Country Profile: Qatar
Capital and largest cityDoha
LanguagesArabic, Farsi, English. For other languages see right.
Area11, 437 sq km
Population1, 541, 130 (2008 est.)
Qatar occupies the Qatar Peninsula in the Middle East, on the coast of the bigger Arabian Peninsula. It borders Saudi Arabia and the Persian gulf. According to the IMF, Qatar has the highest GDP in the world, followed by Luxembourg.
Arabic is the official language of Qatar, however, many other languages are spoken, including Hindi, Pashto, Malayalam, Punjabi, Urdu, Sindhi, Balochi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Tagalog, and Persian, across the country.
Before oil was found, Qatar's economy was dependant on pearls and fish. However, the discovery of oil over fifty years ago has completely revolutionised and reformed the country's economy, turning it into a modern state and improving the standard of life across the board.
With oil and gas the main industries, and biggest exports in the country, Qatar is also developing its "knowledge sector", for example by improving communications, infrastructure, and putting a lot of money into science and technology R&D. The country has put forward an official bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Qatar's major trading partners are Japan, the US, India, South Korea, Singapore, France, UK, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
There has been a push to improve and reform the educational system in Qatar, and in the past years there has been much progress in this area. A significant part of this has been due to the alliance with several American educational institutes, such as Cornell and Northwestern University, which have set up campuses in Education City, Qatar. In 2007, the American Brookings Institution unveiled plans to open a centre in the country which would specifically focus on geopolitical and socio-economic issues which faced the country.
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