January 29, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8530

Qatari Media Figure And Former Diplomat Calls To Increase Birthrate Among Qatari Citizens, Who Constitute Only 9.5% Of Country's Population

January 29, 2020
Qatar | Special Dispatch No. 8530

In a recent article in the Al-Sharq daily, Mubarak bin Jaham Al-Kuwari, the former CEO of Qatar's Media Corporation and former Qatari ambassador to Spain, called upon the Qatari authorities to take measures to increase the birthrate among the country's citizens, who constitute less than a tenth of its population. The rest of Qatar's population comprises mainly foreign workers, mostly from East Asia. Arguing that this demographic imbalance threatens Qatar's identity, culture and future, Al-Kuwari suggested learning from Japan, which has tasked a state minister with enacting measures to increase the birthrate.

The following are excerpts from Al-Kuwari's article:[1] 

Mubarak bin Jaham Al-Kuwari (source: Al-Sharq, Qatar)

"Several years ago, Japan created a ministerial position [for dealing with the issue of] increasing the birthrate among its citizens.[2] In the first statement he issued, the new minister, who is tasked with finding ways to increase the birthrate and to prevent the dwindling population from falling below the100 million mark, said: 'I hope that the citizens will adopt my view that having children is beneficial.'

"Japan has been suffering for two decades from a declining birthrate, and this trend is expected to persist. The goal of the [new] ministry is to encourage civil action [in this context], in light of the impact [of the birthrate] on general economic growth. The ministry also stresses that there is no need for immigration in order to enlarge the population.

"This new notion [of encouraging childbirth] drew my attention. I applied the idea to several Arab countries and came to the conclusion that we Qataris, and several other Gulf states, have a dire need for such a notion, since the citizens [of these countries] have become a minority. Qatar's demography is severely imbalanced today, and this threatens the identity, culture and future of the homeland. According to the latest statistics for 2019, Qatari citizens make up 9.5% of the [country's] population of over three million. There are three Asian countries whose nationals make up a larger portion of [Qatar's] population [than the Qatari citizens], and one of [these groups] is nearly twice as large [as the group of Qatari citizens]...

"We should definitely learn from the Japanese experience. There is no need to form a ministry for increasing the birthrate, but we should encourage childbirth using proven methods of moral and material [support], in order to increase the [number of Qatari citizens among] the population, and so that more citizens will be active in the building of the homeland and will not suffer from a complex of fear about the future... [For] building the homeland and protecting its survival is everyone's responsibility."


[1] Al-Sharq (Qatar), January 12, 2020.

[2] In 2005, Japan appointed a minister of state for gender equality and social affairs, who is responsible, inter alia, for enacting measures to combat the country's declining birthrate (see, website of Kuniko Inoguchi, who was the first to hold this post in 2005-2006).

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