Ruled by the al-Thani family since the mid-1800s, Qatar transformed itself from a poor British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into an independent state with significant oil and natural gas revenues. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Qatari economy was crippled by a continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenues by the Amir, who had ruled the country since 1972. His son, the current Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa al-Thani, overthrew him in a bloodless coup in 1995. In 2001, Qatar resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Oil and natural gas revenues enable Qatar to have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.


Location: Middle East, peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 25 30 N, 51 15 E
Population: 1,951,591 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 21.8% (male 95,240/female 89,446)

15-64 years: 76.7% (male 460,673/female 189,914)

65 years and over: 1.5% (male 7,311/female 5,432) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: State of Qatar

conventional short form: Qatar

local long form: Dawlat Qatar

local short form: Qatar

note: closest approximation of the native pronunciation falls between cutter and gutter, but not like guitar

Government type: emirate
Telephones – main lines in use: 298,100 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 2.329 million (2009)
Airports: 6 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 4

over 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)

Military branches: Qatari Amiri Land Force (QALF), Qatari Amiri Navy (QAN), Qatari Amiri Air Force (QAAF) (2012)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)


Qatar is in the midst of an economic boom supported by its expanding production of natural gas and oil. Economic policy is focused on development of Qatar’s non-associated natural gas reserves and increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors. Oil and gas account for more than 60% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. Oil and gas have made Qatar one of the world’s faster growing and higher per-capita income countries – equal to the EU in 2007 per-capita income. Sustained high oil prices and increased natural gas exports in recent years have helped build Qatar’s budget and trade surpluses and foreign reserves.


Proved oil reserves of more than 15 billion barrels should ensure continued output at current levels for 22 years. Qatar’s proved reserves of natural gas are roughly 25 trillion cubic meters, about 15% of the world total and third largest in the world. Qatar has permitted substantial foreign investment in the development of its gas fields during the last decade and became the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter in 2007.

Transnational Issues:

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 labourers, and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation; the most common offense was forcing workers to accept worse contract terms than those under which they were recruited; other conditions include bonded labour, withholding of pay, restrictions on movement, arbitrary detention, and physical, mental, and sexual abuse


tier rating: Tier 3 – Qatar’s rating was downgraded to Tier 3 in the 2007 report for continuing to detain and deport victims rather than providing them protection; the government also failed to increase prosecutions for trafficking in a meaningful way in 2006; workers complaining of working conditions or non-payment of wages were sometimes prosecuted under false charges in retaliation