Middle East :: 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.

Geography ::United Arab Emirates

People and Society ::United Arab Emirates

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
    federation with specified powers delegated to the UAE federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates
    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)
    2 December 1971; made permanent in 1996
    mixed legal system of Islamic law and civil law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    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 the native Emirati population
    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 and Vice President MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers SAIF bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 11 May 2009) and MANSUR bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 11 May 2009)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    note: there is also a Federal Supreme Council (FSC) composed of the seven emirate rulers; the FSC is the highest constitutional authority in the UAE; establishes general policies and sanctions federal legislation; meets four times a year; Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) and Dubayy (Dubai) rulers have effective veto power
    elections: president and vice president elected by the FSC for five-year terms (no term limits) from among the seven FSC members; election last held 3 November 2004 upon the death of the UAE's Founding Father and first President ZAYID bin Sultan Al Nuhayyan (next election NA); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president
    election results: KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan elected president by a unanimous vote of the FSC; MUHAMMAD bin Rashid Al-Maktum unanimously affirmed vice president after the 2006 death of his brother Sheikh MAKTUM bin Rashid Al-Maktum
    unicameral Federal National Council (FNC) or Majlis al-Ittihad al-Watani (40 seats; 20 members appointed by the rulers of the constituent states, 20 members elected to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held on 24 September 2011 (next to be held in 2015); note - the electoral college was expanded from 6,689 voters in the December 2006 election to 129,274 in the September 2011 election; elections for candidates rather than party lists; 469 candidates including 85 women ran for 20 contested FNC seats
    election results: elected seats by emirate - Abu Dhabi 4, Dubai 4, Sharjah 3, Ras al-Khaimah 3, Ajman 2, Fujairah 2, Umm al-Quwain 2; note - number of appointed seats for each emirate are same as elected seats
    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 not allowed
    chief of mission: Ambassador Yusif bin Mani bin Said al-UTAYBA
    chancery: 3522 International Court NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 243-2400
    FAX: [1] (202) 243-2432
    chief of mission: Ambassador Michael H. CORBIN
    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
    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. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement with the US; however, those talks have not moved forward. The country's Free Trade Zones - offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes - are helping to attract foreign investors. The global financial crisis, 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. The UAE Central Bank and Abu Dhabi-based banks bought the largest shares. In December 2009 Dubai received an additional $10 billion loan from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Dependence on oil, a large expatriate workforce, and growing inflation pressures are significant long-term challenges. The UAE's strategic plan for the next few years focuses on diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.
    $275.8 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    $265.4 billion (2011 est.)
    $252.3 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $358.9 billion (2012 est.)
    3.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    5.2% (2011 est.)
    1.3% (2010 est.)
    $49,800 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    $49,400 (2011 est.)
    $48,400 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    37% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    37.4% of GDP (2011 est.)
    32.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 50.5%
    government consumption: 7.1%
    investment in fixed capital: 29%
    investment in inventories: 0.9%
    exports of goods and services: 86.6%
    imports of goods and services: -74.1%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 0.8%
    industry: 56%
    services: 43.2% (2012 est.)
    dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish
    petroleum and petrochemicals; fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, construction materials, some boat building, handicrafts, textiles
    4.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    4.337 million
    country comparison to the world: 87
    note: expatriates account for about 85% of the work force (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 7%
    industry: 15%
    services: 78% (2000 est.)
    2.4% (2001)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    19.5% (2003)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $130.3 billion
    expenditures: $114.2 billion (2012 est.)
    36.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    4.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    43.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    46.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    0.7% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    0.9% (2011 est.)
    $80.53 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    $71.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $234.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    $224.8 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $313.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    $293.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $93.77 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    $104.7 billion (31 December 2010)
    $109.6 billion (31 December 2009)
    $26.76 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    $30.65 billion (2011 est.)
    $300.9 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    $281.6 billion (2011 est.)
    crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates
    Japan 15.6%, India 13.4%, Iran 10.5%, Thailand 5.6%, Singapore 5.5%, South Korea 5.3% (2012)
    $220.3 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    $202.1 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food
    India 17%, China 13.8%, US 10.5%, Germany 5.2%, Japan 4.2% (2012)
    $42.97 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    $37.27 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $163.8 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    $159.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $91.56 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    $83.36 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $58.1 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    $55.6 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    Emirati dirhams (AED) per US dollar -
    3.673 (2012 est.)
    3.673 (2011 est.)
    3.6725 (2010 est.)
    3.673 (2009)
    3.6725 (2008)

Energy ::United Arab Emirates

Communications ::United Arab Emirates

    1.825 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    11.727 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    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)
    337,804 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    3.449 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 61

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
    country comparison to the world: 157
    paved: 4,080 km (includes 253 km of expressways) (2008)
    total: 61
    country comparison to the world: 65
    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)
    Al Fujayrah, Mina' Jabal 'Ali (Dubai), Khor Fakkan (Khawr Fakkan), Mubarraz Island, Mina' Rashid (Dubai), Mina' Saqr (Ra's al Khaymah)

Military ::United Arab Emirates

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