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United Arab Emirates Historical and Political Profile

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United Arab Emirates Index

  • United Arab Emirates-United Arab Emirates -- Status of Women
  • United Arab Emirates-United Arab Emirates -- Health and Welfare
  • United Arab Emirates-Trade
  • United Arab Emirates-Fishing
  • United Arab Emirates-THE GULF IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
  • United Arab Emirates-Executive and Legislative Branches United Arab Emirates -- Government and Politics
  • United Arab Emirates-Background Kuwait
  • United Arab Emirates-Dubayy
  • United Arab Emirates-THE GULF IN THE MIDDLE AGES
  • United Arab Emirates-Historical Overview
  • United Arab Emirates-Abu Dhabi
  • United Arab Emirates-Background United Arab Emirates
  • United Arab Emirates-Background Oman
  • United Arab Emirates-Ruling Families
  • United Arab Emirates-DISCOVERY OF OIL
  • United Arab Emirates-Electricity and Water
  • United Arab Emirates-United Arab Emirates -- Education
  • United Arab Emirates-Personnel, Training, and Recruitment
  • United Arab Emirates-Chapter 7 - Regional and National Security Considerations
  • United Arab Emirates-United Arab Emirates -- Religion
  • United Arab Emirates-Labor
  • United Arab Emirates-TRADE IN THE GULF
  • United Arab Emirates-Dubayy
  • United Arab Emirates-Collective Security under the Gulf Cooperation Council
  • United Arab Emirates-GEOGRAPHY COUNTRY
  • United Arab Emirates-WAHHABI ISLAM AND THE GULF
  • United Arab Emirates-Shia Islam
  • United Arab Emirates-Persian Gulf War, 1991
  • United Arab Emirates-Organization and Mission of the Forces
  • United Arab Emirates-Internal Security Problems
  • United Arab Emirates-GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
  • United Arab Emirates-Omani Role in the Persian Gulf War, 1991
  • United Arab Emirates-Introduction
  • United Arab Emirates-Internal Security
  • United Arab Emirates-Human Rights Practices
  • United Arab Emirates-Regional Security Problems
  • United Arab Emirates-Bahrain
  • United Arab Emirates-Budget
  • United Arab Emirates-Mission of the Armed Forces
  • United Arab Emirates-Transportation
  • United Arab Emirates-Telecommunications
  • United Arab Emirates-Impact of the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-88
  • United Arab Emirates-Banking and Finance
  • United Arab Emirates -Chapter 5 - United Arab Emirates
  • United Arab Emirates-United Arab Emirates -- Economy
  • United Arab Emirates-The Media
  • United Arab Emirates-United Arab Emirates -- Population
  • United Arab Emirates-Industry
  • United Arab Emirates-Internal Security
  • United Arab Emirates-Acknowledgments
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Arab Emirates-INDEPENDENCE
  • United Arab Emirates-Agriculture and Forestry
  • United Arab Emirates-United Arab Emirates -- Geography
  • United Arab Emirates-Preface
  • United Arab Emirates-The Judiciary
  • United Arab Emirates-The Spread of Islam
  • United Arab Emirates-Role of Kuwaiti Armed Forces in the Persian Gulf War
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Arab Emirates-Chapter 1 - Historical Setting
  • United Arab Emirates-SOCIETY
  • United Arab Emirates-Internal Security
  • United Arab Emirates-The Role of the United Arab Emirates in the Iran-Iraq War and the Persian Gulf War
  • United Arab Emirates-Sunni Islam
  • United Arab Emirates-Military Capabilities of the Persian Gulf States
  • United Arab Emirates-Organization and Equipment of the Armed Forces
  • United Arab Emirates-United Arab Emirates -- Foreign Relations
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Arab Emirates-TREATIES WITH THE BRITISH
  • United Arab Emirates-The Northern Amirates
  • United Arab Emirates-Persian Gulf War
  • United Arab Emirates-Qatar
  • United Arab Emirates-Abu Dhabi
  • United Arab Emirates-Other Amirates
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Arab Emirates-NATIONAL SECURITY
  • United Arab Emirates-Police and the Criminal Justice System
  • United Arab Emirates-Organization and Equipment
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Arab Emirates-ECONOMY
  • United Arab Emirates-Sharjah
  • BackgroundThe 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.
    LocationMiddle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
    Area(sq km)total: 83,600 sq km
    land: 83,600 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    Geographic coordinates24 00 N, 54 00 E
    Land boundaries(km)total: 867 km
    border countries: Oman 410 km, Saudi Arabia 457 km

