Since 2004, Qatar has been divided into seven municipalities. - 17 ] - - A new municipality, Al Daayen, was created under Resolution No. 13, - 18 ] - - formed from parts of Umm Salal and Al Khawr;at the same time, Al Ghuwariyah was merged with Al Khawr;Al Jumaliyah was merged with Ar Rayyan;and Jarayan al Batnah was split between Ar Rayyan and Al Wakrah.
- Economy -
Economy of Qatar
List of tallest buildings in Doha, Qatar
Qatar's capital, Doha.
Qatar has experienced rapid economic growth over the last several years on the back of high oil prices, and in 2008 posted its eighth consecutive budget surplus. Economic policy is focused on developing Qatar's nonassociated natural gas reserves and increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors, but oil and gas still account for more than 50% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues.
Oil and gas have made Qatar the second highest per-capita income country – following Liechtenstein – and one of the world's fastest growing. Proved oil reserves of 15 billion barrels should enable continued output at current levels for 37 years. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas are nearly 26 trillion cubic meters, about 14% of the world total and third largest in the world.
Before the discovery of oil, the economy of the Qatari region focused on fishing and pearl hunting. After the introduction of the Japanesecultured pearl onto the world market in the 1920s and 1930s, Qatar's pearling industry faltered. However, the discovery of oil, beginning in the 1940s, completely transformed the state's economy. Now the country has a high standard of living, with many social services offered to its citizens and all the amenities of any modern state.
Qatar’s national income primarily derives from oil and natural gasexports. The country has oil reserves of 15 billion barrels (2.4 km³), while gas reserves in the giant North Field (South Pars for Iran) which straddles the border with Iran and are almost as large as the peninsula itself are estimated to be between 80 trillion cubic feet (2,300 km) to 800 trillion cubic feet (23,000 km) (1 trillion cubic feet is equivalent to about 80 million barrels (13,000,000 m) of oil). Qatar is sometimes referred to as the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. Qataris’ wealth and standard of living compare well with those of Western European states;Qatar has the highest GDP per capita in the Arab World according to the International Monetary Fund (2006) - 19 ] - - and the second highest GDP per capita in the world according to the CIA World Factbook. - 10 ] - - With no income tax, Qatar, along with Bahrain, is one of the countries with the lowest tax rates in the world.
Aspire Tower, built for the 2006 Asian Games and located in the Aspire Zone, is visible across Doha
While oil and gas will probably remain the backbone of Qatar’s economy for some time to come, the country seeks to stimulate the private sector and develop a “knowledge economy”. In 2004, it established the Qatar Science &Technology Park to attract and serve technology-based companies and entrepreneurs, from overseas and within Qatar. Qatar also established Education City, which consists of international colleges. For the 15th Asian Games in Doha, it established Doha Sports City, consisting of Khalifa stadium, the Aspire Sports Academy, aquatic centres, exhibition centres and many other sports related buildings and centres. Following the success of the Asian Games, Doha kicked off an official bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in October 2007. - 20 ] - - Qatar also plans to build an "entertainment city" in the future.
Qatar aims to become a role model for economic and social transformation in the region. Large scale investment in all social and economic sectors will also lead to the development of a strong financial market.
The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) provides financial institutions with world class services in investment, marg - no-interest loans, and capital support. These platforms are situated in an economy founded on the development of its hydrocarbons resources, specifically its exportation of petroleum. It has been created with a long term perspective to support the development of Qatar and the wider region, develop local and regional markets, and strengthen the links between the energy based economies and global financial markets.
Apart from Qatar itself, which needs to raise capital to finance projects of more than $130 billion, the QFC also provides a conduit for financial institutions to access nearly $1.0 trillion of investments which stretch across the GCC (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) as a whole over the next decade.
The new town of Lusail, the largest project ever in Qatar, is under construction.
