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Kazakhstan VisaWelcome to the Kazakhstan. Reaching from the Caspian Sea to China and from Siberia to the Tian Shan Mountains, Kazakhstan is more than twice as big as the four other former Soviet Central Asian republics put together and is roughly half the size of mainland USA. It's the least densely populated area in Central Asia and, potentially, the most mineral rich.

PEOPLE AND HISTORY
The majority of Kazakhstanis are ethnic Kazakh; other ethnic groups include Russian, Ukrainian, Uzbek, German, and Uyghur. Religions are Sunni Muslim, Russian Orthodox, Protestant, and other. Kazakhstan is a bilingual country. The Kazakh language has the status of the "state" language, while Russian is declared the "official" language. Russian is used routinely in business; 64.4% of the population speaks the Kazakh language. Education is universal and mandatory through the secondary level, and the literacy rate is 98.8%.

ECONOMY
Kazakhstan's economy grew by 9.2% in 2003, buoyed by high world oil prices. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 9.5% in 2002; it grew 13.2% in 2001, up from 9.8% in 2000.
Kazakhstan's monetary policy has been well managed. Its principal challenges in 2002 were to manage strong foreign currency inflows without sparking inflation.

U.S.-KAZAKHSTAN RELATIONS
The United States was the first country to recognize Kazakhstan, on December 25, 1991, and opened its Embassy in Almaty in January 1992. In the years since Kazakhstan's independence, the two countries have developed a wide-ranging bilateral relationship. The current Ambassador is Larry C. Napper, who assumed his post in September 2001.

Full country name: Republic of Kazakhstan
Area: 2.71 million sq km
Population: 16.8 million
People: 46% Kazakh, 34.7% Russian, 4.9% Ukrainian, 3.1% German, 2.3% Uzbek, 1.9% Tatar
Language: Kazakh, Russian
Religion: 47% Muslim, 44% Russian Orthodox, 2% Protestant
Government: republic
Head of State: President Nursultan Nazarbayev
Head of Government: Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov
GDP: US$52.9 billion
GDP per capita: US$3,100
Inflation: 10%
Major Industries: Much of industrial capacity is shut down and/or in need of repair) Oil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur, iron and steel, nonferrous metal, tractors and other agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials, grain (mostly spring wheat), cotton, wool, livestock
Major Trading Partners: Russia, UK, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, the Netherlands, China, Italy, Germany, Turkey, South Korea