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Middle East :: United Arab Emirates
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United Arab Emirates
  • Introduction :: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control of their defense and foreign affairs in 19th century treaties. In 1971, six of these states - Abu Dhabi, 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn - merged to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They were joined in 1972 by Ra's al Khaymah. The UAE's per capita GDP is on par with those of leading West European nations. Its high oil revenues and its moderate foreign policy stance have allowed the UAE to play a vital role in the affairs of the region. For more than three decades, oil and global finance drove the UAE's economy. However, in 2008-09, the confluence of falling oil prices, collapsing real estate prices, and the international banking crisis hit the UAE especially hard. The UAE has essentially avoided the "Arab Spring" unrest seen elsewhere in the Middle East, though in March 2011, political activists and intellectuals signed a petition calling for greater public participation in governance that was widely circulated on the Internet. In an effort to stem potential further unrest, the government announced a multi-year, $1.6-billion infrastructure investment plan for the poorer northern emirates and aggressively pursued advocates of political reform.
  • Geography :: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
    24 00 N, 54 00 E
    Middle East
    total: 83,600 sq km
    land: 83,600 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 115
    slightly larger than South Carolina; slightly smaller than Maine
    Area comparison map:
    total: 1,066 km
    border countries (2): Oman 609 km, Saudi Arabia 457 km
    1,318 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
    desert; cooler in eastern mountains
    flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert; mountains in east
    mean elevation: 149 m
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
    highest point: Jabal Yibir 1,527 m
    petroleum, natural gas
    agricultural land: 4.6%
    arable land 0.5%; permanent crops 0.5%; permanent pasture 3.6%
    forest: 3.8%
    other: 91.6% (2011 est.)
    923 sq km (2012)
    0.15 cu km (2011)
    total: 3.99 cu km/yr (15%/2%/83%)
    per capita: 739.5 cu m/yr (2005)
    frequent sand and dust storms
    lack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
    strategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
  • People and Society :: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • noun: Emirati(s)
    adjective: Emirati
    Emirati 19%, other Arab and Iranian 23%, South Asian 50%, other expatriates (includes Westerners and East Asians) 8% (1982)
    note: less than 20% are UAE citizens (1982)
    Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
    Muslim (Islam; official) 76%, Christian 9%, other (primarily Hindu and Buddhist, less than 5% of the population consists of Parsi, Baha'i, Druze, Sikh, Ahmadi, Ismaili, Dawoodi Bohra Muslim, and Jewish) 15%
    note: represents the total population; about 85% of the population consists of noncitizens (2005 est.)
    religious affiliation:
    5,779,760 (July 2015 est.)
    note: the UN estimates the country's total population to be 9,157,000 as of mid-year 2015; immigrants make up almost 90% of the total population, according to 2015 UN data (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    0-14 years: 20.85% (male 616,669/female 588,546)
    15-24 years: 13.57% (male 466,663/female 317,735)
    25-54 years: 61.38% (male 2,704,889/female 842,852)
    55-64 years: 3.18% (male 137,753/female 46,214)
    65 years and over: 1.01% (male 36,725/female 21,714) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 17.8%
    youth dependency ratio: 16.4%
    elderly dependency ratio: 1.3%
    potential support ratio: 74.6% (2015 est.)
    total: 30.3 years
    male: 32.1 years
    female: 25.1 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    2.58% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    15.43 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    1.97 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 224
    12.36 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    urban population: 85.5% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 2.87% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    Dubai 2.415 million; Sharjah 1.279 million; ABU DHABI (capital) 1.145 million (2015)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.47 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 3.21 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 2.98 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 1.69 male(s)/female
    total population: 2.18 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    6 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    total: 10.59 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 12.35 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 8.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    total population: 77.29 years
    male: 74.67 years
    female: 80.04 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    2.35 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    3.2% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    2.53 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    1.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    improved:
    urban: 99.6% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 99.6% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 0.4% of population
    rural: 0% of population
    total: 0.4% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 98% of population
    rural: 95.2% of population
    total: 97.6% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 2% of population
    rural: 4.8% of population
    total: 2.4% of population (2015 est.)
