- Official Name: Republic of Kazakhstan
- Official Languages: Kazakh (official state language), Russian (co-official language)
- Population: 18,708,352
- Kazakhstan’s population density is among the lowest in the world, with less than 15 people per square mile.
- Currency: Tenge (₸)
- Kazakhstan is a Central Asian country extending from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mountains at its eastern border with China and Russia.
- Capital: Nur-Sultan, formerly known as Astana.
- Nur-sultan is the second coldest capital city in the world after Ulaanbaatar in neighboring Mongolia.
- Government: Democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic
- The name “Kazakh” comes from the ancient Turkic word qaz, “to wander”, reflecting the Kazakhs’ nomadic culture.
- Kazakhstan mineral and fossil fuel resources are vast: the country has the world’s second largest uranium, chromium, lead and zinc reserves; the world’s third largest manganese reserves; the world’s fifth largest copper reserves; and ranks in the top ten for coal, iron, and gold. It is an exporter of diamonds, and has the world’s 11th-largest proven reserves of both petroleum and natural gas.
- Muslim (70%), Christian (mostly Russian Orthodox) (26%), Buddhist (0.2%), other or Jewish (0.1%), irreligious (3%), according to the 2009 census.
- Ethnic Kazakhs make up 67.5% of the population, and ethnic Russians account for 19.8%.
- Other minority groups include Tatars, Ukranians, Uzbeks, Belarusians, Uyghurs, Azerbaijanis, Dungans, Kalmyks, Chuvashes, Poles, and LIthuanians.
- Some minorities, including Ukranians, Koreans, Volga Germans, Chechens, Nekhetian Turks, and Russian political opponents of the regime, were deported to Kazakhstan in the 1930s and 1940s by Joseph Stalin. Some of the largest Soviet labor camps (Gulags) were located in the country.
- Many Kazakhstanis are practicing Muslims, so it is best not to give alcohol as a gift.
- Seniority is greatly valued in Kazakhstan.
- It may be considered rude to ask about or discuss ethnicity, especially older individuals who may have grown up under the culturally oppressive USSR.
Economy & Doing Business:
- Kazakhstan has the largest and strongest economy in Central Asia.
- Kazakhstan’s biggest economic sector is energy, with petroleum and crude oil comprising 56% of the country’s exports.
- Kazakhstan leads the world for uranium production volumes. It has the world’s second largest uranium reserves after Australia.
- High-tech exports grew eight-fold from 1995-2014. This growth was due in part to a project funded by the World Bank Group in which 65 Kazakh tech startups received funding and training to get their innovations to markets.
- Other major exports include wheat, textiles, and livestock.
- Kazakhstan has actively worked to attract foreign investors, and the Ministry of Investment and Development estimated in 2016 that there were 200 investment projects in the country worth more than $40 billion.
- In 2017, Kazakhstan introduced visa-free entry for citizens of EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union), OECD member countries, Monaco, Malaysia, UAE, and Singapore. ** currently suspended **
- Kazakhstan’s main source of direct foreign investment is from the EU (over 50%), followed by the US (15%), UK(5%), and China (5%).
- The World Bank Group ranks Almaty, Kazakhstan’s most populous city in the Southeast region of the same name, as having the most business-friendly climate.
- Russian is the language of business in Kazakhstan, although multinational corporations with offices in the country may operate in another language such as English.
- Officials announced in June 2020 that the government will invest heavily into its 10 nature reserves and 13 national parks in an effort to boost ecotourism in the country. The development of this niche sector will absorb an estimated $1.2 billion by 2030.