United Arab Emirates

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Introduction - United Arab Emirates:


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 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 Ras al Khaymah. The UAEs 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.

Location - United Arab Emirates:


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

Area comparative

slightly smaller than Maine

Land boundaries

total: 867 km
border countries: Oman 410 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 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

760 sq km (2003)

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

People - United Arab Emirates:


note: estimate is based on the results of the 2005 census that included a significantly higher estimate of net inmigration of non-citizens than previous estimates (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.6% (male 467,931/female 447,045)
15-64 years: 78.5% (male 2,558,029/female 932,617)
65 years and over: 0.9% (male 24,914/female 13,475)
note: 73.9% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 30.1 years
male: 32 years
female: 24.5 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

3.997% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

16.09 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

2.16 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

26.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.047 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 2.743 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.849 male(s)/female
total population: 2.19 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 13.52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 15.77 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.69 years
male: 73.16 years
female: 78.35 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.43 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate

0.18% (2001 est.)

Hiv aids people living with hiv aids


Hiv aids deaths



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)


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


Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 77.9%
male: 76.1%
female: 81.7% (2003 est.)

Government - United Arab Emirates:

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), Ras al Khaymah, Umm al Qaywayn (Quwayn)


2 December 1971 (from UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 2 December (1971)


2 December 1971; made permanent in 1996

Legal system

based on a dual system of Sharia and civil courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction



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 SULTAN bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan (since 20 November 1990) and HAMDAN bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan (since 20 October 2003)
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); election last held 3 November 2004 upon the death of the UAEs Founding Father and first President ZAYID bin Sultan Al Nuhayyan (next to be held in 2009); 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 two-year terms)
elections: elections for one half of the FNC (the other half remains appointed) held in the UAE on 18-20 December 2006; the new electoral college - a body of 6,689 Emiratis (including 1,189 women) appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates - were the only eligible voters and candidates; 456 candidates including 65 women ran for 20 contested FNC seats; one female from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi won a seat
note: reviews legislation but cannot change or veto

Judicial branch

Union Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)

Political parties and leaders


Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Saqr Ghobash Said GHOBASH
chancery: 3522 International Court NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 243-2400
FAX: [1] (202) 243-2432
consulate(s): New York, Houston

Diplomatic representation from the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Michele J. SISON
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

Economy - United Arab Emirates:

Economy overview

The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Despite largely successful efforts at economic diversification, about 30% of GDP is still directly based on oil and gas output, and the fortunes of the economy fluctuate with the prices of those commodities. 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 its utilities to greater private sector involvement. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US. Higher oil revenue, strong liquidity, and cheap credit in 2005-06 led to a surge in asset prices (shares and real estate) and consumer inflation. Rising prices are increasing the operating costs for businesses in the UAE and degrading the UAEs allure to foreign investors. Dependence on a large expatriate workforce and oil are significant long-term challenges to the UAEs economy.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$129.5 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$164 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

8.9% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$49,700 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 2.3%
industry: 61.9%
services: 35.8% (2006 est.)

Labor force

2.968 million (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: 7%
industry: 15%
services: 78% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate

2.4% (2001)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate consumer prices

10% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

24.3% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $60.3 billion
expenditures: $35.2 billion; including capital expenditures of $5.9 billion (2006 est.)

Public debt

9% of GDP (2006 est.)

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

4% (2000)

Electricity production

49.52 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

46.05 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

0 kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

0 kWh (2004)

Oil production

2.54 million bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil consumption

400,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

2.54 million bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil imports

137,200 bbl/day (2004)

Oil proved reserves

97.8 billion bbl (1 January 2005 est.)

Natural gas production

46.29 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

40.31 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas exports

7.18 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas imports

1.2 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas proved reserves

6.006 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)

Current account balance

$26.89 billion (2006 est.)


$137.1 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Exports commodities

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

Exports partners

Japan 25.9%, South Korea 10.3%, Thailand 5.9%, India 4.5% (2006)


$88.89 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Imports commodities

machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food

Imports partners

US 11.4%, China 11%, India 9.8%, Germany 6.2%, Japan 5.8%, UK 5.5%, France 4.1%, Italy 4% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$25.51 billion (2006 est.)

