Although Kazakstan has the potential to be a wealthy nation, since independence it has suffered consistent and precipitous economic decline. Reporting problems and incompatibility of data make precise measurement of the republic's economic shrinkage difficult, but it is generally accepted that, by the mid-1990s, GDP had dropped to about half of what it was in 1990 (see table 6, Appendix). Despite the presence of rich deposits of natural resources, the republic's industrial sector was developed in the Soviet period only in specific areas such as metal processing, chemicals, textiles, and food processing. The semiarid condition of much of Kazakstan's territory does not preclude the export of wheat, meat, and some vegetables.
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