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Qatar

 

Qatar is one of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East and is home to the multicultural city of Doha. However, the secular nature of the country hinders the spread of Christianity.

 

Qatar, a former pearl-fishing centre and once one of the poorest Gulf states, is now one of the richest countries in the region, thanks to the exploitation of large oil and gas fields since the 1940s. Dominated by the Al-Thani family for almost 150 years, the mainly barren country was a British protectorate until 1971, when it declared its independence after following suit with Bahrain and refusing to join the United Arab Emirates. In 1995 Crown Prince Hamad bin Khalifa deposed his father to become emir and since then he has introduced some liberal reforms.

POLITICS

Ruling monarch Sheikh Hamad – who became emir when he ousted his father – advocates greater political openness . Elections in 1999 for a 29-member municipal council were the first in which Qatari women were allowed to vote and stand for office.

ECONOMY

Qatar is one of the wealthiest countries in the region because of oil; the government has encouraged diversification. The population is small. Foreigners – including labourers attracted by a construction boom – outnumber natives. Oil money funds an all-embracing welfare state, with many services being free or heavily subsidised. Possessing more than 15% of the world’s proven gas reserves, Qatar has ambitions to become a global energy giant.

INTERNATIONAL

Qatar owns the forthright satellite TV station al-Jazeera which has attracted a growing audience as well the displeasure of some neighbouring states. Press freedom has been extended and the Qatari satellite TV station Al Jazeera has become one of the most important broadcasters in the Arab world.

 

Facts about Qatar
Population
2,479,995 (July 2021 est.)
Capital
Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language
Major language
ArabicMuslim 67.7%, Christian 13.8%, Hindu 13.8%, Buddhist 3.1%, folk religion <.1%, Jewish <.1%, other 0.7%, unaffiliated 0.9% (2010 est.)
Major religion
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 its budget deficit.
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