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According to General Secretariat for Development Planning (2012), Qatar is an absolute monarchy under the rule of Al Thani family from mid-19th century. In accordance with the 2010 census, the population of Qatar stood at 1,699,435, but Audi Saradar Group (2013) estimates the current population to be 2,035,136. With a total area of 11,571 km2, the population density in the country is 176 per sq. km. The location and extent of the country is on the Arabian Peninsula, in Western Asia, and its sole land border is Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the territory is surrounded by Persian Gulf.
Inherently, Qatar has oil and natural gas reserves, which are the main resources in the country; and this fact is responsible for the country topping the worlds richest countries (General Secretariat for Development Planning, 2012).
In 2007-2008 Networked Readiness Index (NRI), Qatar was ranked 32nd. As a result, it is prudent to claim that the country is technologically advanced. Qatar has a full-fledged national plan with regard to ICT initiatives in education, e-government, health care, and infrastructure, as well as deregulation in the telecommunication sector (Al-Jaber & Dutta, 2008). Moreover, Qatar boasts of having the highest penetration rates in telecommunications and the Internet in the region.
GDP Per Capita
The gross domestic product per capita in Qatar in 2010 amounted to US$ 102, 900. In fact, Qatar is classified in the international reports among the countries with the highest income. Notably, the countrys GDP has been on an increasing trend since 2001, when it was US$ 27300, to the current figure of US$ 74900, consequently, attaining an annual growth of 11.9 percent. According to the Statistic Authority (2012), the remarkable increase in GDP is a result of a substantial increase in the production of oil sector, which was augmented by the surging of oil prices.
The current inflation rate amounts to 1.6 percent. Despite the fact that this is in the acceptable range, the country has suffered from high inflation rates in the previous years. Particularly, in the period from 2001 to 2003, the inflation rate witnessed an increase, and similarly, in the period from 2004 to 2008, it escalated further from 6.8 percent to 15.2 percent (General Secretariat for Development Planning, 2012). The increase in inflation rates during this period can be blamed on the increase of demand on housing together with increase in rents as well as food stuff prices. However, the inflation rate retreated in 2009 and 2010 to a record of -4.9 percent. The decrease in inflation is mainly due to the availability of more dwelling together with the decline in the exchange rate of dollar.
Savings and Investment Rates
Currently, the investment rate in Qatar is approximately 39.6 percent. In 2001, the savings and investment rates were 23.4 percent, while in 2008, they amounted to 37.6 percent, and this describes an annual growth rate of 6.8 percent. The increase in the investment rate is mainly attributed to substantial investments experienced by infrastructure projects such as roads, first stage of Doha international airport, constructions, communications, water, drainage, and electricity, as well as various vital sectors like oil and gas over that period (The Statistic Authority, 2012). More importantly, the investment rate is also expected to rise after the execution of various underway projects, which include the Bridge connecting the State with Kingdom of Bahrain, roads, railroad projects, Doha port, Mushaireb project, sports projects, and other projects related to oil and gas.
Currently, the unemployment rates in Qatar stand at about 0.5 percent according to the survey by General Secretariat for Development Planning (2012). The unemployment rates in the country have experienced a remarkable decline over the years. Specifically, in 2001, the employment rate was 3.9, and it has since retreated to 0.5 percent in 2012. The main reason behind the decline is the sound economy together with social changes that Qatar has witnessed over the period, especially in the revival of oil and gas industries and construction. Moreover, the labor ministry program of employing Qataris has also contributed a lot to the decline in unemployment rates through raising levels of the participation rate of the economically active population in total labor force, consequently decreasing unemployment rates.
Labor Force Participation Rate
Essentially, the Qatari labor market is currently approaching a full employment. The labor force participation rate is currently at 99.8 percent and has been this high for quite some time. The reason behind these high rates is the economic boom that the economy of Qatar witnesses in all sectors, which has also attracted a lot of expatriate employees (The Statistic Authority, 2012).
Inherently, Qatar recorded a substantial trade surplus in 2011 of 30.5 percent of the nominal GDP. This is a result of the increase in sales of the additional LNG production, which has consequently boosted the export by 9.8 percent since 2010 (Audi Saradar Group, 2013). Moreover, imports also rose by 15.9 percent. Another substantial current account surplus was achieved in 2011, which increased by QR 2.41 billion from 2010. However, just like in former years, the trade surplus was used to offset a deficit on services and income accounts.
Budget Deficit/ Surplus
The budget surplus exhibited a slow rate progression in 2012/2013 fiscal year, within the context of a plateau in the LNG production along with rising expenditures as the government worked towards maintaining a strong non-hydrocarbon growth and preparations that have been underway for 2022 World Cup (General Secretariat for Development Planning, 2012). Specifically, the Qatars fiscal surplus reached US$ 14.9billion in the fiscal year 2012/2013, which was more than triple the 2011/2012 fiscal year surplus. Notably, the 2013/2014 budget targets US$ 58 billion in expenditures, and as a result, it will be the largest in the history of Qatar and will mainly provide a support to the domestic demand.
Labor Force Discrimination
Labor force discrimination is quite evident in Qatar, especially the gender based discrimination. In fact, in the past decade, the gender gap has been increasing since 2001, when it was 0.6 percent, while in 2011, it was 22.7 percent in favor of males. This is approximately 43.8 percent per annum (General Secretariat for Development Planning, 2012). Mainly, the discrimination is experienced in wages; for instance, females receive less social allowances as compared to their male counterparts, since males are considered to be main responsible persons in the household. Furthermore, women empowerment policies are incapable of directing women to new specializations needed in the labor market such as business management and information technology among others.
Industry with the Majority of employees in Qatar
Oil and gas industry employs the larger percentage of the labor force in Qatar with over 50 percent of employees. This is followed closely by services industry, which employs 43 percent of the work force (The Statistic Authority, 2012). The other main industries include construction, electricity and water, as well as manufacturing.
Currency Exchange Rates
Mainly, the Qatari Riyal is pegged to a fixed exchange rate of USD 1 = QAR 3.64. The upper limit is QAR 3.6415, while the lower limit is QAR 3.685 for the Qatar central banks purchase and sale of dollars within the banks that are operating in Qatar (Audi Saradar Group, 2013).
In conclusion, it is evident that the economy of Qatar is growing. In fact, both the economic and social indicators that have been discussed above show that from 2001 to 2011, the economy has been growing remarkably in all the areas. The growth of the economy can be attributed to the result of a substantial increase in the production of oil sector, which was augmented by the surging of oil prices.