The primary means of transportation in Qatar is by road, due to the very cheap price of petroleum. The country as a result has an advanced road system undergoing vast upgrades in response to the country's rapidly rising population, with several highways undergoing upgrades and new expressways within Doha under construction. A large bus network connects Doha with other towns in the country, and is the primary means of public transportation in the city.
The Salwa International Highway currently connects Doha to the border with Saudi Arabia, and a causeway with both road and rail links to Bahrain at Zubarah is due to begin construction shortly. The causeway will become the largest in the world, and will be the second to connect Bahrain to the Arabian Peninsula.
Currently, no rail networks exist in the country. In November 2009, however, its government signed a $26 billion contract with the German company Deutsche Bahn to construct a railroad system over the next 20 years. The network will connect the country itself, and will include an international link with neighbouring states as part of a larger rail network being constructed across the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. A railway link is also under construction between Qatar and Bahrain as part of the Qatar Bahrain Causeway.
Qatar's main airport is the Doha International Airport, which served almost 15,000,000 passengers in 2007. In comparison, the airport served only 2,000,000 passengers in 1998. As a result of the much larger volumes of passengers flying into an through the country today, the New Doha International Airport is currently under construction, and will replace the existing airport in 2011.
- Climate -
Climate of Qatar
Climate data for Qatar
Month - Jan - Feb - Mar - Apr - May - Jun - Jul - Aug - Sep - Oct - Nov - Dec
Average high °F (°C)
Average low °F (°C)
Precipitation inches (mm)
Source:weather.com - 21 ] - - 2009-10-26
- Environmental issues
Qatar has the highest per-capita carbon dioxide emissions, at 55.5 metric tons per person in 2005. - 22 ] - - This is almost double the next highest per-capita emitting country, which is Kuwait at 30.7 metric tons (2005) and they are three times those of the United States. Qatar has had the highest per-capita carbon dioxide emissions for the past 18 years. These emissions are largely due to high rates of energy use in Qatar. Major uses of energy in Qatar include natural gas processing, water desalination and electricity production. Between 1995 and 2011 the electricity generating capacity of Qatar will have increased to six times the previous level. The fact that Qataris do not have to pay for either their water or electricity supplies is thought to contribute to their high rate of energy use. Despite being a desert state they are also one of the highest consumers of water per capita per day, using around 400 litres. - 23 ] - -
- Geography -
Geography of Qatar
Desert landscape in Qatar
Map of Qatar
The Qatari peninsula juts 100 miles (161 km) north into the Persian Gulf from Saudi Arabia and is slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut, USA. Much of the country consists of a low, barren plain, covered with sand. To the southeast lies the spectacular Khor al Adaid (“Inland Sea”), an area of rolling sand dunes surrounding an inlet of the Persian Gulf. There are mild winters and very hot, humid summers.
The highest point in Qatar is Qurayn Abu al Bawl at 103 metres (338 ft) - 10 ] - - in the Jebel Dukhan to the west, a range of low limestoneoutcroppings running north-south from Zikrit through Umm Bab to the southern border. The Jebel Dukhan area also contains Qatar’s main onshore oil deposits, while the natural gas fields lie offshore, to the northwest of the peninsula.
Islam is the predominant religion, as Muslims constitute 87.6% of the population. - 10 ] - -
Sunni Muslims account for 99% percent of the Muslim population. The majority of non-citizens are from South and Southeast Asian and Arab countries working on temporary employment contracts, accompanied by family members in some cases. Most non-citizens are Sunni or Shi'a Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, or Bahá'ís. Most foreign workers and their families live near the major employment centers of Doha, Al Khor, Mesaieed, and Dukhan.
