Kazakhstan occupies the central part of the Eurasian Continent.
Its territories fall into 40% of deserts, 23% of semi-deserts, 20 of steppes, 7% of forest-steppes and 10% of mountains.
Kazakhstan occupies 2 724 900 m2, it ranks the 9th in size after Russia, China, The USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India and Australia and second among the CIS countries.
The territory of Kazakhstan is bigger than the 12 countries of the European Union taken together. Kazakhstan is divided into 14 regions (administrative).
Currency: Tenge (₸), (KZT)
Largest city: Almaty (1.3 billions)
Official languages: Kazak, Russian
Time zone: West/East (UTC+5 / +6)
Calling code: +7-6xx, +7-7xx
Geography and Climate
Kazakhstan borders with China (1460km), Kyrgyzstan (980km), Turkmenistan (380km), Uzbekistan (2300km) and Russia (6467km). The total length of its borders is 12187 km. There are 14 administrative divisions called “oblast”, 84 towns including 39 cities, 159 districts called “rayons”, 241 villages.
The country stretches from the lower parts of the Volga river in the West up to the foot of the Altai mountains in the East 3000 km long comprising 2 time zones, from the West-Siberian lowlands in the North to the Kyzylkum desert and the Tian Shan mountains in the South 2000 km long.
The ultimate northern point of Kazakhstan reaches 55°26΄of northern latitude which can be related to the central part of the East European Plain and the South of the British Isles (the latitude of Moscow). The utmost Southern point reaches 40°56΄ of northern latitude which can be related to the Transcaucasia and Mediterranean parts of Southern Europe (the latitude of Madrid and Istanbul).
The climate of the country is mostly sharp-continental. The average Winter temperature is between 19 and 4 C, the average in Summer is between 19 and 27 C. The lowest winter temperature comes up to 45 C, the highest temperature in Summer is +45C.
There are 8,5 thousands big and small rivers in Kazakhstan. The length of seven rivers is over 1000 km. The longest ones are the Ural River and the Emba running to the Caspian sea, the Syr-Daria running to the Aral sea. The upper parts of the Ishim, the Tobol and the Irtysh rivers are on the territory of Kazakhstan.
There are 48000 big and small lakes in Kazakhstan, the biggest of them are the Aral sea, the Balkhash , the Zaisan, the Alakol, the Tengiz and the Seletengiz. The biggest part of the northern and half of the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea (the biggest lake in the world) belongs to Kazakhstan. The length of the Caspian Sea coastline belonging to Kazakhstan is 2340km.
The Fauna of Kazakhstan comprises 155 kinds of mammals, 480 kinds of birds, 150 of fish.
250 herbs used in medicine are found in Kazakhstan. Santonin growing in the South of the country cannot be found anywhere in the world.
Population and languadges
The population of the republic is over 17 million people. The density of population in Kazakhstan is 5.5 per 1 km2. The capital is Astana (since 10 December, 1997) with the population of 900 thousand.
Calendar of holidays:
1,2 January - The New Year
7 January - Orthodox Christmas
8 March - International Women’s Day
21-23 March - Nauryz (the first day of the Muslim New Year)
1 May - Unity Day
7 May - Defender's Day
9 May - Victory Day
6 July - Capital city Day
30 August - Constitution Day
24 September (variable) - Kurban Bairam
1 December - First President's Day
16-17 December - Independence Day
Besides there are many other less important holidays which are celebrated but are unofficial. On these days people organize festivals, fairs, fireworks and other social events.
Together with the official holidays such religious holidays as Ramazan for Muslims, and Easter for Christians are celebrated.
The structure of government
Kazakhstan is the unitary state with the presidential form of government. The President of the Republic is Nursultan Nazarbayev (sine 1991). The state government comprises the legislative power carried out by the parliament, and the executive power belonging to the government which consists of the central organs (ministries, agencies and departments) and local organs called “the Akimats”. The juridical branch is carried out by courts of law (the Supreme Law Court and the local ones).
Both the state and private property are recognized and supported by law.