    Coastline(km)1,318 km

    Climatedesert; cooler in eastern mountains

    Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
    highest point: Jabal Yibir 1,527 m
    Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas
    Land use(%)arable land: 0.77%
    permanent crops: 2.27%
    other: 96.96% (2005)

    Irrigated land(sq km)760 sq km (2003)
    Total renewable water resources(cu km)0.2 cu km (1997)
    Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 2.3 cu km/yr (23%/9%/68%)
    per capita: 511 cu m/yr (2000)
    Natural hazardsfrequent sand and dust storms
    Environment - current issueslack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills
    Environment - international agreementsparty 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 - notestrategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
    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 2009 est.)
    Age structure(%)0-14 years: 20.4% (male 500,928/female 478,388)
    15-64 years: 78.7% (male 2,768,030/female 1,008,404)
    65 years and over: 0.9% (male 27,601/female 15,140)
    note: 73.9% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2009 est.)
    Median age(years)total: 30.1 years
    male: 32 years
    female: 24.7 years (2009 est.)
    Population growth rate(%)3.689% (2009 est.)
    Birth rate(births/1,000 population)16.02 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)2.11 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

    Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)22.98 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Urbanization(%)urban population: 78% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: 2.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 2.74 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 1.82 male(s)/female
    total population: 2.19 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
    Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 12.7 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 14.86 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 10.44 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 76.11 years
    male: 73.56 years
    female: 78.78 years (2009 est.)

    Total fertility rate(children born/woman)2.42 children born/woman (2009 est.)
    Nationalitynoun: 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)

    Religions(%)Muslim 96% (Shia 16%), other (includes Christian, Hindu) 4%
    Languages(%)Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu

    Country nameconventional 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 typefederation with specified powers delegated to the UAE federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates
    Capitalname: Abu Dhabi
    geographic coordinates: 24 28 N, 54 22 E
    time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions7 emirates (imarat, singular - imarah); Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi), 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah (Sharjah), Dubayy (Dubai), Ra's al Khaymah, Umm al Qaywayn (Quwayn)
    Constitution2 December 1971; made permanent in 1996

    Legal systembased on a dual system of sharia and civil courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

    Executive branchchief 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 branchunicameral 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 and 8 women were among the 20 appointed members
    note: reviews legislation but cannot change or veto

    Judicial branchUnion Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)

    Political pressure groups and leadersNA
    Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and black with a wider vertical red band on the hoist side

    Economy - overviewThe 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. The country's Free Trade Zones - offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes - are helping to attract foreign investors. Higher oil revenue, strong liquidity, housing shortages, and cheap credit in 2005-07 led to a surge in asset prices (shares and real estate) and consumer inflation. The global financial crisis and the resulting tight international credit market and falling oil prices have already begun to deflate asset prices and will result in slower economic growth for 2009. Dependence on oil and a large expatriate workforce 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)$206.3 billion (2008 est.)
    $192 billion (2007 est.)
    $181.2 billion (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP (official exchange rate)$262.2 billion (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate(%)7.4% (2008 est.)
    6% (2007 est.)
    14.9% (2006 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)$44,600 (2008 est.)
    $43,200 (2007 est.)
    $42,500 (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 1.5%
    industry: 62.7%
    services: 35.7% (2008 est.)
    Labor force3.266 million
    note: expatriates account for about 85% of the work force (2008 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 or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)22.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
    Budgetrevenues: $78.74 billion
    expenditures: $48.31 billion (2008 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)15.8% (2008 est.)
    14% (2007 est.)

