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Kazakhstan

 

    *Country Profile [CIA, 2008]
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 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.
 

Location

Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural River in eastern-most Europe

Coordinates

48 0' N 68 0' E

Capital

Astana

Main Cities

Chimkent, Karaganda, Petropavlovsk

Area

2717300 km2

Boundaries (km)

12,012 - China 1,533, Kyrgyzstan 1,051, Russia 6,846, Turkmenistan 379, Uzbekistan 2,203

Coastline (km)

0 (borders the Aral Sea, 1,070 km, and the Caspian Sea, 1,894 km)

Timezone (GMT)

6

Population

15,340,533 (July 2008 est.) (Demographics)

Public Holidays

Republic Day, 25 October (1990)

Currency

tenge (KZT)

GDP

$167.6 billion (2007 est.) (Economic data)

Main Exports

oil and oil products 59%, ferrous metals 19%, chemicals 5%, machinery 3%, grain, wool, meat, coal (2001)

Climate

continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid

Natural Hazards

earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty

Physical Features

Kyzyl Kum desert (300,000 km2), Ust'-Urt desert (160,000 km2), Bet-Pak-Dala (155,000 km2), Caspian Sea (371,000 km2), Aral Sea (24,900 km2), Lake Balkhash (20,000 km2)

Environmental Agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

 

    *Population and Demographics

Kazakhstan has a population of 15,340,533 (July 2008 est.) .

Capital

Astana

Main urban areas

Chimkent, Karaganda, Petropavlovsk

Ethnic groups

Kazakh (Qazaq) 53.4%, Russian 30%, Ukrainian 3.7%, Uzbek 2.5%, German 2.4%, Uygur 1.4%, other 6.6% (1999 census)

Languages spoken

Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the language of interethnic communication) 95% (2001 est.)

 

   * Geographic Data
Kazakhstan is located in Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural River in eastern-most Europe, in the timezone GMT 6. The country has boundaries of 12,012 - China 1,533, Kyrgyzstan 1,051, Russia 6,846, Turkmenistan 379, Uzbekistan 2,203 (km), and a coastline of 0 (borders the Aral Sea, 1,070 km, and the Caspian Sea, 1,894 km) (km). Major urban areas: Astana, Chimkent, Karaganda, Petropavlovsk.

Elevations
Lowest point: Vpadina Kaundy -132 m
Highest point: Khan Tangiri Shyngy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m

Physical Features
Kyzyl Kum desert (300,000 km2), Ust'-Urt desert (160,000 km2), Bet-Pak-Dala (155,000 km2), Caspian Sea (371,000 km2), Aral Sea (24,900 km2), Lake Balkhash (20,000 km2)

Hazards
Earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty

Climate
Continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid

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: 8.28% permanent crops: 0.05% other: 91.67% (2005)

Renewable Water Resources
109.6 cu km (1997)

Fresh Water Withdrawal
total: 35 cu km/yr (2%/17%/82%) per capita: 2,360 cu m/yr (2000)

Environmental Issues
Radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with former defense industries and test ranges scattered throughout the country pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because the two main rivers that 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