Qatar at Glance

Qatar at Glance

The State of Qatar is a sovereign and independent state in the Middle East, occupying a peninsula that juts into the Arabian Gulf. Since its complete independence from Britain in 1971, Qatar has emerged as one of the world’s most important producers of oil and gas. It is an Islamic State whose laws and customs follow the Islamic tradition. Since 2013, the country has been governed by HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

Location and geography
The State of Qatar is a peninsula located amid the western coast of the Arabian Gulf. The peninsular is approximately 100km across and extends 200km into the Gulf. Qatar includes several islands the largest of which are, Halul, Shraouh and Al-Asshat.. shares its southern border with Saudi Arabia and a maritime border Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Iran.

The land mainly consists of a flat rocky plain, covered with a range of low limestone outcroppings in Jebel Dukhan in the west and Jebel Fuyart in the north. This plain is mostly marked by its many inland seas (Khors), bays and basins called (al-Riyadh) over the northern and middle areas that are considered to be the most fertile lands housing different natural plants.

Qatar occupies an area of 11,521 square kilometers.

Qatar has a population of approximately 2.3 million.

Capital City
Qatar’s capital city is Doha (in Arabic, ad-Dawḥa, which means ‘the big tree’)

Major Cities
Doha (capital), Al-Wakrah, Al-Khor, Dukhan, Al-Shamal, Msaieed, Ras Lafan and others.

Islam is the official religion of the State of Qatar, and the Islamic Law (Sharia) shall be the principal source of its legislation.

Since the mid-1800s, Qatar has grown from a poor British protectorate known for pearling into one of the world’s most important oil and gas producing countries. While there is increasing investment in non-energy sectors, oil and gas still account for more than half of the Gross Domestic Product. Due to its substantial reserves of oil and gas, the country has one of the highest incomes per capita in the world.

Qatar National Bank 26
Industries Qatar 20
Ezdan Real Estate Company 16
Qatar Telecom 7.4
Commercial Bank of Qatar 5.6
Masraf al-Rayan 5.5
Qatar Islamic Bank 5.5
Qatar Electricity & Water Company 3.8
Doha Bank 3.6
Barwa Real Estate Company 3.1
*=As of 8 December 2011. Source: Doha Stock Exchange
Mining & quarrying 56
Other services 11
Finance, insurance & real estate 9
Manufacturing 7
Trade, restaurants & hotels 6
Transport & communications 6
Construction 5
GDP =gross domestic product. Source: Qatar National Bank

Arabic is the official language of the country, though English is widely spoken.

Qatar has a desert climate with hot summers, warm winters and scarce rainfall.

Qatari Riyal (1 Riyal = 100 Dirhams).
The Riyal is pegged to the US Dollar ($US 1 = QAR 3.65).

National Day
Qatar National Day is held on 18th December every year in celebration and commemoration of Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammad Al-Thani, the founder of the State of Qatar.

Official Working Hours
Ministries and Government Entities: from 7am to 2 pm
Private Companies and Organisations: from 8am to 12pm and from 4pm to 8pm
Banks: from 7:30am to 1pm

Official Holidays
Fridays and Saturdays are official days off in Qatar
Qatar National Day: December 18 (annually)
National Sport Day on Tuesday of the second week of February (annually)
The holy Eid Al-Fitr
The holy Eid Al-Adha

Local Time
GMT +3 hours.

Electric Current
220 – 240 + 6V/50Hz. A mix of plugs: 3-pin square and 2-pin round designs.

The Emir

His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani
Emir of the State of Qatar

The Emir is the Head of State. His person shall be inviolable and he must be respected by all. The Emir is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. He shall supervise the same with the assistance of the Defense Council, which is set under his direct authority.

The Emir shall represent the State internally and externally and in all international relations.


The Emir shall discharge the following functions:

  • Drawing up the general policy of the State with the assistance of the Council of Ministers.
  • Ratification and promulgation of laws; and no such law may be issued unless it is ratified by the Emir.
  • Summoning the Council of Ministers to convene at any time deemed necessary for public interest; and the Emir shall preside over the meetings of the Council of Ministers that he attends.
  • Appointment of civil servants and military personnel and terminating their service in accordance with the law.
  • Accrediting the heads of diplomatic and consular missions.
  • Granting pardon or commuting penalties in accordance with the law.
  • Conferring civilian and military orders and badges of honor in accordance with the law.
  • Establishing and regulating ministries and other governmental organs and determining its functions.
  • Establishing, organizing, supervising and specifying the functions of the consultative bodies that assist him in directing the high policies of the state.


Place and Date of Birth
Doha on June 3, 1980.

Academic Qualifications

  • Received the High School Certificate from Shireburn High School in the UK in 1997.
  • Graduated from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK in 1998.

Work Experience

  • Head of the Qatari Olympic Committee.
  • Member of the International Olympic Committee.
  • Member of the Sports for All Committee, sub-committee of the International Olympic Committee.
  • Head of the Organizing Committee of the ASIAD 2006 Games.
    Head of the Upper Council of the Environment and Natural Sanctuaries.
  • Participated in a number of regional and international conferences and accompanied HH the Emir to a number of official visits to countries.
  • He became Heir Apparent of State of Qatar on 5th August 2003.
    He became Emir of Qatar on 25th June 2013.

Medals and Orders

  • The Issa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa’s Order of Merit-Excellence Class, Kingdom of Bahrain 2004.
  • The Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan Medal of Honor, UAE 2004.
  • The OCA Award of Merit, The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) 2007.

Government and Legislatives

Qatar’s government structure includes ministries, supreme councils and other government agencies. Qatar’s institutions of public administration are evolving rapidly and striving to meet the needs of citizens and customers of institutional services. About 90,000 employees, including Qataris and expatriates, work in the government and other public sector institutions.

The system of government in Qatar is based on the separation and collaboration of powers. The executive authority is vested in the Emir and the Heir Apparent, who are assisted by the Council of Ministers as specified by the Constitution, while the legislative authority is vested in the Advisory Council.

The Emir is the Head of State and represents the country internally, externally and in all international relations. He is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, which he supervises with the assistance of Defense Council, set under his direct authority. The judicial authority is vested in courts of law; and court judgments are proclaimed in the name of the Emir.

The Emir is assisted by the Council of Ministers, or Cabinet, Prime Minister and six supreme councils. The Emir appoints the prime minister and ministers, accepts their resignations and relieves them from their posts by Emiri Decrees. He entrusts the tasks of each ministry to a minister or the Prime Minister in accordance with the Emiri Decree designating the appointment.

The Prime Minister chairs the sessions of the Council of Ministers and supervises work coordination between different ministries with the vision of achieving unity and integration among all government branches. He also signs the resolutions issued by the Council.

The cabinet is formed by an Emiri Decree based on the proposal of the Prime Minister. The responsibilities and authorities of the ministers and government departments are specified according to the law. The Council of Ministers – being the supreme executive authority in the country – is mandated to monitor all internal and external affairs within its jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the law.

Ministries and other government agencies are responsible for executing public policies and programs relevant to them.

History of Government
Constitutional development in Qatar generally keeps pace with the country’s economic growth. The first provisional constitution was issued in 1970 before independence, and was amended in 1972 after independence, to cope with the requirements of the new phase. In 1999, free elections were held to form the Central Municipal Council for the first time in the history of Qatar.

In 2008, the government underwent restructuring and moved toward a ministry portfolio-based approach, which made ministries accountable for specific policies. This approach put the focus on outcomes, increased cross-ministry cooperation and reduced fragmentation in decision-making.

Institutional Development and Modernization
Qatar needs strong public sector institutions to reach the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030) for social progress, human development, a sound and diversified economy and a sustainable environment. Achieving these goals requires institutional and organizational capacity building, efficient and transparent delivery of public services, fruitful public‑private cooperation and partnerships, a vibrant climate for business and a larger space for civil society.

In order to fulfill these requirements, public sector development and modernization will focus on developing the capabilities of state institutions and strengthening their collaboration amongst each other. Building the foundations of the future state and ensuring high levels of government performance will require extensive collaboration and a culture of teamwork among line ministries and agencies at all levels — ministers department heads and section heads — and strong leadership. Critical in moving the public sector forward are the support of top leadership and greater power for middle management.

Moving Forward
Qatar has been studying the best practices in other countries that have successfully modernized their public sectors. Countries with modern institutions and excellent public sector performance exhibit similar characteristics: a commitment to continuous improvement, enduring dedication to change, sustained mobilization of resources and the ability to learn from mistakes.

Modern, well-developed public institutions have robust processes. They focus on human capital development, practice performance management and deliver public services consistently with efficiency and effectiveness, meeting the expectations of stakeholders. They show a high degree of transparency and citizen engagement and clear accountabilities, and they set higher and bolder annual targets.

By employing benchmarking, situation analysis, diagnostics and focus areas for transformation, the government has identified drivers of modernization—that is, the factors that influence performance and the need to modernize which serve as measures of institutional success. Within the public sector these include:
Value creation
Customer engagement

The State of Qatar has also been focusing on the levers that institutions must apply to modernize, including:
Policy and planning
Budget and financial management
Human resources development
Organizational alignment
Institutional processes
Informational technology
Performance management

Assessing Qatar’s Needs
What has worked in other parts of the world may not be applicable to Qatar. This is why Qatar has created a situation analysis to paint an overview of the public sector and identify Qatar-specific opportunities for modernization along the levers and linked to the benchmarking outcomes. It drew on a review of documents on institutional development from previous work of the General Secretariat of Development Planning and Cabinet departments; responses to a public sector performance questionnaire sent to all ministries, agencies and supreme councils; and a public sector employee survey that assessed employees’ engagement with their work and willingness and readiness to change.

This was followed by a diagnostic analysis to examine the gap between best practices and Qatar’s current state. It analyzed internal and external factors for modernization and defined maturity stages over the next few years.

Institutional development and modernization of Qatar’s public sector will require a phased, prolonged effort to achieve well-planned structural change. To measure public sector institutional performance, a model has been constructed using the QNV 2030 pillars. Desired outcomes serve as the starting point in developing a set of indicators for measuring how the country is affected by changes in public sector performance.

Improved service delivery in Qatar depends on credible, client-focused and capable institutions that deliver timely and accountable services to citizens and respond to their concerns. Continuously searching for ways to make institutions more efficient will strengthen Qatar in prosperous times and buffer it against shocks in recessionary times.

In order to achieve this, Qatar will require an unwavering commitment to modernizing all aspects of government and improving all sectors and areas of society.

[icon type=”vector” icon=”momizat-icon-download” size=”32″ hover_animation=”border_increase” ]National Development Strategy 2011-2016 is available for download.

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