A Look at Qatar – The World’s Richest Country

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Thinking of relocating and want something totally different than what you may be used to? Consider Qatar, now the world’s richest country where electricity, water and health care are free for citizens.

According to Arabian Business, the small, oil-rich Middle East nation of Qatar recently beat out previous leader Luxembourg for the world’s highest per capita Gross Domestic Product. Data from the International Monetary Fund indicates that Qatar’s GDP per capita stands at $88,221 and could rise to $111,963 by 2016.

Qatar is a country of 850,000 to 1.7 million, depending on which estimate you accept. It has only been independent since 1971 and has been governed by Amir Hamad since 1995 when he disposed his father in a bloodless coup.

For Qatari citizens, who make up around 15% of the population, life is sweet. Electricity, water and health care are free, the government sends pension checks and loans can be had at low cost. Being rich is considered somewhat of a birthright for native Qataris.

Aside from the 15% citizens in the country, the rest are foreign workers, ranging from Western financiers and energy executives to temporary laborers from India, Pakistan and other Asian countries. There are approximately 8,000 U.S. citizens living in Qatar, many who work in the oil industry.

Though alcohol is illegal in the approximately 75% Muslim country, you can still purchase it at certain hotels as long as you have a permit. Importing pork, drugs and pornography is also illegal in Qatar.

Over half the country resides in the capital city of Doha and a large number of these individuals are expatriates, including both legal and illegal foreigners. Many estimates suggest that foreigners actually outnumber Arabs in Qatar.

Qatar overall is very young and largely male. With only 1.5% of the population older than 65, there are 1.99 males to every female primarily because of the high number of imported laborers.

Women in Qatar are permitted to drive and tend to have more equality than in nations like Saudi Arabia, however many, especially Qatari citizens, still dress in traditional garb.

Qatar was selected as the location for the 2022 World Cup and the country is expecting to spend $65 billion in preparations for the tournament, including building an and installing air-conditioning in new stadiums.

The leader of the Al Thani ruling family, Sheikh Hamad is worth $2 billion on his own while family members are paid in order of their proximity to the Sheikh.

Visitors and expatriates should note that during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, non-Muslims are expected to observe. Anyone seen eating, smoking, drinking, singing or displaying physical affection in public can be arrested.

Source: Business Insider

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