A giant at the heart of the Central Asia

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A giant at the heart of the Central Asia
There are two very differentiating features in Kazakhstan: it is the world's ninth largest country and the politically and economically most stable country in Central Asia and in the CIS.

"Kazakhstan has a very big territory and a very dispersed population, which means that we need additional markets in order to arrange entrepreneurship and production in the country. This is the reason why Kazakhstan is very active in establishing integration and cooperation with neighbouring countries. So, at the same time Kazakhstan is very famous in the world in the first place for its huge oil and gas deposits, but also for its initiatives in the field of security and peace," State Secretary - Minister of foreign affaires of Kazakhstan, Mr. Tokayev

Under the Constitution of Kazakhstan, approved by national referendum on August 30, 1995, the Republic of Kazakhstan has established itself as a democratic, secular and legal state. The basic principles of the republic are public harmony, political stability and economic development for the welfare of the nation.

Kazakhstan in geographic terms is one of the largest Asian countries. It is a vast country covering more than 2.7 million sq km. The territory of Kazakhstan is greater than that of the twelve countries of the European Union. Famous for its political stability Kazakhstan is a multi-ethnic country, home to people of over 100 nationalities. Kazakhstan has a population of 16 Mio, but worldwide the total number of Kazakhs is only estimated at about 11 Mio people.
Deputy Prime Minister and Ex-Minister of finance, Mr. Pavlov stressed "I would like to emphasize that all our achievements in the field of economy are determined by the internal political stability and weighted external policy. As an evidence of the first part of my statement I would like to say the following: more than one hundred nations are represented in Kazakhstani population. And we have never had any ethnic, confessional or any other conflicts." Kazakhstan lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations, the intersection of major transportation routes, cultural, economic, social and ideological links between Europe and Asia, between the East and the West.

"In many aspects of its development Kazakhstan is significantly different from its neighbours in Central Asia and in CIS, since the speed of conducted reforms were much higher and the depth of those changes was much more radical," Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of finance, Mr. Pavlov said.

Kazakhstan is officially a secular state, but Sunni Islam is the major religion. The Kazakhs do not express their religious feelings fervently. Kazakhstan is on the periphery of the Muslim world and a meeting point of Russian, Chinese and Central Asian civilizations. Islam plays a minor role in state policy and there are no significant Islamic political organizations in the country. This is the basis of stable and predictable political and economical situation in Kazakhstan and also the foundation for trustful and fruitful collaboration.
The official state language is Kazakh, a Turkic language closely related to Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Turkmen and Turkish. Russian is the language of inter-ethnic communication, widely spoken in urban areas. English is used by international organizations and the foreign business community in Kazakhstan.

The official capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan is Astana city since December 10, 1997. Kazakhstan is a constitutional republic with strong presidency. The head of state is the President Nursultan Nazarbayev was elected in 1999 for a seven year presidential term.

16 political parties of differing ideological orientation and 3,500 NGOs are registered in Kazakhstan. Of 1,292 periodicals currently being published, 218 are printed in Kazakh, 540 in Russian, 407 in both languages and 127 in various other languages used in Kazakhstan.

Ten years have already passed since Independence and Kazakhstan achieved good results. Today, Kazakhstan takes advantages of its rich mineral reserves. It is known that almost all the Mendelleyev's table is represented in Kazakhstan.
The economy of Kazakhstan is based on its extensive agricultural and mineral resources. The country has enormous fuel reserves and supplies of other minerals and metals. Heavy industry is one of the prior sectors of Kazakh economy developing for the further processing of mineral reserves.

The denationalisation and privatisation of state property have been regarded as key components in the economic stabilisation programs and socio-economic reform. During 1991-1992, the majority of state-owned enterprises were transformed into common or stock ownership. The main outcomes of privatisation are huge. From 1991 to 2000 the Committee for State Property and Privatisation and its regional branches privatised over 34, 500 items of state property.

Kazakhstan has achieved macro-economic stability, drafted the legislation required for successful business and implemented structural reforms, which have created a foundation for quickening the pace of the country's development from both the short - and long-term perspectives. A modern infrastructure is forming in the areas of finance, banking, energy, transport, and telecommunications. Kazakhstan does try to create an image of a fair partner, who thinks and cares about the lives of its people and partners it cooperate with.

"Our foreign policy is directed at having stable and predictable relationships, first of all with Asian countries, but also with every appropriate and relevant European country. We believe that the world community will help and understand us, as we have been becoming a committed member of the world community since Kazakhstan as early as in 1993 rejected nuclear weapons and became a member/entity of the treaty that bans comprehensive nuclear testing. So, I think that the foreign policy of Kazakhstan is peaceful and very stable," State Secretary and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Tokayev said.
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