From poverty to wealth

The State of Qatar is a small emirate located in the Persian Gulf between Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Under British protectorate since the beginning of the 19th century, the country survives mainly from fishing and pearl cultivation. The discovery of large oil and gas deposits in the 1940s completely disrupted and transformed the country's economy. The end of World War II and the ineluctable dismantling of the British Empire (Independence of India in 1947 and of Kuwait in 1951) accelerated the disengagement of Qatar which gained independence in 1971. But between 1972 and the end of the 1980s, the vast majority of oil revenues are monopolized by the emir in place. The latter was then overthrown in 1995 by ... his own son, Sheikh Hamad ben Khalifa al Thani. The new emir, more liberal than his father, undertakes major social reforms and finally resolves his border disputes with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Since 2007, Qatar has had the highest per capita income in the world!

The Qatari riyal

The official currency of Qatar is the Qatari riyal. The country's first monetary institute is the Qatar Monetary Agency (QMA) established by the decrees of May 7 and 9, 1973. The Qatari riyal (QAR) is divided into 100 dirhams. Its international abbreviation is QR or ر.ق (in Arabic).

The Qatar Monetary Agency first issued banknotes between 1973 and 1976. These banknotes were printed by the English printer Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company. A second issue was introduced in 1981. This time the banknotes were printed by the English printer Thomas De La Rue (TDLR) and the Qatari coat of arms was modified by the addition of two swords which crossed under the dhow and the two Palm trees (see below).


In 1993, the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) was established by Decree No. 15 of August 5, 1993 and made a first issue in 1996 with new designs. The notes are signed by the Governor and the Minister of Finance. Three issues have occurred since that date, in 2003, 2007 and 2008 ...

Our sources