Kazakhstan (GPS: 48 00 N, 68 00 E) located in Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural (Zhayyq) River in easternmost Europe. The country’s area measurements are total: 2,724,900 sq km; land: 2,699,700 sq km, water: 25,200 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly less than four times the size of Texas. The total irrigated land is 20,660 sq km (2012).
One of the important features of Kazakhstan: World’s largest landlocked country and one of only two landlocked countries in the world that extends into two continents (the other is Azerbaijan). Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing the Baykonur Cosmodrome. In January 2004, Kazakhstan and Russia extended the lease to 2050.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Astana’s GPS coordinates are 51 10 N 71 25 E. Astana’s local time is 11 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+6, note; Kazakhstan has two time zones.
Ethnic Kazakhs, a mix of Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes with additional Persian cultural influences, migrated to the region in the 15th century. Russia conquered the 18th and 19th centuries, and Kazakhstan became the Soviet Republic in 1925. Repression and starvation associated with forced agricultural collectivization led to a massive number of deaths in the 1930s.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the agricultural “Virgin Lands” program led to an influx of settlers (mostly ethnic Russians and other nationalities). At the time of Kazakhstan’s independence in 1991, ethnic Kazakhs were a minority. Non-Muslim ethnic minorities departed Kazakhstan in large numbers from the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s, and a national program has repatriated about a million ethnic Kazakhs (from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, and the Xinjiang region of China) back to Kazakhstan. As a result of this shift, the ethnic Kazakh share of the population now exceeds two-thirds.
Kazakhstan’s economy is the largest in the Central Asian states, mainly due to its vast natural resources. Current issues include: diversifying the economy, obtaining membership in global and regional international economic institutions, enhancing Kazakhstan’s economic competitiveness, and strengthening relations with neighboring states and foreign powers.
Kazakhstan’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Kazakhstan, conventional short form: Kazakhstan, local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy, local short form: Qazaqstan, former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, etymology: the name “Kazakh” derives from the Turkic word “Kaz” meaning “to wander,” recalling the Kazakh’s nomadic lifestyle; the Persian suffix “-stan” means “place of” or “country,” so the word Kazakhstan literally means “Land of the wanderers.” The name “Kazakh” derives from the Turkic word “kaz” meaning “to wander,” recalling the Kazakh’s nomadic lifestyle; The Persian suffix “-stan” means “place of” or “country,” so the word Kazakhstan literally means “Land of the Wanderers.”
Kazakhstan’s terrain is typically a vast flat steppe extending from the Volga in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east and from the plains of western Siberia in the north to oases deserts of Central Asia in the south. The country’s mean elevation: 387 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Vpadina Kaundy -132 m, highest point: Khan Tangiri Shyngy 6,995 m.
The general climate in the country; continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid.
The total number of border countries is 5, China 1,765 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,212 km, Russia 7,644 km, Turkmenistan 413 km, Uzbekistan 2,330 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Kazakhstan’s coastline is 0 km (landlocked country); note – Kazakhstan borders the Aral Sea, now split into two bodies of water (1,070 km), and the Caspian Sea (1,894 km), while its marital claims are: none. Waterways: 4,000 km (on the Ertis (Irtysh) River (80%) and Syr Darya (Syrdariya) River) (2010). Land use: agricultural land: 77.4%; arable land 8.9%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 68.5%; forest: 1.2%; other: 21.4% (2011 estimate).
The population in Kazakhstan 18,744,548 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 53.2% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: Almaty 1.523 million; ASTANA (capital) 759,000 (2015), while Kazakhstan has most of the country displays a low population density, particularly the interior; population clusters appear in urban agglomerations in the far northern and southern portions of the country. Their spoken languages are Kazakh (official language, Qazaq), 74% (understand spoken language), Russian (official language, used in everyday business, designated the “language of interethnic communication”) 94.4% (understand spoken language) (2009 estimate). Main religions in Kazakhstan are Muslim 70.2%, Christian 26.2% (mainly Russian Orthodox), other 0.2%, atheist 2.8%, unspecified 0.5% (2009 estimate). The nation uses civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and the Russian Federation’s theory and practice. It is a(n) presidential republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 16 December (1991).
Economic overview for the country: Kazakhstan’s vast hydrocarbon and mineral reserves form its economy’s backbone. Geographically the largest of the former Soviet republics, excluding Russia, Kazakhstan, g possesses substantial fossil fuel reserves and other minerals and metals, such as uranium, copper, and zinc. It also has a large agricultural sector featuring livestock and grain. The government realizes that its economy suffers from an overreliance on oil and extractive industries and has made initial attempts to diversify its economy by targeting sectors like transport, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, petrochemicals, and food processing for greater development and investment. It also adopted a Subsoil Code in December 2017 to increase exploration and investment in the hydrocarbon, particularly mining, sectors. Kazakhstan’s oil production and potential are expanding rapidly.
A $36.8 billion expansion of Kazakhstan’s premiere Tengiz oil field by Chevron-led Tengizchevroil should be complete in 2022. Meanwhile, the super-giant Kashagan field finally launched production in October 2016 after years of delay and an estimated $55 billion in development costs. Kazakhstan’s total oil production in 2017 climbed by 10.5%. Kazakhstan is landlocked and depends on Russia to export its oil to Europe. It also exports oil directly to China.
In 2010, Kazakhstan joined Russia and Belarus to establish a Customs Union to boost foreign investment and improve trade. The Customs Union evolved into a Single Economic Space in 2012 and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in January 2015. Supported by rising commodity prices, Kazakhstan’s exports to EAEU countries increased by 30.2% in 2017. Imports from EAEU countries grew by 24.1%. The economic downturn of its EAEU partner, Russia, and the decline in global commodity prices from 2014 to 2016 contributed to Kazakhstan’s economic slowdown. In 2014, Kazakhstan devalued its currency, the tenge, and announced a stimulus package to cope with its economic challenges. In the face of further decline in the ruble, oil prices, and the regional economy, Kazakhstan announced in 2015 it would replace its currency band with a floating exchange rate, leading to a sharp fall in the value of the tenge. Since reaching a low of 391 to the dollar in January 2016, the tenge has modestly appreciated, helped by somewhat higher oil prices.
While growth slowed to about 1% in 2015 and 2016, a moderate recovery in oil prices, relatively stable inflation, and foreign exchange rates, and the start of production at Kashagan helped push 2017 GDP growth to 4%. Despite some positive institutional and legislative changes in the last several years, investors remain concerned about corruption, bureaucracy, and arbitrary law enforcement, especially at the regional and municipal levels. An additional concern is the country’s banking sector’s condition, which suffers from poor asset quality and a lack of transparency. Investors also question the potentially negative effects on the economy of a contested presidential succession as Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan NAZARBAYEV, turned 77 in 2017.
Natural resources of Kazakhstan: major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium.
Main export partners for Kazakhstan, Asia are China 15.1%, Russia 12.3%, France 9.2%, Germany 7.9%, Italy 6.7%, Greece 4.1% (2015) for oil and oil products, natural gas, ferrous metals, chemicals, machinery, grain, wool, meat, coal, while the main import partners for the country are: Russia 32.9%, China 25.9%, Germany 4.2% (2015) for machinery and equipment, metal products, foodstuffs.
When you visit this country in Asia, consider that Kazakhstan’s natural hazards: Earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that Kazakhstan faces the following 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, Desertification, Soil pollution from overuse of agricultural chemicals and salination from poor infrastructure and wasteful irrigation practices.