If development was measured only by money, Qatar would be the most developed, with a GDP/capita of US$106,000. 14% of citizens are millionaires; the government has so little need for money that there is a 0% tax rate. Qatar is a member of OPEC, and bases the economy almost entirely on oil. The Emir says he prioritises his citizen’s wellbeing, including in advanced health care and education and expanding infrastructure for the 2022 world cup.
Qatar has the highest life expectancy in the Middle East (82 years for men and 78 years for women)- no-one lives below the poverty line.
Qatar is a developing site for tourists, due to being so under-explored. It has gained a reputation for a luxurious destination with a feeling of authenticity. The capital has a large range of cultural attractions, and natural wonders.
Issues Holding Back Development
- No political freedom, with no political parties
- No war of asserting civil rights
- Trade unions are not allowed
- No transparency in governance
- Sharia Law still implimented
- Qatar is not a member of the ICJ
- Significant gender inequality
- Ranks 86th in the world for literacy
- The population is only 330,000, so a small gene pool has lead to high occurence of genetic diseases
- Wealth is leading to the highest growth of obesity and diabetes in the world
- Qatar has the highest CO2 emissions per capita in the world.
- They are the highest consumers of water/person/day – 400 liters
- Petrol is cheaper than water
- The ITUC rates Qatar as one of the worst places worldwide for workers. Migrants make up 54% of the workforce- 545,000 from India and 341,000 from Nepal. Sub-contractors recruit these workers and there are many reports of slave-like conditions. (In 2014, DLA Piper published 60 recommendations to improve conditions for workers and Qatar has promised to implement them, however, there is little evidence of anything having been done about this).
2022 Football World Cup Controversy
There is a lot of talk of getting the world cup away from Qatar, due to the stepping down of the president of FIFA – Sepp Blatter- and concerns about both the climate and the lack of football culture.
The Qataris say that their being chosen is proof that there’s nothing wrong and hint at a fall out if they were replaced. In total, the emirates host 1.5 million migrants who are working to produce the stadiums- those same workers who are almost in slavery.
The kafala system gets payments from various Southern Asian countries which give them permission to send workers to Qatar. Many of these migrants owe money to recruitment agents; desperate for money they are forced to work long hours in unsafe conditions. Employers withhold wages, confiscate passports or cram workers into horrendous quality accommodation.
The minister of labour and social affairs- Abdullah bun Saleh al-Khulaifi is confident that the system wil be replaced with a fairer system based on 5 year contracts, and giving them more freedom.
Qatar has improved their housing. Qatar is building 7 new cities to house 258,000 migrant workers. The largest- Labour City- would have universal air conditioning and a 24,000 seat cricket stadium. Housing inspectors are increasing, but so is the migrant worker population; which is expected to hit 2.5 million by 2020.