The tenge is the official currency of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It can be subdivided into 100 tiin, but all tiin-denominated currencies were removed from circulation by 2001. The tenge was introduced in 1993 to replace the Soviet ruble after the fall of the Soviet Union. The name of the currency derives from a Turkish root word common in Central Asian languages that means a set of scales for measuring weight. The Kazakhstani tenge is issued by the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the nation’s central bank.
The first currency used by the Kazakh people was Turkish coinage introduced over 2000 years ago. This was followed by Mongol currency in later centuries and finally, by Russian currency in the 20th century. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the tenge was developed as the nation’s first national currency. The tenge was one of the last currencies to be issued by a former republic of the Soviet Union. While many CIS nations developed their central banks before declaring independence between 1990 and 1991, Kazakhstan waited a full two years to establish their central bank and issue currency. The tenge began circulation on 15 November 1993, and the date remains a national holiday. The symbol for the tenge was not developed and put into use until 2007.
The National Bank of Kazakhstan was established in 1993 as the top tier of a two-tiered banking system with the bottom tier being composed of commercial banks and other financial institutions. The primary function of the National Bank is to ensure price stability within the nation. This is accomplished by controlling the issuing of currency, developing national monetary policy and regulating foreign currency exchange.
Kazakhstan has a progressive economy that is anchored in large oil reserves that were discovered in the early 2000s. These oil reserves are set to make Kazakhstan one of the top ten oil-producers in the world by 2015. In the first decade of this century, GDP growth has ranged from 8.9 percent to 13.5 percent. Kazakhstan is considered the leading power in Central Asia, both economically and politically. The nation was the first of the former Soviet Republics to repay its debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), doing so seven years ahead of schedule. Additionally, the Kazakhstani banking system is the most developed in the region, and an influx of investment capital has been pouring into the country since 2002.