Key information

Full name State of Qatar

Capital Doha

Area 11,437 square kilometres

Population 1.8 million

Head of state Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (since June 1995)

Currency Qatari rial

Source: MEED

Qatar is the world’s richest country, with per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $97,967 in 2011, according to the Washington-based IMF.

Hydrocarbon revenues are the mainstay of the economy, accounting for 60 per cent of GDP. The state is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and has the third-largest gas reserves after Russia and Iran, on top of proven oil reserves of 26 billion barrels.

Largest listed companies by market capitalisation*
Qatar National Bank 26
Industries Qatar 20
Ezdan Real Estate Company 16
Qatar Telecom 7.4
Commercial Bank of Qatar 5.6
Masraf al-Rayan 5.5
Qatar Islamic Bank 5.5
Qatar Electricity & Water Company 3.8
Doha Bank 3.6
Barwa Real Estate Company 3.1
*=As of 8 December 2011. Source: Doha Stock Exchange

GDP growth has generally been above 15 per cent over the past six years, but this has eased now the LNG expansion programme has been completed. Growth is expected to slow from 18.7 per cent in 2011 to 6 per cent in 2012.

With developing countries, such as India and China, likely to move from traditional fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives, including natural gas liquids, demand for Qatar’s resources should continue to grow.

GDP by sector, 2010
Mining & quarrying 56
Other services 11
Finance, insurance & real estate 9
Manufacturing 7
Trade, restaurants & hotels 6
Transport & communications 6
Construction 5
GDP =gross domestic product. Source: Qatar National Bank

Despite this, the government has committed to transforming the economy from being heavily reliant on hydrocarbons to being a knowledge-driven one through its National Vision 2030.

According to regional projects tracker MEED Projects, Qatar is the third-largest projects market in the GCC, after Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The total value of projects planned and under way in mid-January was $217.8bn.