Photos of United Arab Emirates

South and west of Abu Dhabi, vast, rolling sand dunes merge into the Rub' al Khali (Empty Quarter). The Rub' al Khali  is a sand desert encompassing the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula, including southern Saudi Arabia, and areas of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The desert covers some 650,000 sq km (250,000 sq mi).



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). Ra's al Khaymah joined in 1972.

The UAE's per-capita GDP is on par with those of leading West European nations. For more than three decades, oil and global finance drove the UAE's economy. 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 did not experience the "Arab Spring" unrest seen elsewhere in the Middle East in 2010-11, partly because of the government's multi-year, $1.6-billion infrastructure investment plan for the poorer northern emirates, and its aggressive pursuit of advocates for political reform.

The UAE in recent years has played a growing role in regional affairs. In addition to donating billions of dollars in economic aid to help stabilize Egypt, the UAE was one of the first countries to join the Defeat ISIS coalition, and to participate as a key partner in a Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. In 2020, the UAE and Bahrain signed a peace agreement (the Abraham Accords) with Israel -- brokered by the US -- in Washington, D.C. The UAE and Bahrain thus became the third and fourth Middle Eastern countries, along with Egypt and Jordan, to recognize Israel.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates

24 00 N, 54 00 E

Map references

Middle East


total: 83,600 sq km

land: 83,600 sq km

water: 0 sq km

comparison ranking: total 115

Area - comparative

slightly larger than South Carolina; slightly smaller than Maine

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 1,066 km

border countries (2): Oman 609 km; Saudi Arabia 457 km


1,318 km

Maritime claims

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


highest point: Jabal Bil 'Ays 1,905 m

lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m

mean elevation: 149 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas

Land use

agricultural land: 4.6% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.5% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.5% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 3.6% (2018 est.)

forest: 3.8% (2018 est.)

other: 91.6% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

898 sq km (2020)

Population distribution

population is heavily concentrated to the northeast on the Musandam Peninsula; the three largest emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah - are home to nearly 85% of the population

Natural hazards

frequent sand and dust storms

Geography - note

strategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil; Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) and Dubayy (Dubai) together account for over 90% of the area of the country and two-thirds of the population

People and Society


total: 10,032,213

male: 6,824,131

female: 3,208,082 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 111; male 76; total 94


noun: Emirati(s)

adjective: Emirati

Ethnic groups

Emirati 11.6%, South Asian 59.4% (includes Indian 38.2%, Bangladeshi 9.5%, Pakistani 9.4%, other 2.3%), Egyptian 10.2%, Filipino 6.1%, other 12.8% (2015 est.)

note: data represent the total population; as of 2019, immigrants make up about 87.9% of the total population, according to UN data


Arabic (official), English, Hindi, Malayalam, Urdu, Pashto, Tagalog, Persian

major-language sample(s):
كتاب حقائق العالم، المصدر الذي لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه للمعلومات الأساسية (Arabic)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Arabic audio sample:


Muslim 74.5% (official) (Sunni 63.3%, Shia 6.7%, other 4.4%), Christian 12.9%, Hindu 6.2%, Buddhist 3.2%, agnostic 1.3%, other 1.9% (2020 est.)

note: data represent the total population; as of 2020, immigrants make up about 88.1% of the total population, according to UN data

MENA religious affiliation

Age structure

0-14 years: 16.4% (male 842,577/female 802,302)

15-64 years: 81.4% (male 5,812,470/female 2,353,750)

65 years and over: 2.2% (2024 est.) (male 169,084/female 52,030)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 20.3

youth dependency ratio: 18.2

elderly dependency ratio: 2.1

potential support ratio: 47.3 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 35.8 years (2024 est.)

male: 38.1 years

female: 29.8 years

comparison ranking: total 95

Population growth rate

0.6% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 140

Birth rate

10.7 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 174

Death rate

1.7 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 228

Net migration rate

-3.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 181

Population distribution

population is heavily concentrated to the northeast on the Musandam Peninsula; the three largest emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah - are home to nearly 85% of the population


urban population: 87.8% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

3.008 million Dubai, 1.831 million Sharjah, 1.567 million ABU DHABI (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 2.47 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 3.25 male(s)/female

total population: 2.13 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

9 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 147

Infant mortality rate

total: 5 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 5.5 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.4 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 175

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.9 years (2024 est.)

