Editorial

by Jenny Friedrich-Freksa

Poorest nation, richest nation (Issue III+IV/2018)

-

Only a few decades ago, Bedouins with their animals were still traveling through the desert in Qatar. Today it is the richest country in the world, a place where people reside in villas and skyscrapers. Doha shows what money can do, with its prestigious sports stadiums, magnificent museums and libraries. Qatar owes its wealth to its huge deposits of oil and natural gas. The ruler of the country, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is smart enough to let his people share in this fortune. If you have a Qatari passport, you're fine. Yet, that is a select group, which only makes up about 12 percent of the 2.8 million people who live in Qatar. 

The remainder are migrant workers who do work which no Qatari wants to undertake: lugging stones across construction sites or cleaning private homes, often poorly paid and in inhuman conditions - or both. This magazine is about inequality. Based on per capita income, the International Monetary Fund annually measures the wealth of all countries worldwide. At the bottom of the scale, at number 187, is the Central African Republic (CAR). Converted to euros, the average annual income of each of its 4.6 million inhabitants is 580 euros. There are only 400 kilometres of paved roads in the country, which is three times the size of Germany. The CAR is among the nations considered hopeless by the international community: rebel militias control the country, child soldiers fight in civil wars, peace is not foreseeable and the people are poor. And this despite the fact that countless treasures are hidden beneath this wooded region in the heart of Africa, especially gold and rough diamonds. But this wealth ends up profiting warlords and corrupt civil servants, as well as companies from France, its former colonial power.

At first glance, an authoritarian Arab monarchy and an African failed state have little in common. For this issue, we asked people in the poorest and richest countries in the world how they are doing as well as researching why it is that some on this globe have too much while others have too little.



similar articles

Une Grande Nation (What's different elsewhere)

Rumba bars

by Fiston Mwanza Mujila

The stories coming out of my homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, are mostly sad. They are usually about colonialism, violence and war. But anyone who takes a walk through the streets of Kinshasa will find one thing above all: music. 

more


Above (Tomorrow's world)

Independent news

Short news from Uzbekistan.

more


Poorest nation, richest nation (Topic: Inequality)

Closed society

by Khalid Albaih

Qatar's capital Doha is home to people from across the world  - but they live completely separate lives. 

more


Poorest nation, richest nation (Topic: Inequality)

Escape Plans

by Kai Schnier

How do you encourage child soldiers to lay down their weapons? In central Africa, NGOs are using simply illustrated flyers and targeted radio broadcasts.

more


Poorest nation, richest nation (Topic: Inequality)

Everyday life in Qatar

by Gundula Haage

What sets one nation apart from others? Customs, traditions and social graces are key. Here we explore how societies tick in Qatar and the Central African Republic, from flirting to bartering to death rites.

more


Poorest nation, richest nation (Topic: Inequality)

Famous in Qatar

Gundula Haage

Who's who in the world's poorest and richest nations? We take a look.

more