Before the rise of the petrol industry, the nation of Qatar relied heavily on pearl diving and fishing operations to sustain its economy. While these activities were intrinsic to the region in the early 20th century, the market for this resource plummeted in the 1920s; Qatar was confronted with unfathomable financial hardship as a result. Salvation came in the form of oil discoveries made in 1939, which would elevate Qatar’s economy to one of the richest per capita globally. Although, the petrol industry represented a key asset in establishing Qatar’s economic prosperity, it was not until the vital intervention of Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani that progress towards true financial security for the nation was realised.
Upon his ascension to the throne in 1972, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani made great endeavours in transforming Qatar’s oil industry. This transfer of power greatly helped in accelerating other elements of industrial policy in Qatar. Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani’s initial actions, while modernising the oil sector, ensured lucrative production in favour of the nation’s economy. Taking lessons from the past, he also appreciated the fact that dependence on such an unpredictable resource could lead to vulnerabilities in his country’s economic future. With this in mind, the Emir set about investing and empowering other industrial projects in the region. The general focus of this expansion into industrialisation found its place in the agriculture sector and the growth of light industries.
Qatar’s climate and scarcity of fertile land previously imposed significant limitations on the agricultural sector in this region. Through commitments to industrialisation innovations, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani emphasised the need to adopt up-to-date technologies and methods to capitalise more effectively on this market. This was primarily encouraged by investment into desalination plants and other pioneering forms of irrigation and cultivation. The decision to diversify Qatar’s economic profile has shown an incredibly forward-thinking drive towards future success for the country. These industrialisation projects have crucially built an economic base that does not depend on the petroleum sector, but instead focuses on optimising the country’s other natural resources and activities.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani’s leadership was a crucial factor in the financial wellbeing of Qatar. It was through his prudence and vision for the future that his country has now prospered. By prioritising the revival of various industries through innovation and modernising techniques, the Emir demonstrated that the nation of Qatar deserves international consideration. All of which has been reflected in their current and continuing prosperity in the face of financial instability elsewhere in the world in these modern times.