The Hindu community is almost exclusively Indian, while Buddhists include South, Southeast, and East Asians. Most Bahá'ís in Qatar come from Iran. Religion is not a criterion for citizenship, according to the Nationality Law. However, nearly all Qatari citizens are either Sunni or Shi'a Muslims, except for at least one Christian, a few Bahá'ís, and their respective families who were granted citizenship. ]
No foreign missionary groups operate openly in the country, - 24 ] - - but in 2008 the government allowed some churches to conduct Mass. In March 2008 the first Roman CatholicChurch “Our Lady of the Rosary” was consecrated in Doha. Besides Roman Catholics, there are also some Protestant sects like the Seventh-day Adventist Church. - 25 ] - -
- Population -
Demographics of Qatar
Besides ethnic Arabs, much of the population is made up of expatriates taking up employment in various sectors of the Qatari economy. Arabic serves as the official language. However, English as well as many other languages like Hindi, Pashto, Malayalam, Punjabi, Urdu, Sindhi, Balochi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Tagalog, and Persian are widely spoken in Qatar.
Expatriates form the majority of Qatar’s residents. The petrochemical industry has attracted people from all around the world. Most of the expatriates come from South Asia and from non-oil-rich Arab states. Because a large percentage of the expatriates are male, Qatar has a heavily skewed sex ratio, with 3.46 males per female. - 26 ] - -
In July 2007, the country had a growing population of approximately 907,229 people, - 10 ] - - of whom approximately 350,000 were believed to be citizens. - 27 ] - - Qatari citizens follow the dominant Hanbali branch of Islam practiced in neighboring Saudi Arabia, therefore it is considered to be that among the Persian Gulf states closest to Saudi Arabia culturally.
The majority of the estimated 550,000 non-citizens are individuals from South and South East Asian and Arab countries working on temporary employment contracts in most cases without their accompanying family members. Most foreign workers and their families live near the major employment centers of Doha, Al Khor, Mesaieed, and Dukhan.
Year - Population
1908 est. - 22,000 - 28 ] - -
1939 est. - 28,000 - 28 ] - -
late 1960s - 70,000 - 29 ] - -
1986 - 369,079
1997 - 522,023 - 30 ] - -
2000 - 744,483
2001 - 769,152
2002 - 793,341
2003 - 817,052
2004 - 840,290
2005 - 863,051
2006 - 885,359
2007 - 1,207,229
2008 - 1,524,789 - 10 ] - -
2009 - 1,309,000 - 1 ] - -
- Culture -
Music of Qatar
Qatari culture (music, art, dress, and cuisine) is extremely similar to that of other Arab countries of the Persian Gulf;see Culture of the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. Arab tribes from Saudi Arabia migrated to Qatar and other places in the gulf;therefore, the culture in the Persian Gulf region varies little from country to country.
Qatar explicitly uses Sharia law as the basis of its government, and the vast majority of its citizens follow HanbaliMadhhab. Hanbali (Arabic:حنبلى ) is one of the four schools (Madhhabs) of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam (The other three are Hanafi, Maliki and Shafii). Sunni Muslims believe that all four schools have "correct guidance", and the differences between them lie not in the fundamentals of faith, but in finer judgments and jurisprudence, which are a result of the independent reasoning of the imams and the scholars who followed them. Because their individual methodologies of interpretation and extraction from the primary sources (rusul) were different, they came to different judgments on particular matters. Shi'as comprise around 2% of the Muslim population in Qatar(including foreigners).
- Qatari law
When contrasted with other Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, for instance, Qatar has comparatively liberal laws, but is still not as liberal as some other Arab states of the Persian Gulf like UAE or Bahrain. Qatar is a civil law jurisdiction. However, Shari'a or Islamic law is applied to aspects of family law, inheritance and certain criminal acts. Women can legally drive in Qatar and there is a strong emphasis in equality and human rights brought by Qatar's National Human Rights Committee. Qatar also has the largest fines in the world in terms of traffic violation as per the recent change in 2010.
The country has undergone a period of liberalization and modernisation during the reign of the current Emir, Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who came to power in 1995. The laws of Qatar tolerate alcohol to a certain extent. However, the few bars and nightclubs in Qatar operate only in expensive hotels and clubs, much like in the UAE. Also like in the UAE, Muslims are banned from drinking alcohol. Expatriate residents in Qatar are eligible to receive liquor permits permitting them to purchase alcohol for personal use through Qatar Distribution Company, the only importer and retailer for alcohol in Qatar. Under Qatar's Sharia, it is illegal to show alcohol or be drunk in public.
