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macrohistory & world report

Qatar

map of Qatar and neighboring states of the Gulf region

Qatar and neighboring states in the Persian Gulf region

World Factbook as of October 2014: Qatar has prospered in the last several years with continued high real GDP growth. Throughout the financial crisis Qatari authorities sought to protect the local banking sector, with direct investments into domestic banks. GDP is driven largely by changes in oil prices and by investment in the energy sector. 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 50% of government revenues. Oil and gas have made Qatar the world's highest per-capita income country and the country with the lowest unemployment. Proved oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels should enable continued output at current levels for about 57 years."

Real economic growth rate
2013: 5.5%
2012: 8.1%
2011: 13.1%

March 2012: Qatar's small population to the amount of oil its sells puts it at the top in per capita wealth – more than twice the per capita wealth of the United States.

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2005: 10%

People

Living in an urban area: 96%

Qatar gives its people free health care.

Literacy, Age 15 and Older
2004: Males 89.1%, females 88.6%.

Education
Free education, and attended by women. Qatar University was founded in 1973. Major American universities have opened branch campuses: Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Texas A&M University, VirGINIa Commonwealth University, and Cornell University's Weill Medical College.

Religion and Dress
2004: 77.5% Muslim, 90% of whom are Sunni, 10% Shia. For women visiting from abroad not wishing to offend, modesty in dress is advised.

Geography

Peninsula in the Persian Gulf, bordering Saudi Arabia. Approximately 128 by 64 kilometers, or 80 by 40 miles. Capital: Doha.

Government

The ruling monarch's title is "Emir." He has an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George from the United Kingdom, and he is a Grand Officier of the Légion d'honneur, from France.

Qatar has Sharia law in which, according to Answers.com, public consumption is illegal during Ramadan and the use of alcohol is restricted.

Al Jazeera

The Qatari satellite television station, Al Jazeera, is a leading broadcaster in the Arab world.

Recent History

In 1995, then Crown Prince Hamad bin Khalifa deposed his father in a bloodless coup. Since then he has introduced liberal reforms.

In 1999, elections for a 29-member municipal council allowed women to vote and stand for office for the first time.

Qatar offered the US millitary territory for a headquarters during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Also, it has been a large funder of Hamas.

Despite the prevalence of anti-Israel sentiment within the Arab world, the Emir met with Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tzipi Livni, in New York in 2007, (You Tube) marking the first real attempt by any leader in the Persian Gulf to pursue dialogue with Israel.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.