male: 78.6 years

female: 81.4 years

comparison ranking: total population 60

Total fertility rate

1.61 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 182

Gross reproduction rate

0.78 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

5.5% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

2.6 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

31.7% (2016)

comparison ranking: 20

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 2.03 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.21 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.14 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 1.65 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.02 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 130

Education expenditures

3.9% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 122


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98.1%

male: 98.8%

female: 97.2% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 15 years

female: 17 years (2020)


Environment - current issues

air pollution; rapid population growth and high energy demand contribute to water scarcity; lack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; land degradation and desertification; waste generation, beach pollution from oil spills

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea


desert; cooler in eastern mountains

Land use

agricultural land: 4.6% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.5% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.5% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 3.6% (2018 est.)

forest: 3.8% (2018 est.)

other: 91.6% (2018 est.)


urban population: 87.8% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 159

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 57

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 41.75 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 206.32 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 56.55 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 5,413,453 tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 1,082,691 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 20% (2015 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 2.63 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 69 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 2.32 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

150 million cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

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"

Government type

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)

etymology: in Arabic, abu means "father" and dhabi refers to "gazelle"; the name may derive from an abundance of gazelles that used to live in the area, as well as a folk tale involving the "Father of the Gazelle," Shakhbut BIN DHIYAB AL NAHYAN, whose hunting party tracked a gazelle to a spring on the island where Abu Dhabi was founded

Administrative divisions

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)

National holiday

Independence Day (National Day), 2 December (1971)


history: previous 1971 (provisional); latest drafted in 1979, became permanent May 1996

amendments: proposed by the Supreme Council and submitted to the Federal National Council; passage requires at least a two-thirds majority vote of Federal National Council members present and approval of the Supreme Council president; amended 2009

Legal system

mixed legal system of Islamic (sharia) law and civil law

International law organization participation

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

Executive branch

chief of state: President MUHAMMAD BIN ZAYID Al Nuhayyan (since 14 May 2022); Co-Vice President MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al Maktum (since 5 January 2006); Co-Vice President MANSUR bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan (since 29 March 2023); Crown Prince KHALID bin Muhammad Al Nuhayyan, the eldest son of the monarch, born 14 November 1982; note - MUHAMMAD BIN ZAYID Al Nuhayyan elected president by the Federal Supreme Council following the death of President KHALIFA bin Zayid Al nNuhayyan on 13 May 2022

head of government: Prime Minister and Co-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) and MAKTUM bin Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktum (since 25 September 2021)

cabinet: Council of Ministers announced by the prime minister and approved 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); unscheduled election held on 14 May 2022, following the death of President KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (next election expected in 2027); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president

election results: 2022: MUHAMMAD BIN ZAYID Al-Nuhayyan elected president; Federal Supreme Council vote - NA

note: the Federal Supreme Council (FSC) is composed of the 7 emirate rulers and is the highest constitutional authority in the UAE; the FSC establishes general policies and sanctions federal legislation; meets 4 times a year; Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) and Dubayy (Dubai) rulers have effective veto power

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Federal National Council (FNC) or Majlis al-Ittihad al-Watani (40 seats; 20 members indirectly elected using single non-transferable vote by an electoral college whose members are selected by each emirate ruler proportional to its FNC membership, and 20 members appointed by the rulers of the 7 constituent states; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held for indirectly elected members on 7 October 2023 (next to be held in October 2027); last held for appointed members in October 2023 (next appointments expected in late 2027)

election results: seats by emirate - Abu Dhabi 4, Dubai 4, Sharjah 3, Ras al-Khaimah 3, Ajman 2, Fujairah 2, Umm al-Quwain 2; composition - 13 men, 7 women, percentage elected women 35%; note - to attain overall FNC gender parity, 13 women and 7 men were appointed; total FNC percentage of women 50%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Federal Supreme Court (consists of the court president and 4 judges; jurisdiction limited to federal cases)

judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the federal president following approval by the Federal Supreme Council, the highest executive and legislative authority consisting of the 7 emirate rulers; judges serve until retirement age or the expiry of their appointment terms

subordinate courts: Federal Court of Cassation (determines the constitutionality of laws promulgated at the federal and emirate level; federal level courts of first instance and appeals courts); the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Ra's al Khaymah have parallel court systems; the other 4 emirates have incorporated their courts into the federal system; note - the Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts and the Dubai International Financial Center Courts, the country’s two largest financial free zones, both adjudicate civil and commercial disputes.