During the month of Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking in public is strictly banned from dawn to sunset. This also is applied in the UAE.
In common with other Persian Gulf Arab countries, sponsorship laws exist in Qatar. These laws have been widely described as akin to modern-day slavery. The Sponsorship system (Kafeel or Kafala) exists throughout the GCC and means that a worker (not a tourist) may not enter the country without having a kafeel, cannot leave without the kafeel's permission (an Exit Permit must first be awarded by the sponsor, or kafeel), and the sponsor has the right to ban the employee from entering Qatar within 2–5 years of his first departure. Many sponsors do not allow the transfer of one employee to another sponsor. This does not apply to special sponsorship of a Qatar Financial Centre sponsored worker where it is encouraged and regulated that sponsorship should be unhibited and assistance should be given to allow for such transfers of sponsorship.
- Education -
Education in Qatar
Cornell University's Weill Medical College in Qatar
In recent years Qatar has placed great emphasis on education. Citizens are required to attend government provided education from kindergarten through high school. Qatar University was founded in 1973. More recently, with the support of the Qatar Foundation, some major American universities have opened branch campuses in Education City, Qatar. These include
Carnegie Mellon University
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
Texas A&M University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Cornell University’s Weill Cornell Medical College
In 2004, Qatar established the Qatar Science &Technology Park at Education City to link those universities with industry. Education City is also home to a fully accreditedInternational Baccalaureate school, Qatar Academy. Two Canadian institutions, the College of the North Atlantic and the University of Calgary, also operate campuses in Doha. Other for-profit universities have also established campuses in the city. - 33 ] - -
In 2009, the Qatar Foundation launched the World Innovation Summit for Education – WISE – a global forum that brought together education stakeholders, opinion leaders and decision makers from all over the world to discuss educational issues. The first edition was held in Doha, Qatar from 16 to 18 November 2009.
Moreover, in 2007 the American Brookings Institution announced that it was opening the Brookings Doha Center to undertake research and programming on the socio-economic and geo-political issues facing the region.
In November 2002, the Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani created the Supreme Education Council. - 34 ] - - The Council directs and controls education for all ages from the pre-school level through the university level, including the “Education for a New Era” - 35 ] - - reform initiative.
The Emir’s second wife, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, has been instrumental in new education initiatives in Qatar. She chairs the Qatar Foundation, sits on the board of Qatar’s Supreme Education Council, and is a major driving force behind the importation of Western expertise into the education system, particularly at the college level.
There are currently a total of 567 schools in operation within Qatar, both in the public and the private sector. A large number of new schools are also under construction, particularly public schools, in order to meet increased demand which arose as a result of the large increase in population that the country has seen of late. The number of universities operating in the country are 9, serving 12,480 students.
- Health care
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) -affiliated with Cornell University- is the premier non-profithealth care provider in Doha, Qatar. Established by the Emiri decree in 1979, HMC manages four highly specialised hospitals:Hamad General Hospital, Rumailah Hospital, Women’s Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital and the Primary Health Care Centres. These hospitals are quite sophisticated by the standards of the region, with most hosting advanced fMRI and other scanning machines. Most of them have many patients affected by Down syndrome and other mental illnesses caused by the high rate of cousin marriage in the country. Qatar has among the highest rates in the world for obesity, diabetes and genetic disorders. - 36 ] - - Some big clans don’t allow marriage outside their family. - 36 ] - -
- Communications -
Communications in Qatar
Qatar has a modern telecommunication system centered in Doha. Tropospheric scatter to Bahrain;microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and UAE;submarine cable to Bahra - UAE;satellite earth stations – two Intelsat (one Atlantic Ocean and one Indian Ocean) and one Arabsat. Callers can call Qatar using submarine cable, satellite or VoIP. However, Qtel has interfered with VoIP systems in the past, and Skype's website has been blocked before. Following complaints from individuals, the website has been unblocked, and Paltalk has previously been blocked.
