• 9 things to know about Qatar, the world's richest country

    By: Fiza Pirani, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    The small Middle Eastern state of Qatar, which borders the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, is in the middle of a regional crisis amid accusations of supporting terrorist groups.

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    Here are nine things to know about the small, energy-rich country of Qatar:

    There are way more men than women — and way more foreigners than Qatar-born residents.

    Qatar is home to approximately 2.7 million residents and, according to BBC.com, that number includes less than 700,000 women.

    The extreme disparity is primarily due to the fact that Qatar, like many other countries in the region, attracted many male migrant workers from South Asia following its oil boom in the 1970s.

    In addition, foreign migrants amount to about 88 percent of the total population.

    Qatar used to be one of the poorest Gulf states, until the oil boom.

    Before World War II, Qatar was one of the world’s poorest and smallest nations — its main source of revenue came from pearling and fishing.

    But as oil reserves were discovered and developed in the 1940s, the country and its high per capita incomes became more and more attractive to expatriates. 

    Migrants (mostly from South Asia) changed everything — now making up about 94 percent of Qatar’s workforce, The Guardian reported.

    Today, Qatar has one of the world’s largest reserves of oil and natural gas and is one of the richest countries in the world.

    It is considered an absolute monarchy.

    Qatar is a monarchy headed by the emir, who is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The current emir is Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, who took over the role from his father in June 2013.

     

    The nation has been ruled by the Al-Thani family since the mid-19th century.

    While the emir has all executive authority, Qatar nominally follows the belief that people are the source of power, with its government based on the separation of powers through an executive council of ministers, legislative advisory council and judicial courts of law. However, the emir directly appoints all executive and legislative officials and all laws must be approved by him, having repeatedly delayed the direct elections called for under the constitution. 

    According to the national constitution established in 2005, Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab state with a democratic political system in which Sharia law is the main source of legislation.

    Qatar is home to some big-name companies.

    Read more here.

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