Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Better Know A Country, Kyrgyzstan

First in my series of "better know a..."  is Kyrgyzstan.  The tiny little country of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia is just north of Afghanistan and wedged between China and the former Soviet Union countries of  Kazakhstan [awesome potassium!], Uzbekistan & Tajikistan.  It's capital is Bishkek, in the north central part of this country that is not even 700 miles long and 250 miles wide.  At just under 200,000 square kilometers, it's 25% smaller than the UK (243K sqr km), or about 2% bugger than Syria (185K sqr km). 

Kyrgyzstan has the world's largest natural-growth walnut forest - I did not know that!  94% of the country is 1,000 m above sea level with an average elevation of 2,750 m.  Languages spoken there include Kyrgyz (official) 64.7%, Uzbek 13.6%, Russian (official) 12.5%, and about 9% of the population speak "other" languages. 

Kyrgyzstan is a poor, mountainous country with a dominant agricultural sector. Cotton, tobacco, wool, and meat are the main agricultural products, although only tobacco and cotton are exported in any quantity. Industrial exports include gold, mercury, uranium (such clean minerals to mine!!!), natural gas, and electricity. The economy depends heavily on gold exports - mainly from output at the Kumtor gold mine. Following independence, Kyrgyzstan was progressive in carrying out market reforms, such as an improved regulatory system and land reform. Kyrgyzstan was the first Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) country to be accepted into the World Trade Organization.

The literacy rate in  Kyrgyzstan is supposedly over 93%, but there's not a whole lot of internet connectivity, so I can understand how there's been no hits to JustJoeP from this tiny country of 5.5 million people.  

For more info, you can read here, all about Kyrgyzstan (link here).

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