Last updated: December 17, 2019

The state of Qatar comprises a peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, the access of which is completely bordered by Saudi Arabia. The capital Doha is located in the east of the country directly on the sea. The state has around 2.4 million inhabitants – almost 90 percent of them are not locals – and is slightly smaller than Schleswig-Holstein.

HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has led the country as head of state and government since 2013, when his father abdicated in his favor. HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa initiated the country’s economic and political opening. In 1999, Qatar became the first country in the Gulf region to have active and passive local voting rights for women. Since 2003 Qatar has had a new constitution that provides for a consultative assembly.

From a country whose economy was dominated by fishing and pearl diving, Qatar has rapidly transformed itself into an industrial location since independence in 1971. The industrial sector contributed around 50.3 percent to GDP in 2017, mainly due to income from the mineral oil industry. Between 1994 and 2017, Qatar’s share of oil production tripled within the framework of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to around five percent. Nevertheless, Qatar announced its exit from OPEC at the end of 2018.

Qatar is already orienting itself more towards the gas market, as it has the third largest natural gas reserves in the world and has been the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in recent years. There is also a flourishing fertilizer production and aluminum industry.

Qatar’s leadership is now increasingly focusing on diversifying its economy. The Vision Qatar 2030 infrastructure program was implemented against the backdrop of the 2022 World Cup . It represents the transition to a knowledge-based society. Particular importance is attached to the area of ​​financial services. In addition, the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) – one of the largest in the world – invests heavily in global stocks such as Barclays Bank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Hapag Lloyd, Heathrow Airport and Volkswagen. According to Ease of Doing Business-Index of the World Bank ranks Qatar in second place worldwide in terms of taxes and tax climate. Environmental protection is also enjoying increasing political weight in Qatar through the creation of an environment ministry and a national environmental plan.

According to the Doing Business 2020  study published by the World Bank  , the business climate in Qatar is improving steadily. Particularly noteworthy are the easier access to electricity and the adapted company registration procedures.

The need to involve local majority partners in setting up businesses has been weakened in recent years. Such a partner is no longer essential in the fields of education, health, industry, agriculture and tourism as well as for projects related to mineral resources and energy. In other areas such as advisory services, IT, sport and tourism, one hundred pence foreign ownership was recently approved. Direct investments are also to be made easier by the fact that corporation tax for foreign companies is consistently ten percent.