    NA
    NA
    NA
    34.5% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    NA
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 93.8%
    male: 93.1%
    female: 95.8% (2005 est.)
    total: 12.1%
    male: 7.9%
    female: 21.8% (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
  • Government :: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • conventional long form: United Arab Emirates
    conventional short form: none
    local long form: Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah
    local short form: none
    former: Trucial Oman, Trucial States
    abbreviation: UAE
    etymology: self-descriptive country name; the name "Arabia" can be traced back many centuries B.C., the ancient Egyptians referred to the region as "Ar Rabi"; "emirates" derives from "amir" the Arabic word for "commander," "lord," or "prince"
    federation of monarchies
    name: Abu Dhabi
    geographic coordinates: 24 28 N, 54 22 E
    time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    7 emirates (imarat, singular - imarah); Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi), 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah (Sharjah), Dubayy (Dubai), Ra's al Khaymah, Umm al Qaywayn
    2 December 1971 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 2 December (1971)
    previous 1971 (provisional); latest drafted in 1979, became permanent May 1996; amended 2009 (2016)
    mixed legal system of Islamic law and civil law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of the United Arab Emirates; if the father is unknown, the mother must be a citizen
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 30 years
    limited; note - rulers of the seven emirates each select a proportion of voters for the Federal National Council (FNC) that together account for about 12 percent of Emirati citizens
    chief of state: President KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 3 November 2004), ruler of Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) (since 4 November 2004); Vice President and Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006)
    head of government: Prime Minister Vice President MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers SAIF bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan, MANSUR bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (both since 11 May 2009)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
    elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the Federal Supreme Council - composed of the rulers of the 7 emirates - for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held 3 November 2009 (next election NA); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president
    election results: KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan reelected president; FSC vote NA
    note: there is also a Federal Supreme Council (FSC) composed of the 7 emirate rulers; the FSC is the highest constitutional authority in the UAE; establishes general policies and sanctions federal legislation; meets 4 times a year; Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) and Dubayy (Dubai) rulers have effective veto power
    description: unicameral Federal National Council or Majlis al-Ittihad al-Watani (40 seats; 20 members appointed by the rulers of the 7 constituent states and 20 indirectly elected by an electoral college whose members are selected by each emirate ruler proportional to its FNC membership; members serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 3 October 2015 (next to be held in 2019); note - the electoral college was expanded from 129,274 electors in the December 2011 election to 224,279 in the October 2015 election; elections for candidates rather than political parties; 347 candidates including 78 women ran for 20 contested seats in the 40-member FNC; 80,000 voters, or 35% of eligible voters, turned out to vote and 19 men and one woman were elected
    election results: elected FNC seats by emirate - Abu Dhabi 4, Dubai 4, Sharjah 3, Ras al-Khaimah 3, Ajman 2, Fujairah 2, Umm al-Quwain 2; note - only 1 woman (from Ras Al Khaimah) won an FNC seat
    highest court(s): Federal Supreme Court (consists of the court president and 4 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the federal president following approval by the Federal Supreme Council, which includes the rulers of the 7 emirates; judge term NA
    subordinate courts: Federal Court of Cassation (determines the constitutionality of laws promulgated at the federal and local (emirate) levels; federal level courts of first instance and appeals courts; each emirate has its own court system
    none; political parties are banned
    NA
    ABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BIS, CAEU, CICA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OIF (observer), OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Yusif bin Mani bin Said al-UTAYBA (since 25 July 2008)
    chancery: 3522 International Court NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 243-2400
    FAX: [1] (202) 243-2432
    consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
    chief of mission: Ambassador Barbara A. LEAF (since 30 December 2014)
    embassy: Embassies District, Plot 38 Sector W59-02, Street No. 4, Abu Dhabi
    mailing address: P. O. Box 4009, Abu Dhabi
    telephone: [971] (2) 414-2200
    FAX: [971] (2) 414-2603
    consulate(s) general: Dubai
    three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and black with a wider vertical red band on the hoist side; the flag incorporates all four Pan-Arab colors, which in this case represent fertility (green), neutrality (white), petroleum resources (black), and unity (red); red was the traditional color incorporated into all flags of the emirates before their unification
    golden falcon; national colors: green, white, black, red
    name: "Nashid al-watani al-imarati" (National Anthem of the UAE)
    lyrics/music: AREF Al Sheikh Abdullah Al Hassan/Mohamad Abdel WAHAB
    note: music adopted 1971, lyrics adopted 1996; Mohamad Abdel WAHAB also composed the music for the anthem of Tunisia
  • Economy :: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%.
    Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the country has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. The country's free trade zones - offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes - are helping to attract foreign investors.
    The global financial crisis of 2008-09, tight international credit, and deflated asset prices constricted the economy in 2009. UAE authorities tried to blunt the crisis by increasing spending and boosting liquidity in the banking sector. The crisis hit Dubai hardest, as it was heavily exposed to depressed real estate prices. Dubai lacked sufficient cash to meet its debt obligations, prompting global concern about its solvency and ultimately a $20 billion bailout from the UAE Central Bank and Abu Dhabi Government that was refinanced in March 2014.
    Dependence on oil, a large expatriate workforce, and growing inflation pressures are significant long-term challenges. Low oil prices have prompted the UAE to take steps to reduce its social spending, including eliminating fuel subsidies in August 2015, but the UAE has sufficient assets to cover its deficits with money from its sovereign investment funds. The UAE's strategic plan for the next few years focuses on economic diversification and creating more job opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.
    $647.8 billion (2015 est.)
    $623.3 billion (2014 est.)
    $596.1 billion (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 33
    $345.5 billion (2015 est.)
    3.9% (2015 est.)
    4.6% (2014 est.)
    4.3% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    $67,600 (2015 est.)
    $67,000 (2014 est.)
    $66,000 (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 12
    27.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
    38.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
    41.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    household consumption: 55.4%
    government consumption: 8.7%
    investment in fixed capital: 27.4%
    investment in inventories: 0.8%
    exports of goods and services: 94.5%
    imports of goods and services: -86.8% (2015 est.)
    agriculture: 0.7%
    industry: 49.4%
    services: 49.8% (2015 est.)
    dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish
    petroleum and petrochemicals; fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, construction materials, handicrafts, textiles
    2.8% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    5.136 million
    note: expatriates account for about 85% of the work force (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    agriculture: 7%
    industry: 15%
    services: 78% (2000 est.)
    2.4% (2001 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    19.5% (2003 est.)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $110.1 billion
    expenditures: $119.8 billion
    note: the UAE federal budget does not account for emirate-level spending in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (2015 est.)
    32.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    -2.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    52.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
    45.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    calendar year
    4.1% (2015 est.)
    2.3% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    NA%
    $130 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $118.7 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    $343.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $287.7 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    $357.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $331.7 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    $67.95 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $71.33 billion (31 December 2011)
    $77.08 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    $13.55 billion (2015 est.)
    $54.63 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    $323.8 billion (2015 est.)
    $370.6 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates (2012 est.)
    Japan 14.8%, Iran 11.4%, India 9.6%, South Korea 5.7%, China 5.5%, Singapore 5.4%, Thailand 4.5% (2014)
    $248.2 billion (2015 est.)
    $239.8 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food
    China 15.7%, India 13.4%, US 8.9%, Germany 5.3% (2014)
    $79.92 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $78.42 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    $171.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $167.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    $126.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $116.4 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    $86.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $81.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    Emirati dirhams (AED) per US dollar -
    3.673 (2015 est.)
