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Ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-1800s, Qatar within the last 60 years transformed itself from a poor British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into an independent state with significant oil and natural gas revenues. The continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenue through the mid-1990s by Qatari amirs permanently residing in Europe had stunted Qatar’s economic growth. Former amir HAMAD bin Khalifa Al Thani, who overthrew his father in a bloodless coup in 1995, ushered in wide-sweeping political and media reforms, unprecedented economic investment, and a growing Qatari regional leadership role, in part through the creation of the pan-Arab satellite news network Al-Jazeera and Qatar's mediation of some regional conflicts. In the 2000s, Qatar resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and by 2007 had attained the highest per capita income in the world. Qatar did not experience domestic unrest or violence like that seen in other Near Eastern and North African countries in 2010-11, due in part to its immense wealth. Since the outbreak of regional unrest, however, Doha has prided itself on its support for many of these popular revolutions, particularly in Libya and Syria, although to the detriment of Qatar’s relations with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which temporarily recalled their respective ambassadors from Qatar. In mid-2013, HAMAD transferred power to his 33 year-old son, the current Amir TAMIM bin Hamad - a peaceful abdication rare in the history of Arab Gulf states. TAMIM oversaw a warming of Qatar’s relations with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE by later in 2014 and prioritized improving the domestic welfare of Qataris, including establishing advanced healthcare and education systems and expanding the country's infrastructure in anticipation of Doha's hosting of the 2022 World Cup.


Middle East, peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia

Natural Resources

petroleum, natural gas, fish

Population - distribution

most of the population is clustered in or around the capital of Doha on the eastern side of the peninsula

Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language
DOHA (capital) 718,000 (2015)
Conventional long form
State of Qatar
Conventional short form
Local long form
Dawlat Qatar
Local short form
absolute monarchy
Geographic coordinates
25 17 N, 51 32 E
Time difference
UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Qatar’s oil and natural gas resources are the country’s main economic engine and government revenue source, driving Qatar’s high economic growth and per capita income levels, robust state spending on public entitlements, and booming construction spending, particularly as Qatar prepares to host the World Cup in 2022. Although the government has maintained high capital spending levels for ongoing infrastructure projects, low oil and natural gas prices in recent years have led the Qatari Government to tighten some spending to help stem a $12 billion budget deficit in 2016 - 7.8% of GDP.
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -8,324,450,549
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 63,475,274,725
Exports of goods and services
US$ 72,397,252,747
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 773,901,099
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 14,549,725,275
fruits, vegetables; poultry, dairy products, beef; fish
liquefied natural gas, crude oil production and refining, ammonia, fertilizer, petrochemicals, steel reinforcing bars, cement, commercial ship repair
liquefied natural gas (LNG), petroleum products, fertilizers, steel
Japan 25.4%, India 14.6%, China 8.4%, UAE 6.8%, Singapore 5.6%, UK 5.5%, Thailand 4.2% (2015)
machinery and transport equipment, food, chemicals
China 11.9%, US 11.3%, UAE 9%, Germany 7.7%, Japan 6.7%, UK 5.9%, Italy 4.6%, Saudi Arabia 4.4% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
A somewhat shaky political and economic outlook and a relatively volatile business environment can affect corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is still acceptable on average.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is relatively good. Although not always available, corporate financial information is usually reliable. Debt collection and the institutional framework may have some shortcomings. Intercompany transactions may run into occasional difficulties in the otherwise secure environments rated A3.
  • Third largest gas reserves in the world and the largest exporter in the world of liquefied natural gas (LNG)
  • Advance diversification well under way (infrastructures, industry, finance, tourism)
  • Position as a net external creditor, due to the size of its financial assets abroad (mainly held by the sovereign fund Qatar Investment Authority)
  • Stability of the regime of the new emir Tamim bin  Hamad al- Thani
  • Dependency on the hydrocarbon sector uncertainties concerning changes to the price of natural gas, particularly due to the impact of the boom in unconventional gas.
  • Business climate could be better
  • Dependency on foreign labor
  • Risk of overcapacity in matters of investment
  • Geopolitical challenges at the regional level

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