GDP: US$56.1 billion (2005).
• Main exports:
Oil, ferrous and non ferrous metals, machinery, chemicals, grain, wool, meat
imports: Machinery and parts, industrial materials, oil and gas, and
trade partners: USA, UK, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, The Netherlands,
China (PR), Uzbekistan, Korea (Rep), Turkey and Ukraine.
enormous natural deposits: iron, nickel, zinc, manganese, coal, chromium,
copper, lead, gold and silver are presently being mined. The coalfields of
the Karaganda are some of the largest in Asia. There are substantial oil and
gas deposits, many of which have only recently been located and the Kazakh
government has signed joint production deals with US and European consortia.
New pipeline projects agreed with the Russian Federation and Oman will offer
further outlets for Kazakh oil and boost national revenues.
The rapid increase in the size of the sector mainly accounts for the
country’s recent healthy growth, which has seen GDP increase by around 10%
annually since 2000 (9.4% in 2005). Inflation in the same year was 7.6%.
The government’s economic policy has limited the involvement of foreign
investors (the oil and gas industry apart). A privatization programmed has
seen the bulk of the country’s commercial enterprises transferred to the
domestic private sector. The government has established a strong financial
position, albeit at the expense of much-needed investment in Kazakhstan’s
Other than oil and gas, stone, such as marble and granite, is produced in
large quantities. The country’s industries are predominantly concerned with
processing these raw materials. Domestic production also fulfils Kazakhstan’s
own energy needs.
Agriculture still accounts for half of economic output. The main commodities
are wheat, meat products, wool and a variety of crops: sugar beet, potatoes,
cereals, cotton, fruit and vegetables. Livestock rearing is also important in
this very arid region. However, one of the consequences of extensive
cultivation has been heavy demand on water supplies, most particularly the
rivers of Kazakhstan and its neighbor Uzbekistan: this was the major cause of
one of the greatest ecological disasters of recent times – the shrinking of
the Aral Sea.
Since independence, Kazakhstan has joined the IMF, World Bank and the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and has signed a
partnership and co-operation agreement with the EU. It also belongs to the
main regional economic co-operation venture, the Central Asian Economic Union
(ECO). Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Kazakhs have sought
economic independence from the Russian Federation but find that they are
still affected by developments in their larger neighbor.