Political parties and leaders

none; political parties are banned; all candidates run as independents

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Yousif Mana Saeed Ahmed AL OTAIBA (since 28 July 2008)

chancery: 3522 International Court NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 243-2400

FAX: [1] (202) 243-2408

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Boston, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Martina A. STRONG (since 4 October 2023)

embassy: Embassies District, Plot 38, Sector W59-02, Street No. 4, Abu Dhabi

mailing address: 6010 Abu Dhabi Place, Washington DC 20521-6010

telephone: [971] (2) 414-2200

FAX: [971] (2) 414-2241

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Dubai

Flag description

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

National symbol(s)

golden falcon; national colors: green, white, black, red

National anthem

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 1 (cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Cultural Sites of Al Ain (Hafit, Hili, Bidaa Bint Saud, and Oases Areas)


Economic overview

historically oil-driven Middle Eastern economy; diversifying into a trade-oriented logistics and supply chain leader; strong foreign direct investment orientation; building trade and investment ties through partnership agreements; growing banking sector; recent economic linkages with Israel slowing due to Gaza conflict

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$707.307 billion (2022 est.)
$655.823 billion (2021 est.)
$628.455 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 34

Real GDP growth rate

7.85% (2022 est.)
4.35% (2021 est.)
-4.96% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 35

Real GDP per capita

$74,900 (2022 est.)
$70,000 (2021 est.)
$67,700 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 9

GDP (official exchange rate)

$507.064 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

4.83% (2022 est.)
-0.01% (2021 est.)
-2.08% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 72

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AA- (2020)

Moody's rating: Aa2 (2007)

Standard & Poors rating: AA (2007)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 49.8% (2017 est.)

services: 49.2% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 182; industry 13; agriculture 201

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 34.9% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 12.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 23% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 1.8% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 100.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -72.4% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

dates, cucumbers/gherkins, camel milk, goat milk, tomatoes, eggs, goat meat, milk, chicken, camel meat (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage


petroleum and petrochemicals; fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizer, commercial ship repair, construction materials, handicrafts, textiles

Industrial production growth rate

8.49% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 25

Labor force

6.589 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 70

Unemployment rate

2.97% (2022 est.)
3.11% (2021 est.)
4.29% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 40

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 10.7% (2021 est.)

male: 7.9%

female: 19.9%

comparison ranking: total 149

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

26 (2018 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 171

Average household expenditures

on food: 13.6% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 0.4% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 4%

highest 10%: 20% (2018 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population


revenues: $129.741 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $127.262 billion (2019 est.)

note: the UAE federal budget does not account for emirate-level spending in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 51

Public debt

19.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
20.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
1.85% of GDP (2013 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 189

Taxes and other revenues

0.54% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 213

Current account balance

$26.47 billion (2017 est.)
$13.23 billion (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 19


$335.238 billion (2020 est.)
$404.046 billion (2019 est.)
$392.863 billion (2018 est.)

note: GDP expenditure basis - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 27

Exports - partners

India 13%, Japan 10%, China 8%, Saudi Arabia 7%, Iraq 5% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, refined petroleum, gold, broadcasting equipment, natural gas (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars


$246.886 billion (2020 est.)
$295.6 billion (2019 est.)
$281.536 billion (2018 est.)

note: GDP expenditure basis - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 32

Imports - partners

China 18%, India 10%, US 6%, UK 4%, Saudi Arabia 3% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

gold, broadcasting equipment, refined petroleum, diamonds, cars (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$138.433 billion (2022 est.)
$131.117 billion (2021 est.)
$106.702 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 24

Debt - external

$237.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$218.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 34

Exchange rates

Emirati dirhams (AED) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
3.673 (2022 est.)
3.673 (2021 est.)
3.673 (2020 est.)
3.673 (2019 est.)
3.673 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 35.173 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 122.386 billion kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 257 million kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 245 million kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 7.011 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 32; transmission/distribution losses 176; imports 99; exports 84; consumption 30

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 95.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 1.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Nuclear energy

Number of operational nuclear reactors: 3 (2023)

Number of nuclear reactors under construction: 1

Net capacity of operational nuclear reactors: 4.01GW (2023)

Percent of total electricity production: 1.3% (2021)

Percent of total energy produced: 0.17% (2021)

