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flag Kazakhstan Kazakhstan: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline


Economic Indicators

Between 1997 to 2007, GDP has been multiplied by 3.5. The growth of the Kazakhstan economy, which is largely based on the oil-gas annuity (35% of GDP, close to 60% of exports and over 40% of budgetary revenues in 2013), has benefited from the rising price of oil. Today, Kazakhstan is seeking to diversify its industrial base and technology, particularly through partnerships with foreign companies.

Kazakhstan holds 75% of the hydrocarbon reserves of the Caspian Sea (3% of world oil reserves, 1.7% of gas reserves) and by 2020 could become the seventh largest producer of oil, once the giant field of Kashagan (40% of proved reserves of the country) begins operations. Kazakhstan also has the second largest reserve of uranium (largest producer).

The country was extremely badly hit by the economic crisis of 2008-9, notably due to the weakness of its banking system. However, Kazakhstan has recorded strong growth between 5 and 7% since 2009: 5% in 2013 after 5.9% in 2012. This growth should remain strong in 2014 with a forcast of 5.2%. The country's GDP represents today nearly 75% of the GDP of the entire region of Central Asia.

Due to a strong government price control, inflation has decreased sharply to 6% in 2013. The financial system remains fragile.

The country remains dependent on oil prices and the economy is still driven by oil exports, despite government efforts to diversify. The July 2010 creation of a  Customs Union which includes Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, will help facilitate this diversification.

Wages have been increasing since 2010 and the unemployment rate has decreased (according to the criteria of the International Labor Organization - ILO), to stay around 5% since 2011 (5.2% in 2013).

Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 188.05203.52231.88e225.62e248.68
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 11,27812,03413e12,95014,064
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 10.412.412.913.7e14.5
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)
Current Account (billions USD) 10.201.08-0.120.58-1.75
Current Account (in % of GDP) 5.40.5-0.10.3-0.7

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

The agricultural sector only contributed to 5.2% of the GDP in 2013 but has employed 27.9% of the active population. Kazakhstan, with more than 22 million hectares of agricultural land, is the 6th largest global producer of cereals, despite its low yields per hectare. Livestock farming is also an important activity. Kazakhstan is practically self-sufficient in food production.

Kazakhstan is rich in natural resources, almost all of them are present in its subsoil. 

Industry represents 37.9% of the GDP and employs 18.9% of active population. The production of hydrocarbons has been increasing steadily since 2008. The manufacturing activities are limited to textile, chemical products, fertilizers and pharmaceutical products.

The tertiary sector is growing, contributing 56.9% to the GDP in 2013 and employing 53.2% of the active population.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 25.5 19.4 55.1
Value Added (in % of GDP) 4.9 36.9 58.2
Value Added (Annual % Change) 11.2 3.1 6.7

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Kazakhstan Tenge (KZT) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 147.50147.35146.62149.11152.13

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.


Learn more about Market Analyses about Kazakhstan on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Moderately Free
World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Foreign Trade in Figures

Kazakhstan is open to international trade. Its main export goods are oil, petroleum products, coal, iron ore, chemical products, machinery, cereal, wool and meat. Its main export partners in 2013 have been China, Italy, the Netherlands Russia and France.

The country mainly imports machinery, electric and electronic equipment and food products. Russia is an important partner of Kazakhstan, both politically and economically. The two countries have undertaken common projects in many fields including energy. Kazakhstan's main import partners are Russia (over 38% of total import in 2013), China, followed by Ukraine, Germany and the United States.

Joining the WTO remains a stated goal for the end of 2014. The negotiations are progressing and the country is currently an observer to the organisation.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 28,40931,10737,05646,35848,873
Exports of Goods (million USD) 43,19659,97187,60392,28682,512
Imports of Services (million USD) 9,88111,16510,81212,60312,060
Exports of Services (million USD) 3,8133,8954,0734,5964,639
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 33.929.927.330.526.7
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 41.844.247.645.138.2
Trade Balance (million USD) 15,00028,49944,84438,14533,691
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 9,04321,27638,20930,19726,816
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 75.874.174.975.664.9

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Italy 18.4%
China 17.4%
Netherlands 11.8%
Russia 7.0%
France 6.4%
See More Countries 39.0%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Russia 36.2%
China 16.8%
Germany 5.7%
United States 4.9%
Ukraine 4.6%
See More Countries 31.8%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data


Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 66.9%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 4.1%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 3.8%
Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought ...Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought (excl. copper alloys of heading 7405) 3.2%
Radioactive chemical elements and radioactive...Radioactive chemical elements and radioactive isotopes, incl. their fissile or fertile chemical elements and isotopes, and their compounds; mixtures and residues containing these products 2.8%
See More Products 19.1%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 5.8%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.4%
Tubes and pipes, having circular cross-sections...Tubes and pipes, having circular cross-sections and an external diameter of > 406,4 mm, of flat-rolled products of iron or steel e.g., welded, riveted or similarly closed 3.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 3.2%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.6%
See More Products 80.5%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)

Main Services

- bn USD of services exported in 2011
- bn USD of services imported in 2011

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning
Ministry of Energy and Mineral resources
Ministry of Industry and New Technologies
Ministry of Agriculture (in Russian)
Ministry of Justice
Statistical Office
Agency of Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Central Bank
National Bank of Kazakhstan
Stock Exchange
Kazakhstan Stock Exchange(Kaze)
Search Engines
Economic Portals
Portal on Mining Sector

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Political Outline

Executive Power
The President is also the Commander-in-chief of the army. He can propose constitutional amendments, appoint and revoke the government, dissolve the parliament and call for referendum when he wants. The Prime Minister is the head of the government. He and the Council of Ministers are appointed by the President.
Legislative Power
On 17 May 2007, President Nazarbaev presented the entire series of constitutional amendments in the Parliament with a view to establish a "parliamentary-presidential system" to reinforce the control of the President on the institutions a little more, resulting from these amendments approved by the Parliament (constituted from the Senate and Majilis). At present the Senate has 47 seats out of which 15 are appointed by the President and Majilis has 107 of which 98 are elected by proportional ballot and 9 appointed by the People's Assembly of Kazakshtan.

The parties should obtain at least 7% of the votes to be represented in the Majilis. 

It is the responsibility of the Parliament to give its approval or non-approval of the nomination of the Prime Minister by the Head of State .

Main Political Parties
The opposition parties are authorised but they hardly have any chance to win the power. The main political parties of the country are:
- Otan (Homeland): Presidential party (98 seats in Majilis, which is the total number elected) ;
- National Democratic Social Party ;
- Ak Jol (Lighted Path) ;
- Aouyl Social Democratic Party ;
- Communist Party of Kazakhstan ;
- Agrarian Party of Kazakhstan - Kazakhstan Patriots Party.
Current Political Leaders
President: Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV (since December 1991, re-elected in 1999 and 2005) - CPK
Prime Minister: Karim MASIMOV (since 2 April 2014) - Nour-Otan
Next Election Dates
Presidential elections: 2016
Elections for deputies of the Majilis planned in 2017
Elections of Senators planned in 2014

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
1 place down compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Not Free
Political Freedom:

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House


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Last Updates: January 2015