Qatar's de­mo­graph­ics re­flect solid econ­omy

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

coun­tries merely half of the pop­u­la­tion falls within the eco­nom­i­cally­ac­tive cat­e­gory.

Cer­tainly, what makes Qatar dif­fer­ent re­lates to for­eign work­ers who make up the ut­most ma­jor­ity of the work­force and pop­u­la­tion as well. By one ac­count, for­eign na­tion­als con­sti­tute around 87 per cent of to­tal pop­u­la­tion and 90 per cent of to­tal the work­force.

Of for­eign work­ers, half are con­sid­ered semi-skilled with the bal­ance di­vided be­tween high­lyskilled and non-skilled. This re­flects the fact that the steadily grow­ing Qatari econ­omy re­quires all kinds of for­eign work­ers to per- form di­verse jobs needed.

To be sure, to­tal pop­u­la­tion stood just above 1 mil­lion level (1.042 mil­lion to be ex­act) in 2006 only to reach 1.73 mil­lion in 2011. The change pri­mar­ily re­flects the in­flux of na­tion­als from all over the world tap­ping op­por­tu­ni­ties in the ever-grow­ing Qatari econ­omy.

The of­fi­cial Sta­tis­ti­cal Author­ity puts real gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) at 13.5 per cent in 2011. The fig­ure is down from 16.7 per cent in 2010 but re­mains ahead of all Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (GCC) mem­ber states.

Amaz­ingly, per capita in­come in Qatar is sec­ond to none in the world not­with­stand­ing strong pop­u­la­tion growth rates. With a GDP of US$173 bil­lion and a pop­u­la­tion of 1.73 mil­lion, per capita in­come in Qatar amounts to $100,000.

In re­al­ity, Qatar is ranked the third largest econ­omy within the six-na­tion GCC af­ter Saudi Ara­bia and the UAE but ahead of Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. Ad­di­tion­ally, the per capita in­come would have been con­sid­er­ably higher but for the strong for­eign rep­re­sen­ta­tion in to­tal pop­u­la­tion.

Clearly, lim­ited in­fla­tion rate adds to the qual­ity of liv­ing and work­ing in the coun­try. In­fla­tion rate merely amounted to 1.9 per cent in 2011, cer­tainly a neg­li­gi­ble fig­ure com­pared to the dou­ble-digit phe­nom­e­non not long ago.

In ret­ro­spect, Qatar's econ­omy ex­pe­ri­enced ex­cep­tion­ally high in­fla­tion rates only a few years es­pe­cially in 2007, suf­fer­ing from the prob­lem of im­ported in­fla­tion on the back of stead rises of food prices.

In many re­spects, avail­able sta­tis­tics point out to stag­ger­ing other facts about the coun­try's de­mo­graph­ics with links and im­pli­ca­tions for the busi­ness community. Amongst pos­i­tive developments, fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion rate in the work force has in­creased from 30.3 per cent in 2004 to 35.3 per cent in 2011. It is not wrong to con­nect the de­vel­op­ment to the abil­ity of Qatari fe­males of earn­ing rel­a­tively high salaries by work­ing in gov­ern­men­tal de­part­ments.

One such fa­mous pro­fes­sion for Qatari fe­males is that of work­ing as teach­ers in pub­lic schools. Still, oth­ers pre­fer work­ing in gen­eral so­cial ser­vices, putting in a few hours in re­turn for at­trac­tive re­mu­ner­a­tion.

In re­al­ity, a siz­able num­ber of Qatari fe­males are ac­tive in­vestors serv­ing as share and prop­erty own­ers, hence their ad­di­tional con­tri­bu­tions to the lo­cal econ­omy. In con- ser­va­tive Qatar, males are expected to serve as pri­mar­ily bread earn­ers for the fam­ily.

In­ter­est­ingly enough, share of Qatari na­tion­als in pri­vate sec­tor es­tab­lish­ments has dou­bled to 8 per cent be­tween 2004 and 2011. Still, the new rates are not im­press­ing in nor­mal con­di­tions. How­ever, the job mar­ket in Qatar is any­thing but nor­mal in the ab­sence of real un­em­ploy­ment amongst lo­cals. The sta­tis­tics partly ex­plain why all roads are lead­ing to Qatar nowa­days.

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