Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and several other Arab countries cut all ties with Qatar, blockading their heavily import-dependent neighbor. This has hurt crucial Qatari businesses and forced international companies to divest from the emirate.

Qatar has weathered this political and economic crisis surprisingly well and shown resilience. The country intensified efforts to diversify the economy and foster greater self-sufficiency.

A constant domestic theme is the treatment of foreign workers under the kafala system. Foreigners make up about 88% of the country’s population, but are excluded from the wide range of benefits that citizens enjoy, such as free health care, education, water and electricity.

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