Economic aid donor

since its founding in 1971, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has given about $5.2 billion in aid to 56 countries (2004)

Debt external

$39.1 billion (2006 est.)

Currency code

Emirati dirham (AED)

Exchange rates

Emirati dirhams per US dollar - 3.673 (2006), 3.6725 (2005), 3.6725 (2004), 3.6725 (2003), 3.6725 (2002)
note: officially pegged to the US dollar since February 2002

Communications - United Arab Emirates:

Fiscal year

calendar year

Telephones main lines in use

1.31 million (2006)

Telephones mobile cellular

5.519 million (2006)

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; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; submarine cables to Qatar, Bahrain, India, and Pakistan; tropospheric scatter to Bahrain; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia

Radio broadcast stations

AM 13, FM 8, shortwave 2 (2004)

Television broadcast stations

15 (2004)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

337,092 (2006)

Internet users

1.709 million (2006)

Transportation - United Arab Emirates:


37 (2006)

Airports with paved runways

total: 23
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 14
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2006)


4 (2006)


condensate 520 km; gas 2,580 km; liquid petroleum gas 300 km; oil 2,950 km; oil/gas/water 5 km; refined products 156 km (2006)


total: 1,088 km
paved: 1,088 km (includes 253 km of expressways) (1999)

Merchant marine

total: 58 ships (1000 GRT or over) 656,003 GRT/891,837 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 7, chemical tanker 5, container 6, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 20, roll on/roll off 6, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 10 (Greece 2, Kuwait 8)
registered in other countries: 259 (Bahamas 16, Barbados 1, Belize 5, Cambodia 1, Comoros 6, Cyprus 11, Dominica 2, Georgia 1, Hong Kong 2, India 6, Iran 1, Jordan 11, Kiribati 1, North Korea 6, Liberia 18, Malta 5, Marshall Islands 3, Mexico 1, Mongolia 5, Norway 1, Panama 105, Philippines 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 19, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 11, Saudi Arabia 1, Sierra Leone 3, Singapore 7, Somalia 1, Sri Lanka 2, Syria 1, unknown 5) (2006)

Ports and terminals

Al Fujayrah, Khawr Fakkan, Mina Jabal Ali, Mina Rashid, Mina Saqr, Mina Zayid, Sharjan

Military - United Arab Emirates:

Military branches

Army, Navy (includes Marines and Coast Guard), Air and Air Defense Force, paramilitary forces (includes Federal Police Force)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)

Manpower available for military service

males age 18-49: 653,181
females age 18-49: 497,394 (includes non-nationals; 2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 18-49: 526,671
females age 18-49: 419,975 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually

males: 30,706
females age 18-49: 29,617 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures percent of gdp

3.1% (2005 est.)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: the United Arab Emirates is a destination country for men, women, and children trafficked from South and East Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for involuntary servitude and for sexual exploitation; an estimated 10,000 women from sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, South and East Asia, Iraq, Iran, and Morocco may be victims of sex trafficking in the UAE; women also migrate from Africa, and South and Southeast Asia to work as domestic servants, but may have their passports confiscated, be denied permission to leave the place of employment in the home, or face sexual or physical abuse by their employers; men from South Asia come to the UAE to work in the construction industry, but may be subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude as they are coerced to pay off recruitment and travel costs, sometimes having their wages denied for months at a time; victims of child camel jockey trafficking may still remain in the UAE, despite a July 2005 law banning the practice; while all identified victims were repatriated at the governments expense to their home countries, questions persist as to the effectiveness of the ban and the true number of victims
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - UAE is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show increased efforts to combat trafficking in 2005, particularly in its efforts to address the large-scale trafficking of foreign girls and women for commercial sexual exploitation

Disputes international

boundary agreement was signed and ratified with Oman in 2003 for entire border, including Omans 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

This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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