What Makes Qatar The Richest Country In The World
Business Traveller India|April 2017

Neha Gupta Kapoor talks about what makes Qatar the richest country in the world.

Neha Gupta Kapoor

A population of over 2.4 million live on 12,000 sq km of land, making Qatar the smallest member country of the prestigious Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It shares a border with oil-rich Saudi Arabia to its south; the Persian Gulf surrounds the rest of the country.

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Don’t be fooled by its size. Despite showing a deceleration in economic growth in the last two years, Qatar remains a high-income economy, owing much of its success to oil and gas. They make up 55 per cent of the country’s GDP. As for petroleum alone, in 2015 OPEC valued exports of this product from Qatar at US$28,303 million.

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) also has a role to play in making it the world’s richest country by GDP per capita. QIA was established in 2005 and has since collected assets worth US$335 billion worldwide for Qatar.

Let’s look at the latter half of 2016 alone. In a joint venture with Brazilian food processor BRF SA (60 per cent), QIA (40 per cent) bought Turkey’s poultry giant Banvit that is valued at US$470 million. In the same year, the Russian government’s 19.5 per cent stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft was acquired by QIA and Glencore for US$11.3 billion. Interestingly, QIA is one of the biggest investors in Glencore, an Anglo–Swiss multinational commodity trading company. Also in the latter half of 2016, QIA invested in UK gas company National Grid.

Earlier successful financial undertakings by the country have resulted in QIA being the biggest shareholder in German carmaker, Volkswagen. Qatar Sports Investments bought Paris Saint-Germain Football Club in 2011 and has won four French soccer league titles. In 2012, Mayhoola for Investments SPC that is backed by Qatari investors bought Italian luxury brand Valentino Fashion Group SpA for about €700 million/US$745 million.

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