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United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates (Middle East)

Introduction ::United Arab Emirates

Background:

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.

Geography ::United Arab Emirates


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Location:

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

Area:

total: 83,600 sq km country comparison to the world: 114 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

Postcard from the United Arab Emirates

Coastline:

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

Climate:

desert; cooler in eastern mountains

Terrain:

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

Dubai

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)

Total renewable water resources:

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 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

Population:

4,975,593 country comparison to the world: 114 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 (July 2010 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 (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 30.2 years

male: 32.1 years

female: 24.8 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

3.561% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 4

Birth rate:

15.98 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 129

Death rate:

2.08 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 225

Net migration rate:

21.71 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 1

Urbanization:

urban population: 78% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 2.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

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 (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 12.3 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 136 male: 14.38 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 10.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.32 years country comparison to the world: 70 male: 73.75 years

female: 79.01 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.41 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 98

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.2% (2001 est.) country comparison to the world: 111

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

Nationality:

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)

Religions:

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

Languages:

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

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):

total: 12 years

male: 11 years

female: 12 years (2003)

Education expenditures:

0.9% of GDP (2008) country comparison to the world: 184

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

Capital:

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)

Independence:

2 December 1971 (from the UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 2 December (1971)

Constitution:

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

Suffrage:

none

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 (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) 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: elections for one half of the FNC (the other half remains appointed) held 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: 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

Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA

International organization participation:

ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CICA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO,
ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO,
Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC,
OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO,
WMO, WTO

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 Richard G. OLSON, Jr.

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 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

Economy ::United Arab Emirates

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 slowed GDP growth in 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):

$199.8 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 53 $194.7 billion (2009 est.)

$200.1 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$239.7 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

2.6% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 137 -2.7% (2009 est.)

7.4% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$40,200 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 21 $40,600 (2009 est.)

$43,300 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 0.9%

industry: 51.5%

services: 47.6% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

3.908 million country comparison to the world: 88 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) country comparison to the world: 20

Population below poverty line:

19.5% (2003)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Investment (gross fixed):

26.8% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 33

Public debt:

44.6% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 61 48.9% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2.2% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 63 1.6% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
NA%

Stock of narrow money:

$68.76 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 39 $60.85 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$228.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 38 $201.6 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$290 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 34 $263.6 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$109.6 billion (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 36 $97.85 billion (31 December 2008)

$224.7 billion (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:

dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish

Industries:

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.) country comparison to the world: 100

Electricity - production:

71.54 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 39

Electricity - consumption:

65.98 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 39

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

2.798 million bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 8

Oil - consumption:

435,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 32

Oil - exports:

2.7 million bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 3

Oil - imports:

192,900 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 47

Oil - proved reserves:

97.8 billion bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 6

Natural gas - production:

50.24 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 18

Natural gas - consumption:

59.42 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 13

Natural gas - exports:

7.567 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 24

Natural gas - imports:

16.75 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 15

Natural gas - proved reserves:

6.071 trillion cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 7

Current account balance:

$3.409 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 35 $7.871 billion (2009 est.)

Exports:

$195.8 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 24 $192.2 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

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

Exports - partners:

Japan 17.27%, South Korea 10.49%, India 9.96%, Iran 6.82%, Thailand 5.11% (2009)

Imports:

$159 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 25 $150 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food

Imports - partners:

China 15.03%, India 14.27%, US 8.44%, Germany 5.81%, Japan 4.52% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$39.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 28 $36.1 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$122.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 33 $122.5 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$76.38 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 44 $70.18 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$54.91 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 31 $51.41 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange rates:

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

Communications ::United Arab Emirates

Telephones - main lines in use:

1.561 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 62

Telephones - mobile cellular:

10.672 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 61

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)

Internet country code:

.ae

Internet hosts:

379,309 (2010) country comparison to the world: 54

Internet users:

3.449 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 61

Transportation ::United Arab Emirates

Airports:

41 (2010) country comparison to the world: 103

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)

Heliports:

5 (2010)

Pipelines:

condensate 458 km; gas 2,152 km; liquid petroleum gas 220 km; oil 1,310 km; refined products 212 km (2009)

Roadways:

total: 4,080 km country comparison to the world: 156 paved: 4,080 km (includes 253 km of expressways) (2008)

Merchant marine:

total: 57 country comparison to the world: 68 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),

Military ::United Arab Emirates

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 (est.) for voluntary military service; 18 years of age for officers and women; no conscription (2009)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 2,589,714 (includes non-nationals)

females age 16-49: 950,460 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 2,157,211

females age 16-49: 816,363 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 27,256

female: 24,305 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

3.1% of GDP (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 40

Transnational Issues ::United Arab Emirates

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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