Qtel’s ISP branch, Internet Qatar, uses SmartFilter to block websites they deem inappropriate to Qatari interests and morality.
In Qatar, ictQATAR (Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology) is the government agency regulating telecommunication.
Vodafone Qatar, in partnership with the Qatar Foundation, received the second public mobile networks and services license in Qatar on 28 June 2008 and switched on their mobile network on 1 March 2009. They launched 07/07/09, opening their online store first followed by retail and third party distribution locations throughout Doha.
Al Jazeera (Arabic:الجزيرة al-ğazīrä aldʒaˈziːra - , “The Peninsula”) is a television network headquartered in Doha, Qatar. Al Jazeera initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel of the same name, but has since expanded into a network of several specialty TV channels. Print media is going through expansion, with over three English dailies and Arabic titles. Qatar Today is the only monthly business magazine in the country. It is published by Oryx Advertising, which is the largest magazine publisher in Qatar. The group also publishes several titles such as Qatar Al Youm , the only monthly business magazine in Qatar in Arabic language, Woman Today , the only magazine for working women, and GLAM , - 37 ] - - the only fashion magazine. In December 2009 Oryx launched T Qatar :The New York Times Style Magazine, - 38 ] - - which marks the entry of an international magazine into Qatar.
- Human rights -
Human rights in Qatar
Qatar is a destination country for men and women from South and Southeast Asia who migrate willingly, but are subsequently trafficked into involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers, and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation;the most common offence was forcing workers to accept worse contract terms than those under which they were recruited;other conditions include bonded labor, withholding of pay, restrictions on movement, arbitrary detention, and physical, mental, and sexual abuse. - 10 ] - -
According to the Trafficking in Persons Report by the US State Department, men and women who are lured into Qatar by promises of high wages are often forced into underpaid labor. Many of these people are commonly known as peasants. The report states that Qatari laws against forced labour are rarely enforced and that labour laws often result in the detention of victims in deportation centres, pending the completion of legal proceedings. The report places Qatar at tier 3, as one of the countries that neither satisfies the minimum standards nor demonstrates significant efforts to come into compliance. - 39 ] - - - 40 ] - -
The government maintains that it is setting the benchmark when it comes to human rights - 41 ] - - and treatment of labourers.
Qatari contracting agency Barwa is constructing a residential area for laborers known as Barwa Al Baraha, also called Workers City. The project was launched after a recent scandal in Dubai's Labor camps. The project aims to provide a reasonable standard of living as defined by the new Human Rights Legislation. - 42 ] - - The Barwa Al Baraha will cost around $1.1 billion and will be a completely integrated city in the industrial area in Doha. Along with 4.25 square meters of living space per person, the residential project will provide parks, recreational areas, malls, and shops for labourers. Phase one of the project was set to be completed at the end of 2008, and the project itself will be completed by the middle of 2010.
- International Rankings -
International rankings of Qatar
Organization - Survey - Ranking
Institute for Economics and Peace 4 - Global Peace Index - 44 ] - - 16 out of 144
United Nations Development Programme - Human Development Index - 33 out of 182
Transparency International - Corruption Perceptions Index - 22 out of 180
World Economic Forum - Global Competitiveness Report - 22 out of 133
- See also -
Outline of Qatar
North Dome Gas Field
Natural Gas in Qatar
2006 Asian Games in Doha
Al Jazeera television
Communications in Qatar
Foreign relations of Qatar
List of cities in Qatar
List of Qatar-related topics
Military of Qatar
Public holidays in Qatar
Scouting and Guiding
Transport in Qatar
Politics of Qatar
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
General Secretariat for Development Planning
Permanent Population Committee
This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document Qatar.
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