    Stock of money$NA (31 December 2008)
    $49.5 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of quasi money$NA (31 December 2008)
    $104.6 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of domestic credit$NA (31 December 2008)
    $155.4 billion (31 December 2007)
    Market value of publicly traded shares$97.85 billion (31 December 2008)
    $224.7 billion (31 December 2007)
    $138.5 billion (31 December 2006)
    Economic aid - recipient$5.36 million (2004)

    Public debt(% of GDP)40.7% of GDP (2008 est.)
    17.6% of GDP (2004 est.)
    Agriculture - productsdates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish
    Industriespetroleum and petrochemicals; fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, construction materials, some boat building, handicrafts, textiles

    Industrial production growth rate(%)6.7% (2008 est.)

    Current account balance$22.31 billion (2008 est.)
    $25.84 billion (2007 est.)
    Exports$239.2 billion (2008 est.)
    $170.4 billion (2007 est.)

    Exports - commodities(%)crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates
    Exports - partners(%)Japan 23%, South Korea 9.4%, India 7.9%, Iran 6.5%, Thailand 5.3% (2008)
    Imports$176.3 billion (2008 est.)
    $116.6 billion (2007 est.)

    Imports - commodities(%)machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food
    Imports - partners(%)China 13.2%, India 10.4%, US 8.8%, Germany 6.5%, Japan 6.1%, Turkey 4.5%, Italy 4.3% (2008)

    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$31.69 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $77.24 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Debt - external$134.7 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $61.68 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$62.69 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $51.54 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$28.95 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $24.95 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Exchange ratesEmirati dirhams (AED) per US dollar - 3.6725 (2008 est.), 3.6725 (2007), 3.6725 (2006), 3.6725 (2005), 3.6725 (2004)
    note: officially pegged to the US dollar since February 2002

    Currency (code)Emirati dirham (AED)

    Telephones - main lines in use1.508 million (2008)
    Telephones - mobile cellular9.358 million (2008)
    Telephone systemgeneral 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
    Internet country code.ae
    Internet users2.922 million (2008)
    Airports41 (2009)
    Pipelines(km)condensate 458 km; gas 2,129 km; liquid petroleum gas 220 km; oil 1,310 km; refined products 212 km; water 90 km (2008)
    Roadways(km)total: 4,080 km
    paved: 4,080 km (includes 253 km of expressways) (2008)

    Ports and terminalsMina' Zayid (Abu Dhabi), Al Fujayrah, Mina' Jabal 'Ali (Dubai), Mina' Rashid (Dubai), Mina' Saqr (Ra's al Khaymah), Khawr Fakkan (Sharjah)
    Military branchesUnited Arab Emirates Armed Forces: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force and Air Defense, National Coast Guard (2008)
    Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age (est.) for voluntary military service; 18 years of age for officers and women; no conscription (2009)
    Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,405,884 (includes non-nationals)
    females age 16-49: 884,853 (2008 est.)
    Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,081,491
    females age 16-49: 788,632 (2009 est.)
    Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 26,659
    female: 23,793 (2009 est.)
    Military expenditures(% of GDP)3.1% of GDP (2005 est.)
    Disputes - internationalboundary 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

    Electricity - production(kWh)71.54 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (2001)
    Electricity - consumption(kWh)65.98 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - imports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Oil - production(bbl/day)3.046 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - consumption(bbl/day)463,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - exports(bbl/day)2.7 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - imports(bbl/day)192,900 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Economic aid - donorsince its founding in 1971, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has given about $5.2 billion in aid to 56 countries (2004)

    Oil - proved reserves(bbl)97.8 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
    Natural gas - production(cu m)50.24 billion cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption(cu m)59.42 billion cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - exports(cu m)7.567 billion cu m (2008)
    Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)6.071 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.18% (2001 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA
    HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
    Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 77.9%
    male: 76.1%
    female: 81.7% (2003 est.)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 11 years
    male: 11 years
    female: 12 years (2003)
    Education expenditures(% of GDP)1.3% of GDP (2005)

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