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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 Zaby, '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 generosity with 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. In March 2011, about 100 Emirati... See More



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

Geographic Coordinates:

 24 00 N, 54 00 E


 Total: 83,600 sq km
Land: 83,600 sq km
Water: 0 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly smaller than Maine

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 867 km
Border countries: Oman 410 km, Saudi Arabia 457 km


 1,318 km (Rank: 73)

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 wasteland; mountains in east

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
Highest point: Jabal Yibir 1,527 m

Natural Resources:

 Petroleum, natural gas

Land Use:

 Arable land: 0.77%
Permanent crops: 2.27%
Other: 96.96% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 2,300 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 0.2 cu km (1997)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 2.3 cu km/yr (23%/9%/68%)
Per capita: 511 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural Hazards:

 Frequent sand and dust storms

Environment - Current Issues:

 Lack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills

Environment - International Agreements:

 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

Geography - Note:

 Strategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil

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 Noun: Emirati(s)
Adjective: Emirati

Ethnic Groups:

 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 96% (Shia 16%), other (includes Christian, Hindu) 4%


 5,148,664 (July 2011 est.)

Note: estimate is based on the results of the 2005 census that included a significantly higher estimate of net immigration of non-citizens than previous estimates

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 20.4% (male 537,925/female 513,572)
15-64 years: 78.7% (male 2,968,958/female 1,080,717)
65 years and over: 0.9% (male 30,446/female 17,046)

Note: 73.9% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 30.2 years
Male: 32.1 years
Female: 24.9 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 3.282% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 15.87 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 2.06 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 19 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 84% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 2.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 ABU DHABI (capital) 666,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 2.75 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.8 male(s)/female
Total population: 2.2 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 10 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 11.94 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 13.96 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 9.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 76.51 years
Male: 73.94 years
Female: 79.22 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 2.4 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 2.8% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 1.93 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital Bed Density:

 1.9 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 100% of population
Total: 100% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 98% of population
Rural: 95% of population
Total: 97% of population
Urban: 2% of population
Rural: 5% of population
Total: 3% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0.2% (2001 est.)

Obesity - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 33.7% (2000)

Education Expenditures:

 1.2% of GDP (2009)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 77.9%
Male: 76.1%
Female: 81.7% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 13 years
Male: 13 years
Female: 14 years (2009)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 12.1%
Male: 7.9%
Female: 21.8% (2008)

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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

Government Type:

 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)

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 (Quwain)


 2 December 1971 (from the UK)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 2 December (1971)


 2 December 1971; made permanent in 1996

Legal System:

 Mixed legal system of Islamic law and civil law

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Executive Branch:

 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

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 2009 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

Legislative Branch:

 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; 469 candidates including 85 women ran for 20 contested FNC seats

Note: the FNC reviews legislation but cannot change or veto

Judicial Branch:

 Union Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)

Political Parties and Leaders:

 None; political parties are not allowed

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 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

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 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

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 Symbols:

 Golden falcon

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

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Economy - Overview:

 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 UAE 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 and 2010. 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. The economy is expected to continue a slow rebound. 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.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $246.8 billion (2010 est.)
$239.1 billion (2009 est.)
$246.9 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $301.9 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 3.2% (2010 est.)
-3.2% (2009 est.)
5.3% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $49,600 (2010 est.)
$49,800 (2009 est.)
$53,400 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 0.9%
Industry: 55.5%
Services: 43.6% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 3.705 million

Note: expatriates account for about 85% of the work force (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 7%
Industry: 15%
Services: 78% (2000 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

 2.4% (2001)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 19.5% (2003)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 23.8% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $85.77 billion
Expenditures: $92.15 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 28.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -2.1% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 51.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
55% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 0.9% (2010 est.)
1.6% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:


Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 5.2% (31 December 2010 est.)
5.9% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $56.71 billion (31 December 2008)
$49.5 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $127 billion (31 December 2008)
$104.6 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $63.43 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$60.84 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $214.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$201.6 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $274.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$263.6 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $104.7 billion (31 December 2010)
$109.6 billion (31 December 2009)
$97.85 billion (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - Products:

 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

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 3.2% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 80.94 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 100%
Hydro: 0%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 70.58 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 2.813 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 545,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 2.395 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 235,300 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 97.8 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 48.84 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 59.08 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 7.01 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 17.25 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 6.453 trillion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 $6.053 billion (2010 est.)
$7.826 billion (2009 est.)


 $212.3 billion (2010 est.)
$191.8 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates

Exports - Partners:

 Japan 17.1%, India 13.6%, Iran 6.9%, South Korea 6.1%, Thailand 5.1% (2010)


 $161.4 billion (2010 est.)
$149.7 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food

Imports - Partners:

 India 17.5%, China 14%, US 7.7%, Germany 5.6%, Japan 4.8% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $42.79 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$36.1 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $151.8 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$149 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - Abroad:

 $53.43 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$51.41 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - At Home:

 $74.13 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$70.18 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert UAE Dirham to Any Currency

Emirati dirhams (AED) per US dollar -
3.673 (2010)
3.673 (2009)
3.6725 (2008)
3.6725 (2007)
3.6725 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 1.48 million (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 10.926 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 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

Broadcast Media:

 Except for the many organizations now operating in Dubai's Media Free Zone, most television and radio stations remain government-owned; widespread use of satellite dishes provides access to pan-Arab and other international broadcasts (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 13, FM 8, shortwave 2 (2004)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 15 (2004)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 379,309 (2010)

Internet Users:

 3.449 million (2009)

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 41 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 25
Over 3,047 m: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
Under 914 m: 2 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 16
Over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 5
Under 914 m: 5 (2010)


 5 (2010)


 Condensate 458 km; refined products 212 km; gas 2,352 km; liquid petroleum gas 220 km; oil 1,437 km (2010)


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

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 57
By type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 9, chemical tanker 7, 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: 278 (Bahamas 27, Belize 5, Cambodia 2, Comoros 11, Cyprus 5, Georgia 1, Gibraltar 5, Hong Kong 2, India 4, Iran 1, Jordan 7, Liberia 27, Malta 1, Marshall Islands 17, Mexico 1, Netherlands 4, North Korea 6, Panama 83, Papua New Guinea 6, Philippines 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 17, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4, Saudi Arabia 6, Sierra Leone 6, Singapore 10, Tanzania 1, Togo 1, UK 9, Vanuatu 1, unknown 7) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Al Fujayrah, Mina' Jabal 'Ali (Dubai), Khawr Fakkan (Khor Fakkan), Mubarraz Island, Mina' Rashid (Dubai), Mina' Saqr (Ra's al Khaymah)

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Military Branches:

 United Arab Emirates Armed Forces: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force and Air Defense, Border and Coast Guard Directorate (BCGD) (2009)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18 years of age for voluntary military service; 18 years of age for officers and women; no conscription; 16-22 years of age for candidates for the UAE Naval College (2011)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 2,676,928 (includes non-nationals)
Females age 16-49: 981,649 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 2,229,366
Females age 16-49: 842,759 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 27,439
Female: 24,419 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 3.1% of GDP (2005 est.)

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Disputes - International:

 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

Illicit Drugs:

 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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Last Updated: December 2011

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