Kazakhstan is rich in natural resources. Of 105 elements of Mendeleyev’s Table 99 are discovered in Kazakhstan. The supplies of 70 of them are known at present and over 60 elements are excavated and produced.
At present, there are 493 deposits containing 1225 types of raw materials. Kazakhstan ranks first in proved reserves of zinc, …, …, second in the reserves of silver, lead, chromites, third in copper and …, fourth in molybdenum, sixth in gold.
Among the CIS countries Kazakhstan ranks first in the volume of chromites and lead, second in oil, silver, copper, manganese, zinc, nickel and raw phosphorus, third in gas, coal, gold and tin.
Kazakhstan is first in the output of silver, chromites, lead and zinc, second in oil, coal, copper, nickel and raw phosphorus, third in gold. Kazakhstan’s considerable reserves of oil and gas concentrated in its western region allow to refer it to the leading oil-producing countries of the world. According to the geological and commercial estimation of mineral resources in Kazakhstan, primary economic importance is laid on coal, oil, copper, iron, lead, zinc, chrome gold and manganese.
The transport and communication complex is represented by railway, air, water ways of transportation together with the pipelines, automobile roads and electronic communication systems.
The total length of railways in Kazakhstan is 14.5 thousand kilometers and the railways play the leading part in the transportation of cargoes and people.
The total length of main automobile roads comes to 83.3 thousand kilometers with 17.7 kilometers of the roads of national importance included.
Sea navigation takes place in the Caspian Sea. The most important sea-ports are Aktau and Bautino which open the way to Iran and Azerbaijan.
The airways in Kazakhstan are represented by the national company AIR ASTANA and a number of international companies, such as KLM, Lufthansa, British Mediterranean, Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot,Transaero, etc.
The economy of Kazakhstan is the largest economy in Central Asia. It possesses enormous oil reserves as well as minerals and metals. It also has considerable agricultural potential with its vast steppe lands accommodating both livestock and grain production, as well as developed space infrastructure, which took over all launches to the International Space Station from the Space Shuttle. The mountains in the south are important for apples and walnuts; both species grow wild there. Kazakhstan's industrial sector rests on the extraction and processing of these natural resources and also on a relatively large machine building sector specializing in construction equipment, tractors, agricultural machinery, and some military items. The breakup of the USSR and the collapse of demand for Kazakhstan's traditional heavy industry products have resulted in a sharp contraction of the economy since 1991, 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. The December 1996 signing of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium agreement to build a new pipeline from western Kazakhstan's Tengiz Field to the Black Sea increases prospects for substantially larger oil exports in several years. Kazakhstan's economy turned downward in 1998 with a 2.5% decline in GDP growth due to slumping oil prices and the August financial crisis in Russia/ A bright spot in 1999 was the recovery of international petroleum prices, which, combined with a well-timed tenge devaluation and a bumper grain harvest, pulled the economy out of recession.
Current GDP per capita shrank by 26% in the Nineties. In the 2000s, Kazakhstan's economy grew sharply, aided by increased prices on world markets for Kazakhstan's leading exports—oil, metals and grain. GDP grew 9.6% in 2000, up from 1.7% in 1999. In 2006, extremely high GDP growth had been sustained, and grew by 10.6%. Business with booming Russia and China, as well as neighboring Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nations have helped to propel this growth. The increased economic growth also led to a turn-around in government finances, with the budget moving from a cash deficit of 3.7% of GDP in 1999 to 0.1% surplus in 2000. The country experienced a slowdown in economic growth from 2014 sparked by falling oil prices and the effects of the Ukrainian crisis. The country's currency was devalued by 19% in 2004 and by 22% in 2015.
In 2015, the World Economic Forum compiled its Global Competitiveness Ranking Kazakhstan 50th out of 144 countries. The ranking considers multiple macroeconomic and financial factors, such as market size, GDP, tax rates, infrastructure development, etc. In 2012, the World Economic Forum listed corruption as the biggest problem in doing business in the country.
Kazakhstan secured 2nd position in the Central and South Asia regional ranking of the 2015 Global Innovation Index (GII) released by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) together with Cornell University and INSEAD France.