The capital of the country is Astana, the third-largest city following Almaty and Symkent. As of 2017, Kazakhstan reports a little over 18 million inhabitants, and its population is slowly but steadily increasing; evident in the rising fertility rate and a stable population growth rate.
The Kazakh economy is quite strong; it has one of the highest rate of GDP growth in the world and GDP is projected to increase again after a slump in 2016. Kazakhstan is one of the world’s leading exporters of grains including barley, wheat, flour and wheat products, and rye. Kazakhstan is also the world’s largest uranium producer. China, one of Kazakhstan’s bordering countries, is one of Kazakhstan’s most important import partners as well as one of its main export partners. France, Russia, and Germany are also trade partners with Kazakhstan. The trade balance shows a surplus, further indicating the positive economic condition of the country.
Regarding the Kazakh workforce, the employment share of the industrial sector and the services sector are slightly increasing while the employment figures for the agricultural sector have decreased by ten percent in the last decade. The unemployment rate is relatively low and expected to remain stable over the next few years. Due to its strong economy, the country has also been able to reduce its debt. Currently, in 2017, Kazakhstan is among the 20 countries with the lowest national debt in relation to gross domestic product (GDP).