22 March, 2010

The continuing Rise of Qatar

Qatar? Doha? A few years ago, very few people on Earth knew or had ever heard of the two. Then, in 1995, came Shaikh Hamad Al'Khalifa Al'Thani and by 2007 Qatar had so dramatically changed and had become not only one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but the nation with the second highest per-capita in the world - after Liechtenstein. In 1996, Al Jazeera Channel was launched and through the TV and the Internet, has become one of the world's most known news source and has now expanded with several outlets with a variety of programs. It is Al Jazeera more than any thing else that has made the world very much know of Qatar and Doha. With its superb, state-of-the-art Qatar Airways, immense gas reserves and some oil, the State of Qatar is certain to continue growing, expanding and being one of the world's most talked of countries:
Qatar, a former pearl-fishing centre and once one of the poorest Gulf states, is now one of the richest countries in the region, thanks to the exploitation of large oil and gas fields since the 1940s. This is how the BBC describes Qatar.
A lesser Dubai: That's the first impression a visitor gets touring downtown Doha, the capital of the Gulf emirate of Qatar. Dubai (population 1.4 million) has its famous ultramodern skyline and man-made islands, its wild young rich kids, and—since the real estate boom went bust—plenty of empty office space. Qatar (population 1.5 million) has semi-vacant glass towers and its own artificial island, a handsome Islamic museum designed by I.M. Pei, and young men racing through the streets in Ferraris and Porsches. This is how Businessweek has just described Doha.
There is no doubt that, for many years to come, mainly through the Al Jazeera News Channel, the world will continue to very much hear of Qatar and Doha. And many, from distant places and many parts of the world, will know of and experience Qatar.