Number of nuclear reactors permanently shut down: 0


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 2.563 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 2,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 2.565 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 3,769,100 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 863,700 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 2,427,200 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 172,900 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 97.8 billion barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

943,500 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 19

Refined petroleum products - exports

817,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 10

Refined petroleum products - imports

392,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 23

Natural gas

production: 62,889,064,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 73,750,936,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 7,673,768,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

imports: 20,041,951,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 6,090,887,000,000 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

276.236 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 5.032 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 126.524 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 144.681 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 24

Energy consumption per capita

471.788 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 4


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2.286 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 24 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 49

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 20.036 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 212 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 63

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the UAE has a strong mobile market; while the 5G penetration rate is the second highest globally after China; this has underpinned growth in the mobile broadband sector, and has enabled the strong development in the take-up of rich content and applications, as well as m-commerce; to help increase the capacity of 5G networks in coming years, and so keep up with data demand, the government has allowed for the GSM networks to be closed down and for spectrum and other assets to be re-purposed for 5G by the end of 2022; the fixed-broadband network in the UAE is dominated by fiber, with DSL having a minor and declining presence; this focus on a fully fiber infrastructure has also facilitated growth in e-commerce, and has supported the government’s long-term aim of transitioning the economy from its dependence on oil to being knowledge-based and supported by digital services; the country stands to benefit from having signed the Abraham Accord Declaration with Israel, which aims to normalize relations between the two countries; such benefits can be seen in the agreement to enable local ISPs to access Bezeq International’s submarine cable infrastructure, and so improve direct connectivity to Europe, South East Asia, and Africa; the UAE’s ISPs can also access Bezeq International’s data center in Tel Aviv, improving internet services (2022)

domestic: fixed-line is 24 per 100 and mobile-cellular is 190 per 100 (2021)

international: country code - 971; landing points for the FLAG, SEA-ME-WE-3 ,-4 & -5, Qater UAE Submarine Cable System, FALCON, FOG, Tat TGN-Gulf, OMRAN/EPEG Cable System, AAE-1, BBG, EIG, FEA, GBICS/MENA, IMEWE, Orient Express, TEAMS, TW1 and the UAE-Iran submarine cables, linking to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian) (2020)

Broadcast media

except for the many organizations now operating in media free zones in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, most TV and radio stations remain government-owned; widespread use of satellite dishes provides access to pan-Arab and other international broadcasts; restrictions since June 2017 on some satellite channels and websites originating from or otherwise linked to Qatar, but in early 2023 Abu Dhabi unblocked several sites, including Al Jazeera (2022)

Internet users

total: 9.4 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 100% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 61

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 3,245,123 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 33 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 45


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 10 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 497

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 95,533,069 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 15,962,900,000 (2018) mt-km


42 (2024)

comparison ranking: 97


203 (2024)


533 km condensate, 3,277 km gas, 300 km liquid petroleum gas, 3287 km oil, 24 km oil/gas/water, 218 km refined products, 99 km water (2013)


total: 4,080 km

paved: 4,080 km (2008) (includes 253 km of expressways)

comparison ranking: total 156

Merchant marine

total: 655 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 2, container ship 3, general cargo 122, oil tanker 16, other 512

comparison ranking: total 35


total ports: 20 (2024)

large: 1

medium: 4

small: 9

very small: 6

ports with oil terminals: 17

key ports: Abu Zaby, Jabal Az Zannah/Ruways, Khawr Fakkan, Mina Jabal Ali, Zirkuh

Military and Security

Military and security forces

United Arab Emirates Armed Forces: Land Forces, Navy Forces, Air Force, Presidential Guard (includes special operations forces)

Ministry of Interior: Coast Guard Forces, Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Patrol Agency (CICPA) (2024)

note: each emirate maintains a local police force called a general directorate, which is officially a branch of the federal Ministry of Interior; all emirate-level general directorates of police enforce their respective emirate’s laws autonomously; they also enforce federal laws within their emirate in coordination with one another under the federal ministry; the State Security Directorate (SSD) in Abu Dhabi and Dubai State Security (DSS) have primary responsible for counterterrorism law enforcement efforts; local, emirate-level police forces, especially the Abu Dhabi Police and Dubai Police, are the first responders in such cases and provide technical assistance to SSD and DSS

Military expenditures

4% of GDP (2022 est.)
5% of GDP (2021 est.)
5.6% of GDP (2020 est.)
5.4% of GDP (2019 est.)
5.5% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 20

