The Republic of Kazakhstan lies at the heart of central Asia, bordering Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and the Caspian Sea (which is technically the world’s largest lake). This makes Kazakhstan the largest landlocked country in the world, and a crucial trade hub for the region. Ambitious pipelines, roads and railway projects cross through Kazakhstan to connect East and West together and are developing at striking speed. Formidable quantities of gas and oil continue to be uncovered throughout the region, to the extent that seven-tenths of all the increases in oil output outside OPEC are now coming from Central Asia. Other major exports include wheat, textiles, and livestock. Kazakhstan is also the world’s leading exporter of uranium.
Over 16 million people inhabit the country’s steppes, mountains and deserts, from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds: majority Muslim Kazakhs, sizeable Russian, Ukrainian and German Christian communities, and a small Buddhist population of Korean descent, among many others. A unitary republic, Kazakhstan has been led by President Nursultan Nazarbayev since before the country’s independence from Russia in 1991. He was re-elected to another five-year term in April 2011. The current government is seeking to sustain its strong economic record with a focus on openness to foreign investment.
In 2002 Kazakhstan was awarded market economy status under U.S. trade law by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and in the same year became the first country in the Commonwealth of Independent States to receive an investment grade credit rating from a major international ratings agency. President Nazarbayev met with Prime Minister David Cameron for the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Join us and British Ambassador Dr Carolyn Browne for an update on the most recent political and economic developments in Kazakhstan.
Dr Carolyn Browne took up her appointment as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan in January 2013. Dr Browne joined the FCO in 1985 and has served overseas in Moscow, New York, Brussels and most recently Baku as Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan.