Why Qatar Is The Richest Country In The World?

When we measure the wealth of a nation the yardstick we use is called the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP per capita. This uses a formula that calculates how much the country produces in industrial wealth in terms of goods and services divided by its total population.

The equation is as follows:  GDP = Consumption + Investment + Government Spending + Net Exports. As of 2018 Qatar’s Revenues are 95 billion and their expenses are 56 billion USD $.

Qatar is the richest country in the world because it has the highest GDP per capita in the world. Qatar has the highest GDP per capita largely because of its vast petroleum and natural gas reserves that it exports.

According to their own published GDP data, the UN, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund , Qatar’s industrial manufacturing, banking system and rising tourism have contributed to its status as the richest country in the world.

The average salary of each individual is about 135,000 $ USD and the unemployment rate is about 0.6% with a total estimated GDP of 166 billion dollars as of 2021 for a population of 2.8 million. The percentage of population underneath the poverty line is close to none existent. The Human Development Index (HDI) a multi-criteria metric encompassing longevity, schooling, and median salary, ranks Qatar in 45th place worldwide. There is no income tax in Qatar.

Imports & Exports

Most of Qatar’s energy exports are shipped to East Asia, its largest trade partners being in order from largest to smallest, Japan, South Korea, India, China, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Pakistan the UK and Italy. 

Because Qatar’s climate is largely inhospitable, it imports the majority of its agricultural produce from the United States (excluding its fisheries). Most of the heavy machinery for its industrial capabilities is imported from France, the UK, China and Germany.


Qatar mainly produces and exports liquefied natural gas and crude oil, but it has also developed in-country transformation of its natural resources into fertilizers like ammonia as well as other petrochemicals. Construction with domestic reinforced steel alloys and cement has been a significant contributing factor to the country’s real-estate development boom. The transportation industry is also on the rise.

Oil & Natural Gas

Qatar produces a little bit over half a million barrels of oil a day which has led to estimates that as of 2023 unless more off-shore oil reserves are discovered, the country will have run out of petrol reserves. However, with its natural gas, there are over a million barrels of fossil fuels shipped from Qatar each day. There are 250 trillion ft3 of untapped gas reserves. 

Most of Qatar’s energy sector has been developed thanks to foreign investment and joint operations from multinational corporate conglomerates based in Japan, Europe and North America. However, the Qatari government insists that senior management roles be filled exclusively by its people.


Industries Qatar (IQ) is a conglomerate of 4 distinct companies that create petrochemicals, fuel additives, steel and ammonia-based agricultural fertilizer. Most manufacturing companies, while publicly traded on the Qatar Stock Exchange, are regulated by the Ministry of Business and Trade with the primary shareholder being the state itself. Approximately 10% of the country’s GDP arises from the construction sector.


Qatar’s financial sector was able for the most part to hedge against the massive economic downturn after the 2008 housing market and US banking crisis largely thanks to the efforts of the Qatar Investment Authority which bailed out its banks with state funds. The government not only bailed out banks but purchased shares of corporations that were struggling following this crisis to stabilize the sector.


Qatar’s tourism industry run by the Qatar Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (QTEA)has a hefty budget for the development of museums, hotels, festivals, parks, public transportation as well as renovated airports. The budget as of 2021 was increased to 20 billion USD$ to accommodate the 2022 Qatar  FIFA World Cup.

Other notable tourist destinations are the Souq Waqif Flower Festival, the Museum of Illusions, the Katahara Cultural Village Amphitheatre, the Zubarah, the Museum of Islamic Art

Qatar FIFA World Cup

The construction of 6 new stadiums has been underway since the announcement of Qatar’s hosting of the next World Cup. The QTEA has been working with Qatar’s industrial manufacturing divisions to produce eco-friendly “green” stadiums with zero-emission cooling systems to maintain a comfortable 20 degrees celsius despite Qatar’s scorching climate.

Trade & Shipping Logistics

Qatar has one of the most quickly expanding logistic transportation systems in the world. The pavement of roads and highways all over the country as well as inter-regional highways linking it to the rest of the Arab world are a true status symbol of interdependent trade routes.

In terms of domestic public transportation, the expansion of the Doha subway and monorail systems are underway to alleviate some of the traffic in the capital of the country. The rail network for industrial cargo transportation is also primed to interconnect most of the OPEC countries in the Gulf of Persia

International maritime shipping lanes to Europe, Asia and Africa out of the Port of Hamad (Formerly known as the Port of Doha) are transporting over 8 million tonnes of goods every year. The other seaports of Qatar are the Al Rayyan Marine Terminal, the Port of Mesaieed, the Port of Ras Laffan and the Port of Umm Said.

Qatar Airways is also poised as a major contender of major players within the commercial air transport sector. It operates a fleet of 235 planes and services 173 destinations with one of the most prestigious on-board hosting services in the world. 

Concluding Remarks

While Qatar has one of the most blossoming  GDP economies per capita, it is important to remember that this metric is not always perfect. This benchmark works particularly well for countries with low population and high export ratios, leaving Qatar with only the nominal title for the richest country in the world. In more realistic terms, the United States and China are still the largest economies in the world.