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Qatar, Economy and Government

In 2000 Qatar’s gross domestic product, which measures the value of all goods and services produced, was $14.5 billion, or $24,740 per capita. Petroleum is the dominant source of income and, along with natural gas, accounted for 75 percent of exports in 1994. Oil production in 1999 totaled 284 million barrels; the output of natural gas was 24 billion cu m (850 billion cu ft). Manufactures include cement, fertilizer, and petroleum products. Although some fruits and vegetables are grown, herding is the principal agricultural occupation. In 2001 the country had 179,000 goats, 215,000 sheep, 50,000 camels, and 14,200 cattle. The fish catch totaled 5,034 metric tons in 1997. The unit of currency is the Qatar riyal (3.64 riyal equal U.S.$1; 2000 average). Revenue from oil concessions is being used for a development program; a road network, hospitals, and desalination plants have been built, and the country has a welfare plan that includes free medical care and education.

Qatar is a monarchy. Under the terms of a 1970 provisional constitution, executive power rests with the Council of Ministers (cabinet). The council is appointed by the head of state, the emir, who is also the prime minister. Qatar has no legislative body, although the constitution guarantees to all citizens the basic democratic rights. In 2001 Qatar’s well-equipped armed forces included an 8,500-member army, a navy of 1,730, and an air force of 2,100.

 
 

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