|Qatar, a small country with a dynamic economy|
Qatar is a small country with an area equivalent to the Spanish region of Asturias, and is governed by Sheikhs with a population of almost two million. It has a highly dynamic economy and a growth in GDP of more than 6% (although due to the production and export in recent years of liquefied natural gas, GDP has risen by more than 15% for the last few years). The development of the country will accelerate over the next few years due to the investment of more than USD 60 billion in hotel, road, rail, port and airport projects necessary for organising the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
According to the latest Economist Intelligence Unit report (May 2011) the GDP per capita of Qatar in 2011 was estimated at more than 75,000 dollars (the highest of all the countries in the GCC – Gulf Cooperation Council), which places Qatar among those countries with the highest gross income per inhabitant in terms of purchasing power parity in the world. This indicator clearly illustrates the economic progress experienced by the country in recent years.
In 2011 the population of Qatar was 1.8 million (according to EIU estimates), with a constant annual growth rate due to the significant number of immigrants arriving in the country from south Asian countries. The Qatari-born population amounts to 221,000 inhabitants, representing 13% of the total population. The latest estimates indicate an annual growth of around 6% of the total population, peaking to 17.9% in 2007. 95.4% of the population live in urban areas, principally in Doha (the political capital of the State) and its principal suburb, Al-Rayyan. Apart from Doha, other urban nuclei are: Al Wakrah, Al Khor, Dukhan, Al Shamal, Mesaieed and Ras Laffan.
With respect to the working population in Qatar, there is a higher rate of activity among foreigners than among the local population, 71.45% as opposed to 25.98%. Men constitute 75.7% of the working population while women account for the remaining 24.3%. According to data published by the Qatar Statistics Authority, 21.8% of the population is aged between 0 and 14 years, 76.7% is aged between 15 and 64 and the remaining 1.5% is over 65 years of age.
Qatar is a constitutional monarchy with the traditional separation of powers and where sovereignty is vested in the Qatari people. With regard to foreign policy, Qatar is a country with a high international profile despite being a small state in terms of size and population.