Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The ninth largest country in the world by land area, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of 2,727,300 square kilometres (1,053,000 sq mi) is larger than Western Europe. Moreover, lying on both sides of the Ural river makes Kazakhstan the only landlocked country in the world lying on two continents. It is neighbored clockwise from the north by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and also borders on a large part of the Caspian Sea. The terrain of Kazakhstan includes flatlands, steppe, taiga, rock-canyons, hills, deltas, snow-capped mountains, and deserts. With 16.6 million people (2011 estimate) Kazakhstan has the 62nd largest population in the world, though its population density is less than 6 people per square kilometre (15 per sq. mi.). The capital was moved in 1998 from Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, to Astana.
Kazakhstan is officially a presidential republic. The first and only president is Nursultan Nazarbayev. The president is also the commander in chief of the armed forces and may veto legislation that has been passed by the Parliament. The prime minister chairs the Cabinet of Ministers and serves as Kazakhstan's head of government. There are three deputy prime ministers and 16 ministers in the Cabinet. Karim Massimov has served as the Prime Minister since January 10, 2007.
Kazakhstan has a bicameral Parliament composed of the lower house (the Majilis) and upper house (the Senate). Single mandate districts popularly elect 107 seats in the Majilis; there also are 10 members elected by party-list vote rather than by single mandate districts. The Senate has 47 members. Two senators are selected by each of the elected assemblies (Maslikhats) of Kazakhstan's 16 principal administrative divisions (14 provinces, plus the cities of Astana and Almaty). The president appoints the remaining 7 senators. Majilis deputies and the government both have the right of legislative initiative, though the government proposes most legislation considered by the Parliament.
Kazakhstan has stable relationships with all of its neighbors. Kazakhstan is also a member of the United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). It is an active participant in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Partnership for Peace program.
Buoyed by high world crude oil prices, GDP growth figures were comprised between 8.9% and 13.5% from 2000 to 2007 before decreasing to 1-3% in 2008 and 2009, and then rising again from 2010. Other major exports of Kazakhstan include wheat, textiles, and livestock. Kazakhstan predicted that it would become a leading exporter of uranium by 2010, which has indeed come true.
Since 2002, Kazakhstan has sought to manage strong inflows of foreign currency without sparking inflation. Inflation has not been under strict control, however, registering 6.6% in 2002, 6.8% in 2003, and 6.4% in 2004.
In 2000, Kazakhstan became the first former Soviet republic to repay all of its debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), 7 years ahead of schedule. In March 2002, the U.S. Department of Commerce granted Kazakhstan market economy status under U.S. trade law. This change in status recognized substantive market economy reforms in the areas of currency convertibility, wage rate determination, openness to foreign investment, and government control over the means of production and allocation of resources.
|Time zone||West/East (UTC+5/6)|
|Calling code||+7-6xx, +7-7xx|