Qatar is a country located in a peninsula at the Persian Gulf, in the Middle East, with borders with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The country has an extremely arid territory, with virtually no natural vegetation, and the highest regions are only 40 meters high. Agricultural activities are rather damaged due to the soil’s low fertility, so most of the food consumed in the country is imported.
Immigrants, one of the highest rates in the world, form approximately 75% of the population. Until the end of the 1940s the country was very poor and its economic activities were limited to camel breeding and fishery. With the discovery and the subsequent exploitation of vast oil fields, the country obtained huge economic advance. At present, there are investments on heavy industry and on natural gas extraction, as an alternative to the oil production, since the fields are expected to deplete still in this century. As a preventive economic measure, the Qatari government has heavily invested its petrodollars on the international financial market, aiming to secure its future for when the oil reserves are down.
National Flag: the white color represents peace, the burgundy is a reference to the blood spilled during the many wars involving the country, and the nine points saw tooth line indicates that Qatar is the ninth member of the reconciled Emirates.
Data on Qatar:
Territorial extension: 11.000 km²
Location: Middle East
Most populous city: Doha
Climate: tropical arid
Emir: Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani
First Minister: Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani
Independency: From the United Kingdom
Date: September 3rd 1971
Administrative Division: 7 municipalities
Religion: Islamism 82,7%, Christianity 10,4%, others 4,6%, no religion 2,3%
Population: 1.409.423 inhabitants. (men: 1.062.942; women: 346.481)
Ethnical composition: Qatari Arabs 25%, other Arabs 15%, Pakistani 18%, Indians 18%, Iranians 10%, other 14%
Demographical density: 72 inhabitants/km²
Population growth annual average rate: 5,11%
Population residing in urban areas: 95,76%
Population residing in rural areas: 4,24%
Life expectancy at birth: 75,3 years
Homes with access to drinking water: 100%
Homes with access to sanitation: 100%
Human Development Index (HDI): 0,803 (very high)
Currency: Qatari Riyal
Gross Internal Product (GIP): US$ 63.870 million
GIP per capita: US$ 75.978
Extension: 11 437 km² (159.º)
Border: Saudi Arabia
The Qatari government is an absolute monarchy. In an innovative attitude in the Arab world, the Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, 62 years of age, renounced the throne in June 2013, in favor of his son, Prince Heir Tamim, to give room to the new generation. Today, Qatar’s Emir is Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The new Emir is very beloved by his people and there are pictures of him and his father in many places. At the time, Sheik Hamad declared on a TV announcement: “I am convinced that Tamim will place the country’s interests and the prosperity of its people above everything else “.
Sheik Hamad’s abdication is a singular fact in Qatar and in the recent history of the Arab world, where until now no sovereign had ever renounced power voluntarily. He had taken over the throne in 1995, after a revolution in the palace. The new Emir is 34 years old and he is the youngest sovereign of the Persian Gulf monarchies.
A bit of the history and importance of Sheik Hamad:
He threw down his father, Sheik Khalifa, in June 27th 1995, during a revolution inside the palace and inherited a small Emirate, almost unknown, with nearly empty vaults. In 18 years, Qatar has become the richest country in the world, with a GDP per capita of 86.440 dollars in 2011, according to the World Bank, and has become an important protagonist in the Arab world. Qatar is being ruled by a single-family absolute monarchy for more than 130 years. Arab and Western diplomats say they understand that the reason for the resignation being the Emir’s desire to make a peaceful transition for a younger generation. Such transition is unusual for the Persian Gulf States, where leaders generally die in their posts. Sheik Tamim bin Khalifa Al Thani is the Emir’s second son with his second wife, Mozah. Educated in Great Britain’s most exclusive military academies, the Prince Heir is a sports fanatic and he has two wives and six children. Tamin is the Sub captain of the Army Force and President of the Local International Olympic Committee, the body responsible for the organization of the 2022 World Cup.
How did the power transference to his son go?
On the last three years, the Emir had started the transition process, trusting responsibilities in the military area to his son. Hamad has used Qatar’s vast gas reserves to propel the country’s modernization. Despite the transference, the Emir still maintains an influential role in the government. Qatar State is geographically small, with two million people, but it is the major exporter of liquefied natural gas, a global investment potency and a growing force in the international media. The small State of the Persian Gulf has the third biggest natural gas reserve in the world and produces 77 million tons of gas per year.
Qatar Foundation’s trademark is featured on the shirt of one of the biggest clubs in the world, Barcelona.
The non-profit organization was founded by the country’s monarch at the time, Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, in 1995 and it is presided by Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, his second wife. The foundation’s mission is to improve the educational system and expand research in Qatar. The institution’s campus occupies 15 million square meters and shelters a school covering primary and high school education, a bilingual school, another internal school in partnership with the Army Forces, a support center for students with learning difficulties, a preparation for university course and a faculty of Islamic Studies. In the fall of 2003, the Qatar Foundation has launched the City of E ducation, a prototypical campus of the future, bringing renowned international universities’ branches to Qatar, to provide high-level graduation programs, research sharing and the establishment of enterprises in the community.
A bit more about Sheikha Mozah, the second of three wives of Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and mother of Qatar’s present Emir. Amid the renewed hope and progress of Qatar’s recovering economy, Sheikha Mozza is an elegant woman and a visionary, pressing ahead with ambitious initiatives directed at women, children and education. Extremely concerned with the directions of world education, children’s and women’s rights, she actively works in the struggle against domestic violence, to improve children’s labor and to give the disabled more access to jobs. To stop the spread of extremism among youth, this mother of seven is leading programs in and around Qatar to improve education and increase employment opportunities for young people. A new hi-tech women and children’s reference hospital, the Sidra Medical and Research Centre, is the beneficiary of her $7.9 billion endowment. Sheikha Moza is also active on the international stage, spearheading projects to promote peace and human development throughout the world. The idea is to transform Qatar in a world reference center for education.