United Arab Emirates Information Guide

United Arab Emirates Information Guide

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was established on 2nd December 1971 and is a federation of seven emirates, namely: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman and Fujairah.

The United Arab Emirates is situated in the Eastern part of the Arab world. It overlooks the Gulf of Oman to the East and the Arabian Gulf to the North. The Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman are linked by the Hormuz Strait. The UAE covers an area of approximately 83,600 square kilometers (32,654 square miles), including numerous islands. The coastal area consists primarily of salt marshes. Inland, the topography is predominantly desert, sand dunes and gravel plains with isolated oases, the largest of which are located at Al Ain and Liwa. The Hajar Mountains lie close to the sea on the East coast.

The Emirates have a common cultural heritage but the tribal links are very strong within each Emirate. Abu Dhabi is ruled by the Al Nahyan family, which belongs to the Bani Yas tribe. Dubai is ruled by the Al Maktoum family, which belongs to the Al Bu Falasah tribe. The other emirates are also ruled by various families, which belong to powerful tribes of the respective regions. The three most populated Emirates are Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah; approximately 83 percent of the total population belongs to these emirates.

The official language is Arabic, and all communications with the government must be in Arabic, although among the expatriate communities various other languages are spoken. Foreigners will find that English and Hindi / Urdu are widely understood. English is used for all written communication between businesses.

UAE Economy

The UAE economy has been transformed from a subsistence economy to one of the most prosperous and highly advanced societies in the world. The economy experienced a sudden explosion in GDP in the 1970s and 1980s due to rising oil prices and adverse conditions in the oil market.

The government has adopted a policy of controlled diversification, which led to the rise of non-oil sectors and most importantly trade. A combination of diversification and financial reserves has given the UAE economy considerable resilience, which is reflected in the economy. New corporate, stock market and banking legislation, review of laws and development of additional legislative framework are under review. The government is constantly aiming at promoting efficiency and transparency which will further boost the economic development in the UAE.

Petroleum dominates the economy of the UAE. At one time an underdeveloped area, by 1985 the region had the highest per capita income in the world. The immense wealth has been invested in capital improvements and social services in all seven of the Emirates. Petroleum production is centered in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Industrial development is essentially petroleum related and is limited by a lack of trained personnel and raw materials.

The country is on the threshold of a new era involving a booming economy and fast paced modernisation. Dubai is seeking long term investments as the Emirate’s regional status opens huge opportunities for multinationals interested in the region’s markets and its neighbouring areas. The retail sector is expected to boom in the next five years due to booming population and increased consumer demands. Tourism, commercial, residential and population growth in the UAE coupled with the expanding road network infrastructure will increase the total size of the retail sector.

UAE Population

The population has been growing at a steady rate for the last five years. The UAE has the highest population growth rate in the Arab World due to improved health services and the ongoing migration of expatriates to the country. Despite this sharp growth, the UAE has maintained its position as having one of the highest per capita incomes in the World. The growth has increased the demand for all kind of goods. Consequently there has been growth in trade and related activities like imports, manufacturing, etc.

UAE Foreign Trade

The foreign trade has attained a noticeable and continual increase throughout the last five years. The increase in imports is accredited to intensification of the re-export trade, a distinctive fact of the UAE economy. The increase has been further supplemented by the development of capital and consumption goods.

UAE Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The GDP is growing at a steady rate over the last five years. The GDP per capita for the year 2007 is estimated to be US$ 43,698. Total GDP for the year 2007 was estimated at AED 698 billion of which the non-oil sector to attract investments of expertise and capital, the governments of the individual Emirates contributed AED 437 billion. Estimates for GDP in 2008 are AED 785.8 billion with non-oil sector seeking to provide an attractive business environment.