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 65,000 active personnel (45,000 Land Forces; 3,000 Navy; 5,000 Air Force; 12,000 Presidential Guard) (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory is comprised of a wide variety of mostly modern imported equipment; over the past decade, the UAE has acquired military equipment from more than 20 countries with the US as the leading supplier; in recent years, the UAE has tried to boost its domestic defense industry (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age for compulsory military service for men (compulsory service initiated in 2014); 18-40 for voluntary service; 36-month service obligation for men without a secondary education and 11 months for secondary school graduates; women may volunteer (11-month service obligation regardless of education) (2023)

note 1: compulsory service may be completed in the uniformed military, the Ministry of Interior, or other security institutions designated by the military leadership

note 2: the UAE military employs a considerable number of foreign personnel on contracted service

Military deployments

continues to maintain a small force in Yemen; also maintains some troops at military bases in Eritrea and Somalia (Somaliland) (2023)

note: in 2015, UAE intervened militarily in Yemen as part of the Saudi-led coalition in support of the Republic of Yemen Government with an estimated 3,500 troops, as well as supporting air and naval forces; UAE withdrew its main military force from Yemen in 2019, but has retained a small military presence while working with proxies in southern Yemen, most notably the Southern Transitional Council (STC)

Military - note

the UAE Armed Forces (UAEAF) are responsible for external defense and supporting the UAE’s foreign policy objectives; the military’s primary concerns include terrorism, regional instability, particularly in neighboring Yemen, and Iran, including a territorial dispute over three islands in the Strait of Hormuz and Iranian support to proxy forces in the region; in recent years, the UAE has undertaken a large military modernization program to go along with an assertive security policy which has included military interventions in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, as well as peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and Somalia; the UAEAF has organized, trained, and equipped tens of thousands of militia forces in Yemen and offered training and equipment to several countries in Africa; the UAE also hosts the region’s first military school for women, which has trained female peacekeepers for deployment in Africa and Asia

the UAE has strong security ties to France and the US; it hosts a multi-service French military base, which includes the French naval command for the Indian Ocean (ALINDIEN); the UAE has a defense cooperation agreement with the US and hosts about 3,500 US troops, mostly air and naval personnel; it also has defense ties with a variety of other countries, including Australia, China, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Malaysia, South Korea, and the UK, as well as NATO and fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, particularly Saudi Arabia

the UAEAF traces its origins to the establishment of the Trucial Oman Scouts in 1951, a joint UK-Abu Dhabi organization modeled after Jordan’s Arab Legion, which became the Abu Dhabi Defense Force in 1965; the modern UAEAF were formed in 1976; the modern UAE military is considered to be one of the best-trained and most capable forces in the Persian Gulf region; the Land Forces have approximately five brigades of armored, light infantry, and mechanized forces, plus supporting artillery units; the Presidential Guard, considered the elite of the Land Forces, has a mechanized brigade and a special operations command; the Air Forces and the Joint Aviation Command together have nearly 150 French- and US-made combat aircraft with more advanced US multipurpose fighters on order; the Navy’s principal warships include more than a dozen corvettes and offshore patrol vessels, also with more on order (2023)


Space agency/agencies

UAE Space Agency (created in 2014); Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC; established 2006); in 2015, MBRSC combined with the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST; established 2006) (2024)

Space program overview

has an ambitious and growing space program and is recognized as one of the leading programs in the region; focused on satellite development, including communications, remote sensing, and navigational; also placing emphasis on building expertise, infrastructure, ground stations, technology, and research and development capabilities to support its space program domestically; rather than building its own launch capabilities, has elected to utilize foreign partners to launch payloads from spaceports abroad; has looked to invest heavily in foreign commercial space companies and  encourage global partnerships; has a foreign-assisted astronaut training program; seeking to establish UAE as an international hub for space education; has signed more than 25 cooperation agreements or memorandums of understanding with major global and regional players in the space sector, including the Arab Space Cooperation Group, China, the European Space Agency (ESA), France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the UK, and the US; sees the development of its commercial space industry as a key pillar for diversifying and developing the country’s non-oil economy; dozens of space companies and entities operate in the UAE, including international and start-ups, plus several space science research centers (2024)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 5 (mid-year 2021)

Illicit drugs

major source of precursor chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics