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How Qatar went from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the richest in 50 years

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According to the Global Finance ranking, the country occupies the 4th position and has a GDP of around US$ 100 billion; oil and natural gas are the sources of wealth


Qatar is the fourth richest country in the world

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O Qatarhas gained international prominence since was announced in 2010 as the host country for the 22nd edition of the world Cup🇧🇷 This country, with almost three million inhabitants, is one of the richest – it occupies the fourth position in the ranking of global financecommon GDP per capita of US$112,789, behind Luxembourg, Singapore and Ireland. The enormous wealth is something that arouses curiosity, especially when you consider that he went from one of the poorest to one of the richest in fifty years, and in the last decade he has always remained among the top 10 positions. But where does Qatar’s wealth come from? Samuel Feldberg, a political scientist and researcher at the Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, says the answer is simple: oil and gas reservoirs🇧🇷 “In 1940, oil was discovered in Qatar, and in the sequence huge natural gas reservoirs were also discovered, and as in the country only 10% of the population is native and the rest are foreign workers, then you have high wealth”, explains the expert. The first discovery was made in the Dukhan field and it was fundamental for the country’s economy to change.

Despite the discovery in 1940, it was only after 1977 that the Qataris became nationalized in the sector and QatarEnergy became the main one in the country. According to a World Bank report, the Middle Eastern country has the largest natural gas reserves in the world – North Field, offshore, is one of the largest fields. Feldberg explains that when you have a GDP around US$ 100 billion and a small population, you have a high income per capita🇧🇷 Information confirmed by Global Finance, who says Qatar benefits from proportions. Because while its oil and gas reserves are large, its population is small (about 2.8 million people). However, despite these resources being responsible for the country’s economy, Feldberg says that the Qataris are already concerned about the future, as they know that once they run out, there will be no more, which is why “the Qatari authorities foresaw this scenario and passed managing an investment fund that is also one of the largest in the world, which receives resources from the export of gas and oil and invests in companies around the world”, says Feldberg.

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Until the beginning of World War II, the Qatari population explored pearls, fished and traded, activities that today are virtually non-existent. The country was a British colony until 1971, when, on September 3, it managed to officially its independence from UK and became a sovereign state. With a territory smaller than the state of Sergipe, Qatar distributes benefits to residents as an incentive to count on the loyalty and support of the Qataris. In other words, they don’t have to pay taxes, they have free healthcare and higher education, subsidy for energy bills, good pensions, among others. However, despite its riches, Qatar has zero football tradition and yet is hosting the first World Cup in the Middle East. For Feldberg, this is a moment to give visibility to the country. “Ability to expose what it has to offer, including with great flexibility,” he says, citing as an example the fact that there are around 15,000 Israelis visiting Qatar, even without having diplomatic relations between the countries. “They dealt with this issue in a very practical way to allow the world to have a favorable view of Qatar at this moment,” adds the specialist, referring to the hosting of the tournament in the region and the country’s goals.

Feldberg explains that “until Qatar appeared in the news due to the World Cup, when there was news about the country, it was always related to the headquarters of Al Jazeera [rede de televisão] or it had something to do with Qatar’s support for Islamist groups in the Middle East, the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt or with support for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. There was no positive news about the country”. The country’s interest in hosting the World Cup triggered a radio documentary called “How to win the World Cup“, produced by BBC Radio 4🇧🇷 In it, the experts heard explain that because Qatar knows that it will never have a large army to guarantee its security, it bets on another international strategy to protect itself. “Qatar sees itself following a model established in the 17th century by the prophet Mohammed himself, who created in Medina a place where tribes that were competing with each other could live together in society, and from this Islam itself was born”, explains in the documentary Allen Fromherz, director of Middle Eastern Studies at Georgia State University and author of books on Qatari history. “So, Qatar sees its role as a reflection of something profound not only in Arab culture, but in Islam, of bringing about conflict resolution in the region, and consequently getting a reward for its own people, which is authority. This is exactly what Qatar has been trying to be, a forum,” he added.

In the documentary, he also reports that the “World Cup kind of symbolically represents this broader role that Qatar sees itself in, of ‘we are the ones who negotiate solutions, we are an indispensable part of this region and this world, and it will be very bad if we are swallowed by a neighbor, or if we are threatened despite our immense wealth’. So it is a policy of protection, but also of projection.” At the same time that the region has been home to a US military base since 1996, the country signed an agreement to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China for 27 years, the longest-lasting agreement in the history of the sector. The announcement, made this week, takes place in a context in which several European countries are seeking alternatives to Russian hydrocarbons, but which have not reached an agreement of this type with the Gulf emirate, rich in gas. North Field is at the heart of Qatar’s strategy to increase its LNG production by 60% to reach 126 million tonnes per year by 2027.

in the documentary “How to win the World Cup”, investigative sports journalist Tariq Panja points out that the Cup was crucial for the country to gain international support, especially when the country was being accused by neighbors of sponsoring terrorism and a trade blockade was imposed on it that lasted four years, classified by Samuel Feldberg as a boycott. “If no one had heard of this place, would we care? I think not. Maybe it gives security for notoriety. It’s not just Qatar, it’s ‘Qatar, host of the World Cup’. Something that carries a certain power”, concludes Panja.

Source: Jovempan

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