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Flag of United Arab Emirates
Map of United Arab Emirates
Introduction 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 Ra's al Khaymah. The UAE's per capita GDP is not far below 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.
Geography 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: 82,880 sq km
land: 82,880 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:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
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: 0.48%
permanent crops: 0.49%
other: 99.03% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
720 sq km (1998 est.)
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, 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: includes 1,576,472 non-nationals (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.7% (male 345,077; female 331,545)
15-64 years: 69.7% (male 1,069,443; female 635,275)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 45,989; female 18,660) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.58% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
18.3 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
3.9 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
1.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.68 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 2.46 male(s)/female
total population: 1.48 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
16.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.52 years
female: 77.1 years (2002 est.)
male: 72.06 years
Total fertility rate:
3.16 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.18% (1999 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% (Shi'a 16%), Christian, Hindu, and other 4%
Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 79.2%
male: 78.9%
female: 79.8% (1995 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
abbreviation: UAE
former: Trucial Oman, Trucial States
local short form: none
Government type:
federation with specified powers delegated to the UAE federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates
Abu Dhabi
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
2 December 1971 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 2 December (1971)
2 December 1971 (made permanent in 1996)
Legal system:
federal court system introduced in 1971; all emirates except Dubayy (Dubai) and Ra's al Khaymah are not fully integrated into the federal system; all emirates have secular and Islamic law for civil, criminal, and high courts
Executive branch:
chief of state: President ZAYID bin Sultan Al Nuhayyan (since 2 December 1971), ruler of Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) (since 6 August 1966) and Vice President MAKTUM bin Rashid al-Maktum (since 8 October 1990), ruler of Dubayy (Dubai)
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
head of government: Prime Minister MAKTUM bin Rashid al-Maktum (since 8 October 1990), ruler of Dubayy (Dubai); Deputy Prime Minister SULTAN bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan (since 20 November 1990)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected by the FSC (a group of seven electors) for five-year terms; election last held 2 December 2001 (next to be held NA 2006); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president
election results: ZAYID bin Sultan Al Nuhayyan reelected president; percent of FSC vote - NA%, but believed to be unanimous; MAKTUM bin Rashid al-Maktum elected vice president; percent of FSC vote - NA%, but believed to be unanimous
Legislative branch:
unicameral Federal National Council or Majlis al-Ittihad al-Watani (40 seats; members appointed by the rulers of the constituent states to serve two-year terms)
elections: none
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 Asri Said Ahmad al-DHAHIRI
FAX: [1] (202) 243-2432
telephone: [1] (202) 243-2400
chancery: 3522 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20037
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Marcelle M. WAHBA
embassy: Al-Sudan Street, Abu Dhabi
mailing address: P. O. Box 4009, Abu Dhabi
telephone: [971] (2) 4436691
FAX: [971] (2) 4435441
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. Its wealth is based on oil and gas output (about 33% of GDP), and the fortunes of the economy fluctuate with the prices of those commodities. Since 1973, 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. At present levels of production, oil and gas reserves should last for more than 100 years. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up its utilities to greater private sector involvement.
purchasing power parity - $51 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.6% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $21,100 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 46%
services: 51% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.5% (2000 est.)
Labor force:
1.6 million
note: 73.9% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (July 2002 est.) (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
services 78%, industry 15%, agriculture 7% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $20 billion
expenditures: $22 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
petroleum, fishing, petrochemicals, construction materials, some boat building, handicrafts, pearling
Industrial production growth rate:
4% (2000)
Electricity - production:
38.7 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
35.991 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish
$47.6 billion f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities:
crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates
Exports - partners:
Japan 30%, India 7%, Singapore 6%, South Korea 4%, Oman, Iran (1999)
$28.6 billion f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food
Imports - partners:
Japan 9%, UK 8%, US 8%, Italy 6%, Germany, South Korea (1999)
Debt - external:
$12.6 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - donor:
Emirati dirham (AED)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Emirati dirhams per US dollar - central bank mid-point rate: 3.6725 (since 1997), 3.6710 (1995-96)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications United Arab Emirates
Telephones - main lines in use:
915,223 (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1 million (1999)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable; key centers are Abu Dhabi and Dubai
domestic: microwave radio relay and coaxial cable
international: 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 7, shortwave 2 (1998)
820,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
15 (1997)
310,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
900,000 (2002)
Transportation United Arab Emirates
0 km
total: 4,835 km
paved: 4,835 km
unpaved: 0 km (1998 est.)
crude oil 830 km; natural gas, including natural gas liquids, 870 km
Ports and harbors:
'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Das Island, Khawr Fakkan, Mina' Jabal 'Ali, Mina' Khalid, Mina' Rashid, Mina' Saqr, Mina' Zayid, Umm al Qaywayn
Merchant marine:
total: 56 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 833,401 GRT/1,251,015 DWT
ships by type: cargo 13, chemical tanker 3, container 7, liquefied gas 1, livestock carrier 1, petroleum tanker 25, roll on/roll off 6
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Greece 2, Italy 1, Kuwait 2 (2002 est.)
38 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 19 22
over 3,047 m: 8 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2 3
under 914 m: 4 4 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 4
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 19 19
under 914 m: 5 5 (2002)
over 3,047 m: 1 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 1
914 to 1,523 m: 9 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 3
2 (2002)
Military United Arab Emirates
Military branches:
Army, Navy (including Marines and Coast Guard), Air Force, Air Defense, paramilitary forces (includes Federal Police Force)
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 773,938
note: includes non-nationals (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 419,851 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 25,482 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$1.6 billion (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.1% (FY00)
Transnational Issues United Arab Emirates
Disputes - international:
Oman signed boundary treaty with the UAE in 1999, and the UAE-Oman boundary line was formally recognized in June 2000;; because details of 1974 and 1977 treaties have not been made public, the exact location of the Saudi Arabia-UAE boundary is unknown and status is considered de facto; UAE seeks United Arab League and other international support against Iran's occupation of Greater Tunb Island (called Tunb al Kubra in Arabic by UAE and Jazireh-ye Tonb-e Bozorg in Persian by Iran) and Lesser Tunb Island (called Tunb as Sughra in Arabic by UAE and Jazireh-ye Tonb-e Kuchek in Persian by Iran) and attempts to occupy completely a jointly administered island in the Persian Gulf (called Abu Musa in Arabic by UAE and Jazireh-ye Abu Musa in Persian by Iran)
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 legislation was signed into law by the president on 25 January 2002

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003