the regional environmental degradation caused by the shrinking of the Aral Sea; disputes with Kyrgyzstan over providing water and hydropower to Kazakhstan
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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