In the period preceding the economic exploitation of oil fields, which took place at the end of the 1940s, the economy of Qatar was essentially based on the breeding of camels, fishing and the collection of pearls. With the extraction of oil, initially entrusted to European and American companies then nationalized, and, later, with the exploitation of natural gas fields, the country in a few decades has become one of the richest in the world. The national GDP is US $ 102,302 million (2008) and that per capita US $ 93,204 (2008), the highest in all of Asia. Economic growth is constant and, thanks to the positive assessments of international organizations, the country continues to attract foreign investments. The government, which pursues a careful policy of controlling the flows of foreign money, attracted to Qatar by tax exemptions and various kinds of facilitations, has embarked on an ambitious economic strengthening program aimed at creating alternative sources of income to oil. More specifically, the development plans have tended to form the basis of an industrial economy flanked by agriculture capable of ensuring internal food needs; among the priority objectives are the construction of additional plants for the desalination of sea water and the production of electricity, the enhancement of tourism, the enhancement of communications and transport, as well as construction, with particular attention to school and hospital. However, the repercussions of the 1986 oil counter-shock forced a review of economic development projects. Thus, those aimed at consolidating heavy industry (through increased exploitation of gas), at expanding the presence of individuals in the economy and at the contextual expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises have emerged. In addition to the increase in investments in the agricultural sector, measures have been added to favor the extension of crops and to guarantee the necessary water supply. § Breeding (sheep, goats and camels) continues to maintain a certain role in export while fishing is in decline. § The secondary sector is largely linked to the exploitation of oil and natural gas fields. The first oil extractions were carried out in 1949 from the Dukhān field, today connected to Umm Said with two oil pipelines.
In practice, however, mining became prominent in the country’s economy only in the 1970s: since 1977, Qatar, with subsequent acquisitions of the majority shareholdings of the mining companies operating in the country (the Shell Company of Qatar and the Qatar Petroleum Company), in fact, holds the entire control of the national oil sector. Programs were also implemented to enhance the natural gas fields, extracted in Dukhān and conveyed by methane pipeline to Doha, where it is used as a fuel for the production of electricity and to operate the seawater desalination plant. Not only that: the offshore fieldof North Field, whose exploitation began in the 1990s, is among the largest in the world among those not associated with oil and makes Qatar the third country in the world for natural gas reserves as well as one of the largest producers. Industrial development is also important: a refinery, a gigantic petrochemical complex, a steel plant have been set up in Umm Said; a cement factory and an aluminum production plant were set up in Umm Bab. State and foreign funding have made it possible to achieve significant results in research on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and to develop a specialized industry in the sector. Other industries present are the small food establishments in Doha and Umm Bab. As part of the diversification process of economy the country has invested since the end of the twentieth century. on the tourism sector, with the creation of the Qatar Tourism Authority, a body aimed at promoting naturalistic sites and places of public interest. The country has also equipped itself with infrastructures dedicated to hosting international conferences and sporting events of international significance. § As for the communication routes, the approx. 1000 km of road arteries that connect Dukhān, Doha and Umm Said with the small towns of northern Qatar, plus the trunk (approx. 100 km) that leads from Doha to As Salwá, at the southwestern end of the country, and from there connects with the Saudi Arabian network, in particular with the road that starting from Al-Hufūf it crosses the entire Arabian Peninsula as far as the Red Sea; in addition, a coastal highway was built jointly with Abu Dhabi, involving all the states of the Persian Gulf.
Doha is the capital of Qatar, a country starting with Q according to Countryaah.com. The capital’s international airport is able to accommodate the largest airliners; Doha is also home to one of the largest ports in the country, alongside that of Umm Said. The political agenda also provides for an expansion of infrastructures in the coming decades: in particular, the construction of a bridge that would connect Qatar to Bahrain, the new Doha airport and an entire artificial island (the Pearl of the Gulf) of 400 hectares. Foreign trade is represented, as far as exports are concerned, mostly by oil and gas liquefied natural; for the remainder, chemicals and petrochemicals prevail. Imports concern practically all kinds of manufactured goods, in particular food and industrial products. The trade balance is positive: exports are mostly directed to other Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand while goods are imported mainly from the European Union (France, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, etc.), Japan, the United States and South Korea.