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The 2022 World Cup in Qatar’s economy is described.

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Nov-06 11:15 first published at 11:15 AM


On Doha’s corniche in Qatar, people pose for photos in front of the official FIFA World Cup Countdown Clock. AP

Qatar has a population of 2.9 million people, but only about one-tenth of them are Qataris. They enjoy enormous wealth and benefits as a result of Qatar’s joint control of one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves.
The tiny country on the Arabian Peninsula’s eastern tip juts out into the Persian Gulf. The North Field, the world’s largest underwater gas field, is located there and is shared by Qatar and Iran. The field contains roughly 10% of the world’s known natural gas reserves.
Oil and gas have made the 50-year-old country extremely wealthy and powerful. Qatar’s roughly 300,000 citizens have been rescued from the hard labor of fishing and pearl diving in a matter of decades.
The country is now an international transit hub with a profitable national airline, a driving force behind the influential Al Jazeera news network, and a contributor to the expansion of the largest US military base in the Middle East.
Here’s a breakdown of Qatar’s economy and how this tiny country was able to spend so much money on hosting the FIFA World Cup:
THE ECONOMIC STRENGTH OF QATAR
The tribes of Qatar relied on pearl diving and fishing for survival for the majority of their existence. It was a harsh and bare existence, as it was in other parts of the Gulf. The discovery of oil and gas in the Arabian Peninsula in the mid-twentieth century forever altered life in the Arabian Peninsula.
While much of the world is experiencing recession and inflation, Qatar and other Gulf Arab energy producers are benefiting from high energy prices. The International Monetary Fund predicts that Qatar’s economy will grow by 3.4% this year.
Despite a massive spending spree to prepare for the World Cup, the country earned more than it spent last year, resulting in a comfortable surplus that will last until 2022. Qatar’s wealth is expected to grow as it expands capacity to export more natural gas by 2025.
The Qatar Investment Authority, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, manages and invests the country’s financial reserves.
QATAR’S SPENDING ON THE WORLD CUP
According to official statements and a Deloitte report, Qatar has spent approximately $200 billion on infrastructure and other development projects since winning the bid to host the five-week World Cup.
Around $6.5 billion was spent on the tournament’s stadiums, including the Al Janoub stadium designed by the late acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid.
Prior to the matches, billions of dollars were spent to build a metro line, a new airport, roads, and other infrastructure.
According to the London-based research firm Capital Economics, ticket sales indicate that approximately 1.5 million tourists will visit Qatar for the World Cup. According to the research firm, if each visitor stayed for 10 days and spent $500 per day, the total spending per visitor would be $5,000. This could result in a $7.5 billion economic boost for Qatar this year. Some fans, however, may fly in just for the matches and stay in nearby Dubai or elsewhere.
THE LUXURIOUS BENEFITS OF QATAR
Qatar, like other wealthy Gulf petro-states, is not a democracy. The ruling Al Thani family and its advisors make decisions. Citizens have little influence over major policy decisions in their country.
The government, on the other hand, provides citizens with numerous benefits that have helped to ensure their continued loyalty and support. Qatari citizens benefit from tax-free income, high-paying government jobs, free health care, free higher education, financial assistance for newlyweds, housing assistance, generous utility bill subsidies, and generous retirement benefits.
The country’s citizens rely on foreign laborers to fill jobs in the service sector, such as drivers and nannies, as well as to do the difficult construction work that built modern-day Qatar.
MIGRANT LABOR FORCE IN QATAR
The country has come under fire for its labor laws and treatment of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, the majority of whom are from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and other South Asian countries. These men live in shared rooms on labor camps and work for the entire summer, with only a few hours of rest in the middle. They frequently go years without seeing their families.
Amnesty International reports that dozens of people may have died from apparent heat stroke as a result of their work.
Rights groups have credited Qatar with improving its labor laws, such as adopting a minimum monthly wage of around $275 in 2020 and dismantling the “kafala” system, which prohibited workers from changing jobs or leaving the country without their employers’ consent.
Human Rights Watch, on the other hand, has urged Qatar to improve compensation for migrant workers who were injured, killed, or had their wages stolen while working on World Cup-related projects.
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