Qatar is an independent and sovereign State, which has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the 19th century. The present Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, came to power in 1995. Arabic is the official language in Qatar, though English is widely spoken, and Islam is the official religion of the country. Doha is the capital, though there are several other important industrial towns, most notably Mesaieed, which contains a well established port and various petrochemical and metallurgical plants.
Qatar is situated on the west coast of the Arabian Gulf, bordering Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The peninsula, together with various islands and reefs, covers a land area of approximately 11,437 square kilometres, and has over 700 kilometres of coastline. Qatar has a moderate desert climate, with hot dry summers and mild winters.
The economy of Qatar is dominated by oil and natural gas, which accounts for 70% of the export income. The country has the single largest known natural gas field in the world and has a thriving and expanding petrochemical industry as a result of the hydrocarbon reserves. It is no wonder that Qatar has one of the world's highest per capital incomes.
Since ancient times, Qatar's strategic location has earned it a reputation of being one of the foremost business centres in the Middle East. It has long been a busy trading route between the East and the West, and today still lives up to this reputation as the Middle East's most promising commercial capital. Qatar's unique geographical location, close to the promising and fast developing Indian, South East Asian and Far East markets in addition to the Middle East & European markets, provides vast and lucrative opportunities in all business fields.