Central to Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani’s vision for the future of Qatar was a vibrant economy and strong social infrastructure. While he had assumed governmental duties at an early age as the Chairman of the Security Affairs and Minister of Education, the ability to enact long-lasting and significant change to Qatar was not to come until 1972, on the commencement of his role as Emir. The chief achievement that can be attributed to this prominent world leader was his remarkable efforts in developing the natural gas management and exploration operations within Qatar; the very activity that has made it one of the richest nation’s per capita today. Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani cannot be denoted as anything less than instrumental to the construction of what is now modern Qatar.
Prior to Qatar’s lucrative export of oil and natural gas, the region was primarily known for its pearling and fishing enterprise. These ventures did not make the country very prosperous, and in fact resulted in it being one of the poorest nations in the world prior to World War II. This all changed when oil and natural gas were discovered in the nation in 1939, and was then developed more extensively in 1949. While oil and natural gas production improved the status of Qatar’s economy significantly, it was not until the reign of Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani that serious traction in the industry of petroleum was achieved.
Among the main transformations that were made during the sixth Emir’s rule was the creation and implementation of three key production sharing agreements with foreign oil companies in 1985, 1986 and 1989. These agreements were tantamount to ensuring the prosperity of the country, through increased global oil exports and further ventures into establishing infrastructure for extracting natural gas reserves. This undoubtedly resulted in the prosperity that Qatar now feels in the 21st century, with the oil and gas industry forming one of the cornerstones of the nation’s economy. As it stands today, 60% of Qatar’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is accounted for by the petroleum industry. Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani’s innovative leadership and awareness of the modern world fostered the necessary environment for the nation of Qatar to prosper. His role in ensuring that the country’s natural resources are used for the good of the economy has contributed both towards the modernisation of Qatar, and towards the increased wellbeing of its inhabitants. Through its prosperity, the nation of Qatar has subsequently been able to focus on improving social factors, such as education and social infrastructure. The efforts of Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani have assured the future of many Qatari generations to come.