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.

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
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

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

Current Weather
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)

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

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: 226

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

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: 71
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:

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.)

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

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:
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 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 two-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:

International organization participation:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Yousef bin Mani Saeed al-OTAIBA
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 - 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, falling oil prices, and deflated asset prices caused GDP to drop nearly 4% in 2009. UAE authorities have 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. In February 2009, Dubai launched a $20 billion bond program to meet its debt obligations. 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. 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):
$191.9 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
$197.2 billion (2008 est.)
$183.6 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$223.9 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
-2.7% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
7.4% (2008 est.)
6.2% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$40,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
$42,700 (2008 est.)
$41,300 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 52%
services: 47% (2009 est.)

Labor force:
3.518 million
country comparison to the world: 96
note: expatriates account for about 85% of the work force (2009 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 7%
industry: 15%
services: 78% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:
2.4% (2001)
country comparison to the world: 18

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 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33

revenues: $61.16 billion
expenditures: $54.68 billion (2009 est.)

Public debt:
48.9% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
39.4% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
12.3% (2008 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

Stock of narrow money:
$60.89 billion (31 December 2009)
$56.71 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of broad money:
$201.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
$183.7 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$263.9 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 34
$232.1 billion (31 December 2008)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$109.6 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 37
$97.85 billion (31 December 2008)
$224.7 billion (31 December 2007)

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:
-5.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119

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: 33

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: 48

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:
$7.871 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
$22.31 billion (2008 est.)

$192.2 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
$239.2 billion (2008 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)

$150 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
$176.3 billion (2008 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:
$36.1 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
$31.69 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$122.5 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
$121.7 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$70.18 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
$66.18 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$51.41 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
$48.69 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Emirati dirhams (AED) per US dollar - 3.673 (2009), 3.6725 (2008), 3.6725 (2007), 3.6725 (2006), 3.6725 (2005)
note: officially pegged to the US dollar since February 2002

Telephones - main lines in use:
1.508 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 63

Telephones - mobile cellular:
9.358 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 65

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:

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

Internet users:
2.922 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 60

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)

5 (2010)

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

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: 69
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 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: 42

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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