Kazakhstan, Astana, Dec. 14 / Tend's D. Mukhtarov /
The Kazakh population has grown to 17 million people, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said today at a meeting dedicated to the 21st anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence.
"The population has increased from 14 to 17 million people, life expectancy has been at 70 for the last 15 years," Nazarbayev said.
He said that expenditures on education increased by 9.5 times during the past 15 years. Around 942 schools, 758 hospitals and other health care facilities have been built throughout the country since 1997.
"This is an exceptional historic victory that has never before been observed on our land," the president said.
"The country was able to achieve income growth of 16 times what it was; the average monthly salary increased by 9.3 times, and the amount of pension payments increased tenfold during the 15 year period, he said.
Health financing in 2011 amounted to 631 billion Tenge, maternal mortality decreased almost three-fold, fertility increased by 1.5-fold in 2011.
"Around $160 billion of foreign investments have been made in the past 15 years," he said. "The country's Gold and foreign exchange reserves, including accumulations in the National Fund, amounted to 87 billion, or more than 40 percent of our country's GDP."
He recalled that according to the World Economic Forum, Kazakhstan ranked 51st of 144 countries in 2012.
"We are very close to our goal," he said. "As of 2012, we will have joined 50 largest economies in the world in terms of GDP."