Geographical position. The Republic of Kazakhstan is a country in Eurasia ranked 9th largest country in the world; its territory of 2,724,900 sq. km. (1,052,100 sq miles) is larger than Western Europe. It is neighbored clockwise from the north by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and also borders on a significant part of the Caspian Sea.
Population (January 2010 estimate): 16,196,800 people, of which 46% is rural and 54% urban population.
Population density: 5.7 per sq km
GDP (2009 estimate): USD 177.835 bln
Per capita GDP (2009 estimate): USD 11,434
Primary economic activities. Kazakhstan’s economy is the largest in Central Asia, with the following branches of industry highly developed: ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, chemical industry, machine-building, light and food industries, oil refining and construction materials industry.
Nonferrous metallurgy. Companies engaged in nonferrous metallurgy produce over 12% of the total industrial output. Extracted ores are used to produce copper, lead, zinc, titanium, magnesium, rear and rear earth metals, copper and lead rolled products etc. Kazakhstan is high one of the major global manufacturers and exporters of refined copper and the third largest manufacturer of gold among new independent states.
Ferrous metallurgy. Over 12.5% of all the republic industrial output is produced by Kazakhstan’s companies of ferrous metallurgy. The country possesses large reserves of chromite ores which form the basis for operation of the republican ferroalloy plants.
Chemical industry, oil refining and petrochemistry. The range of products manufactured by the enterprises of the republican chemical and petrochemical industries is considerable – plastics, chemical fibers and man-made yarn, tyres for motor cars and agricultural machinery, wide range of general rubber goods, chromium compounds, calcium carbide, caustic soda, etc. Three oil refining plants are functioning in Republic to manufacture gasoline, diesel and boiler fuel, aviation kerosene, petroleum-bitumen and other oil products. There is also a large phosphatic rock processing complex involving subsequent production of yellow phosphorous, mineral fertilizers, synthesized detergents. This industry has serious potential connected with complex processing of oil excavated in West Kazakhstan and setup of new products manufacture based on deposits of phosphatic rock.
Machine building. Machine-building enterprises produce about 8% of the total industrial output of the Republic. Those include press-forging plants (Shimkent), metal-cutting plants (Almaty), accumulators (Taldy-Korgan), centrifugal pumps (Astana), X-ray equipment (Aktobe), etc. At present, foreign investment is being attracted to the industry to establish new facilities for manufacturing of medical equipment, agricultural machinery, diesel engines, food industry equipment, electric engines and other non-consumer goods.
Construction materials industry. The companies of the construction materials industry produce over 4% of Kazakhstan’s total industrial output. Manufactured articles include cement, asbestos sheeting, asbestos-cement pipes, soft roofing materials, linoleum, sanitary faience, ceramic veneer for floor and building decorating, panels and other structures used for large panel house-building, kaolin used in paper-making, radiators, convectors and some other construction materials and structures.
Agriculture. Agriculture is a very important sector of national economy. Climate conditions in Northern Kazakhstan are favourable for growing spring wheat, oats, barley and other cereal crops, vegetable growing, melon-growing and cultivation of some industrial crops – sunflower, crown flax, tobacco, etc. In the south, cotton, sugar beet, yellow tobacco, rice are grown, gardens and vineyards bear fruit. Kazakhstan ranks 3rd largest grain producer in the CIS after Russia and Ukraine. Cattle breeding is represented by meat and wool sheep breeding, meat, meat and milk cattle breeding. Cows, koulans, camels and horses are bred as well.
Natural resources. Over a quarter of Kazakhstan’s territory is covered with steppes, another quarter - with mountains, seas, lakes and rivers; deserts and semi deserts make up half of the Republic’s territory. Almost 22 mln ha of land is taken by forests and woodland. There are 11,000 rivers, over 7,000 lakes and water storage basins in the country. Major rivers are Irtysh, Ishim, Ural, Syrdarya, Ili and Chu. The surface relief varies from vast lowlands to highest mountain ranges up to 5,000 meters high. Among soil types, blacksoil, chestnut soil, brown soil and gray soil prevail.
According to the experts’ estimation, Kazakhstan ranks 6th world’s richest country in natural resources. 99 out of 110 elements of Mendeleev’s periodic table have been found in Kazakhstan, 70 have been explored and 60 elements are currently being excavated and used. Kazakhstan is the largest tungsten producer and the largest owner of its reserves, the 2nd largest owner of chrome and phosphorous ores reserves, the 4th largest owner of lead and molybdenum reserves, the 8th largest owner of total reserve of iron ores. Republican demonstrated oil reserves amount to about 40 bln barrels, or 6.5 bln tons of oil. Oil reserves expected to be discovered in deposits lying in Kazakhstan area of the Caspian Sea alone can make over 124.3 bln barrels, or 17 bln tons of oil. The country possesses major coal reserves, those of natural gas and uranium, 173 gold deposits have been explored.
Foreign trade turnover. Kazakhstan’s export potential is based on raw materials and formed by fuel, metallurgy and chemical industries. The exported goods are oil and oil products, nonferrous and ferrous metals, ores, cereal crops. The main imported goods are machinery and equipment, transportation facilities, appliances and automatic machines, chemical products, mineral fuel, food products, manufactured goods and consumer goods.
Conventional trade partners of the Republic are Russia, the CIS and the Baltic states. Together with that, successful trade relationships have been developed with Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, Czech, Italy, China, the USA, Great Britain, South Korea, etc.
In January-November 2009, foreign trade turnover of Kazakhstan (according to Customs Control Committee of the Ministry of Finance, Republic of Kazakhstan exclusively of unorganized trade) amounted to USD 62,984.4 mln; export - USD 37,607.7 mln, import - USD 25,376.7 mln.
Transport network. The total mileage of Kazakhstan’s main land transportation routes – rail roads, motor roads and river routes – is 106,000 km. New transit corridors following the route of Great Silk Road: starting from the Pacific ports of China running to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, to the Mediterranean ports and those of the Persian Gulf – have been opened after construction of border railway crossing point Druzhba – Alashankou between Kazakhstan and China and after launching the railway station Serahs – Mashhed between Turkmenistan and Iran. The network of motor roads provides access to Russia and former Republics of the Soviet Union, to China, Turkey and Iran, providing access to the ports of Black and Mediterranean Seas and Indian Ocean. Marine navigation is performed in Caspian sea (Aktau port). There are 22 large airports in Kazakhstan, 14 of which perform international transportation.
Tourism. Practically all the existing types of tourism are presented in Kazakhstan - cognitive, entertaining, ethnic, ecological, health, sports, hunting, horse and adventure tourism, tourism for children. Over 700 touristic routes cover the Republic’s territory.
Kazakhstan is the region of ancient history and culture, well-known monuments of medieval architecture. The landscape and unique climatic conditions of the Republic create favorable environment for development of different types of tourism - hunting, fishing, medical treatment, mountain climbing, water sports, ski mountaineering and ice-skating. Lake Balkhash, one of the largest in the world and unique Karkaralinsk mountain forest oasis are situated in Central Kazakhstan. There are lots of memorials, which have preserved archaeological and ethnographical objects. The second lowest place on the planet – Karagiye Depression – lies in Western Kazakhstan, 132 meters below the sea level. The region is also famous for its chalk cliffs.