Today I'm letting myself easier off the hook and casually drop few lines from the comfort of my favorite subject - online research & market data collection. Say somebody from work comes to you and says: "Yes, but have you thought about Kazakhstan?"
Surely you have a country study content you're trying to fill in with information, as much as possible from free research.
If you're relatively new to this subject, you need a structured source for making your acquaintance of each new geographical entity you're starting to chart.
The almanac-style source I use for this initial contact gives you online, free of charge access to aggregated, standardized data ranging from geography, people, government, economy, up to communications, transportation ...and well, military, if that's of any relevance for your services.
It's called The World Factbook and it's a CIA publication, weekly updated, that can give you just the right context to start your studies.
The Economy section, which is the most relevant for my quests, starts with an overview and includes lots of info, such as:
- GDP for 2011 and its YoY evolution,
- Sectors' contribution to GDP [agriculture / industry / services],
- Labor force and its distribution per agriculture / industry / services,
- Unemployment rate for the last 2 years,
- Inflation rate,
- Public debt,
- …and all sorts of country comparisons to the world based on the above variables.
Plus you see what are the industries present there, the exported / imported commodities and the value of exports or imports.
Quite educational resource, don't you think?