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Kazakhstan: Making the Most of Its Oil Wealth

Wednesday 17 August 2011

(IMF) – Oil plays a big role in Kazakhstan. With nearly 40 billion barrels in reserves and 2% of global production, the country has the world’s ninth largest proven reserves and is among the 20 largest oil producers.

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In 2010, the oil sector accounted for more than 11% of GDP, and oil exports represented nearly 57% of total exports of goods and services.

With major new discoveries in recent years and the development, notably, of the Kashagan oil field in the northern part of the Caspian Sea, oil will continue to attract major investments and act as a main driver of the country’s growth. Kazakhstan, located in Central Asia, is the world’s largest landlocked country.

A new IMF study finds that a key challenge for the government is to ensure that the benefits from oil wealth are shared by the population as a whole. In an interview, Ana Lucia Coronel (IMF Mission Chief for Kazakhstan) and Narayanan Raman (Economist in the IMF’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department) spoke about what oil wealth means for Kazakhstan’s development.

In short:

  • The oil sector has lifted growth and improved well-being
  • But oil activity has only limited spillovers on other economic sectors
  • Diversification can help buffer against oil shocks, spur job creation

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