Qatar may soon lose its title as home to the world’s richest residents, with an average GDP per capita of over $100,000, as the population growth exceeds official estimates and outpaces economic growth.
Qatar real GDP growth is expected to reach 5.3 percent this year, following the slow-down registered in 2012 when the economy went from growing by 18 percent in 2011 to 6.2 percent in 2012, according to the General Secretariat for Development Planning (GSDP).
By comparison, the local population has been growing at a rate of 7.6 percent between 2011 and 2012 and the influx of foreign workers is expected to increase in the coming years to support the construction of infrastructure for FIFA 2022 World Cup.
Qatar now counts a population of 1,900,000 residents; a number that the National Development Strategy had estimated would not be reached until after 2016.
Inflation in 2013 will stay in the region of 3.6 percent, below the pace of the economy and of local salaries that are expected to increase by 5.2 percent this year according to consulting firm Mercer.
Qatar economy remains stable after the recent political change that has seen the voluntary abdication of the emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in favour of his son, the 33 year old Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Qatar Exchange opened positively after the leadership transition, with Doha’s index rising 0.94 percent. Analysts believe that investors were reinsured by the political and economic continuity showed during the first speech of the new emir.
Addressing the nation, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani stated that “the reality on the ground has not changed” adding that “challenges and institutions will remain the same”.
According to the CIA’s World Factbook, Qatar has the highest GDP at an average of $102,800 person, according to 2012 estimates. Far behind in second is Liechtenstein with average GDP of $89,400. However, Liechtenstein’s population is only growing at a rate of 0.81 percent.
Third is Bermuda with an average of $86,000 per person, followed by Macau ($82,400) and Luxembourg ($80,700) making up the top five. The UAE is 16th on $49,000, Kuwait is 19th with $43,000, Oman is 53rd with $28,500, Bahrain 54th with $28,200 and Saudi Arabia is 59th with $25,700.