    3.673 (2014 est.)
    3.673 (2013 est.)
    3.67 (2012 est.)
    3.673 (2011 est.)
  • Energy :: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • 100.5 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    93.28 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    27.23 million kW (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    99.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    0.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    2.82 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    2.5 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    97.8 billion bbl (1 January 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    487,000 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    694,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    364,500 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    341,700 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    54.6 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    66.69 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    7.4 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    19.49 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    6.089 trillion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    234.1 million Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
  • Communications :: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • total subscriptions: 2.1 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    total: 16.8 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 299 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    general assessment: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile-cellular telephones; key centers are Abu Dhabi and Dubai
    domestic: microwave radio relay, fiber optic and coaxial cable
    international: country code - 971; linked to the international submarine cable FLAG (Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe); landing point for both the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable networks; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; tropospheric scatter to Bahrain; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia (2011)
    except for the many organizations now operating in Dubai's Media Free Zone, most TV and radio stations remain government-owned; widespread use of satellite dishes provides access to pan-Arab and other international broadcasts (2007)
    AM 13, FM 8, shortwave 2 (2004)
    15 (2004)
    .ae
    337,804 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    total: 5.2 million
    percent of population: 93.2% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
  • Transportation :: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • 43 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    total: 25
    over 3,047 m: 12
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
    914 to 1,523 m: 3
    under 914 m: 2 (2013)
    total: 18
    over 3,047 m: 1
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
    914 to 1,523 m: 6
    under 914 m: 6 (2013)
    5 (2013)
    condensate 533 km; gas 3,277 km; liquid petroleum gas 300 km; oil 3,287 km; oil/gas/water 24 km; refined products 218 km; water 99 km (2013)
    total: 4,080 km
    paved: 4,080 km (includes 253 km of expressways) (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    total: 61
    by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 13, chemical tanker 8, container 7, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 24, roll on/roll off 4
    foreign-owned: 13 (Greece 3, Kuwait 10)
    registered in other countries: 253 (Bahamas 23, Barbados 1, Belize 3, Cambodia 2, Comoros 8, Cyprus 3, Georgia 2, Gibraltar 5, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 1, India 4, Iran 2, Jordan 2, Liberia 37, Malta 1, Marshall Islands 12, Mexico 1, Netherlands 4, North Korea 2, Panama 83, Papua New Guinea 6, Philippines 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 8, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Saudi Arabia 6, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 10, Tanzania 3, Togo 1, UK 8, Vanuatu 1, unknown 8) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    major seaport(s): Al Fujayrah, Mina' Jabal 'Ali (Dubai), Khor Fakkan (Khawr Fakkan), Mubarraz Island, Mina' Rashid (Dubai), Mina' Saqr (Ra's al Khaymah)
    container port(s) (TEUs): Dubai Port (12,617,595), Khor Fakkan (Khawr Fakkan) (3,234,101)
    LNG terminal(s) (export): Das Island
  • Military and Security :: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • United Arab Emirates Armed Forces: Critical Infrastructure Coastal Patrol Agency (CICPA), Land Forces, Navy, Air Force and Air Defense, Presidential Guard (2015)
    18-30 years of age for compulsory military service for men, optional service for women; 17 years of age for male volunteers with parental approval; 2-year general obligation, 9 months for secondary school graduates; women may train for 9 months regardless of education (2014)
    NA% (2012)
    5.5% of GDP (2011)
  • Transnational Issues :: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • boundary agreement was signed and ratified with Oman in 2003 for entire border, including Oman's Musandam Peninsula and Al Madhah enclaves, but contents of the agreement and detailed maps showing the alignment have not been published; Iran and UAE dispute Tunb Islands and Abu Musa Island, which Iran occupies
    the UAE is a drug transshipment point for traffickers given its proximity to Southwest Asian drug-producing countries; the UAE's position as a major financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering; anti-money-laundering controls improving, but informal banking remains unregulated
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