Kazakhstan flag Kazakhstan: Economic and Political Overview

The economic context of Kazakhstan

Economic Indicators

Kazakhstan's economic growth is largely based on gas and oil revenues, accounting for around 35% of GDP and 75% of exports. The estimated GDP growth for 2023 stood at 4.6%, fueled by growth in both the oil and non-oil sectors, with the impact of the conflict in Ukraine remaining contained. Strong credit growth has also supported activity. According to the IMF, anticipated growth in 2024 is projected to moderate within an uncertain economic climate, expected to slow to 3.1% primarily due to delays in the Tengiz oil field expansion. Over the medium term, non-oil GDP growth is set to stabilize at around 3.5%. Downside risks encompass potential oil price declines, disruptions in oil exports, and sluggish growth among trading partners. Additionally, spillovers from the conflict in Ukraine and geopolitical fragmentation, including secondary sanctions, pose threats to activity and investor confidence.

In 2023, the fiscal stance has loosened, witnessing notable rises in investment spending, particularly directed towards transport and energy infrastructure, alongside increased social spending. The consolidated budget deficit was estimated at 1% of GDP, with expected deficits of 1.3% this year and 1.1% in 2025 (IMF). As of 2023, the general government debt accounted for 23.4% of GDP, representing a credit strength. The IMF foresees the ratio to remain stable over the forecast horizon. The government's dedication to fiscal consolidation is encouraging and should be reinforced by adopting more conservative economic forecasts and implementing precise reform strategies. Achieving a reduction in the non-oil deficit to 5% of GDP by 2030 would bolster disinflation efforts and safeguard substantial fiscal reserves (IMF). Inflation, which reached its peak at 21% in February, decreased over the course of the year, averaging 15% by the conclusion of 2023. It is forecasted to gradually ease, reaching 6.7% by 2025.

Unemployment rate remained stable at 4.8% in 2023. The growth of real wages has stabilized after experiencing sharp increases over the past two years. According to IMF estimates, unemployment should remain stable over the projected period. The World Bank's Kazakhstan Economic Update estimates that the country's poverty rate has increased to 12-14% in 2022 from a baseline of 6% in 2016. The government has implemented a substantial amount of direct support to businesses through tax deferrals and subsidized loans, and financial support to poor households and affected individuals.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 225.53260.51296.74312.99327.31
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 11,48613,11714,77815,42615,964
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) 0.1-1.7-2.5-2.0-2.1
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 23.523.024.226.529.2
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) 7.08-9.80-13.29-8.37-10.47
Current Account (in % of GDP) 3.1-3.8-4.5-2.7-3.2

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021

Main Sectors of Industry

Kazakhstan benefits from multiple natural resources, including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromium ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, lead, zinc, bauxite or uranium. The country also has a large agricultural area (ranked 14th world), composed of arable land and pastures. Agriculture suffered from a strong decline in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union, but has recovered in the last 20 years. The sector accounts for 5.2% of GDP and employs 13% of the working population (World Bank latest data available). Agriculture in the country is extensive, but ageing infrastructure limits its development. More than half of the products are vegetable crops (cereals, including wheat, oilseeds, cucurbits). Kazakhstan is one of the world's leading wheat producers. Livestock and dairy industries account for a significant share of the agricultural sector. The country is almost self-sufficient in agri-food. According to governamental figures, in the first eleven months of 2023, the gross agricultural output totaled USD 17.8 billion. Significant yields comprised 16.6 million tons of grains, 2.1 million tons of oilseeds, and 5 million tons of forage crops, guaranteeing abundant provisions for the local market.

The Kazakh industry sector - accounting for 35% of GDP and employing 22% of the working population - comprises diverse subsectors, including oil and gas extraction, mining, metallurgy, chemicals, machinery manufacturing, and agriculture. Kazakhstan is renowned for its significant reserves of oil, natural gas, and minerals, making extraction and processing key industries. The country's metallurgical sector specializes in the production of steel, while chemical industries focus on petrochemicals and fertilizers. Machinery manufacturing encompasses a range of products, from agricultural machinery to industrial equipment. From January to September 2023, industrial production amounted to KZT 33,972.8 billion, with 15,925.1 billion (46.9% of the total volume) generated in the mining industry and 15,890.1 billion (46.8%) in the manufacturing industry (data Kazakh Bureau of National Statistics).

The tertiary sector is the main sector in Kazakhstan and growing steadily. It accounts for 52.6% of GDP and employs 66% of the working population. The financial sector, transport and technology are the main services produced in the country. The tourism sector, although not yet very developed, was experiencing strong growth before the outbreak of the pandemic. Nevertheless, it showed signs of recovery in 2023, when Kazakhstan welcomed 834,900 foreign tourists from January to September, a 37% increase compared to the same period one year earlier (data Kazakh Bureau of National Statistics). In 2023, banks reported strong average capitalization, profitability, and liquidity positions (IMF).

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 15.0 21.2 63.8
Value Added (in % of GDP) 5.2 34.5 52.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) 9.1 3.8 2.6

Source: World Bank, Latest Available Data. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.


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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, labour 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.}}

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: 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 Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2021-2025


Country Risk

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Latest Update: April 2024