Country Profile - Kyrgyzstan
Capital and largest cityBishkek
Other citiesJalal-Abad, Osh, Talas, Karakol, Naryn
Area199, 900 km sq
Population5,356,869 (2008 est.)
Like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet country, has kept Russian as its official language. In 1991 it added the Kyrgyz language and became an officially bilingual country. Keeping the Russian language ensured that Russians would feel welcome in the country, and prevent brain drain. The Kyrgyz language was written in Latin upto 1941, when it was replaced by the Cyrillic script. The Russian language was traditionally used in business, however, now, parliamentary meetings take place in Kyrgyz, with simultaneous interpreting for people not fluent in the language.
Kyrgyzstan has had financial backing from the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Fund, but despite these measures its economy is still struggling, following the collapse of the Soviet union. Generally, though, it is dedicated to making the transition to a market economy, and the government's plans of reform in order to stabilise and eventually improve the economy led to the country's acceptance to the WTO in 1998.
The country's GDP is approximately $10.5 billion, and its workforce is mostly in agriculture and then divided between service and industry. Industries include machinery, food processing, textiles and cement, and the country's major natural resource is a wealth of hydropower. Its main trading partners are China, Kazakhstan, Switzerland and Turkey.
With agriculture its key industry, Kazakhstan's mountainous terrain suits itself to the breeding of livestock, as well as growing wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, fruit and vegetables. Metallurgy is an important industry due to the country's resources, and Kazakhstan hopes to promote foreign investment through this field.
Much local trade takes place at kiosks and bazaars, with commodities, for instance, gas, sold in jugs by the road.
Krygyzstan has very limited gas and oil resources, and so is dependant on other countries for these energy sources. However, its many water sources and mountainous landscape means that it is perfectly suited for producing hydropower, and this form of sustainable energy makes up much of Krygyzstan's power supply
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