Reference > World Factbook, 2008
  The World Factbook.  2008.
United Arab Emirates
Flag of United Arab Emirates                                Map of 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.
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
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
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
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
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 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 20.6% (male 467,931/female 447,045)
15-64 years: 78.5% (male 2,558,029/female 932,617)
65 years and over: 0.9% (male 24,914/female 13,475)
note: 73.9% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 30.1 years
male: 32 years
female: 24.5 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:3.997% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:16.09 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:2.16 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:26.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.047 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 2.743 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.849 male(s)/female
total population: 2.19 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 13.52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 15.77 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 75.69 years
male: 73.16 years
female: 78.35 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:2.43 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:0.18% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS: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% (Shi'a 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.)
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 (Quwayn)
Independence:2 December 1971 (from UK)
National holiday:Independence Day, 2 December (1971)
Constitution:2 December 1971; made permanent in 1996
Legal system:based on a dual system of Shari'a 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 SULTAN bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan (since 20 November 1990) and HAMDAN bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan (since 20 October 2003)
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); election last held 3 November 2004 upon the death of the UAE's Founding Father and first President ZAYID bin Sultan Al Nuhayyan (next to be held in 2009); 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 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
note: reviews legislation but cannot change or veto
Judicial branch:Union Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)
Political parties and leaders:none
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
Diplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Saqr Ghobash Said GHOBASH
chancery: 3522 International Court NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 243-2400
FAX: [1] (202) 243-2432
consulate(s): New York, Houston
Diplomatic representation from the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Michele J. SISON
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
Economy—overview:The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Despite largely successful efforts at economic diversification, nearly 40% of GDP is still directly based on oil and gas output. 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. Rising prices are increasing the operating costs for businesses in the UAE and adversely impacting government employees and others on fixed incomes. 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):$145.8 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$189.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:8.5% (2007 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$55,200 (2007 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 1.8%
industry: 59.3%
services: 38.9% (2007 est.)
Labor force:3.119 million (2007 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%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):12% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):21.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:revenues: $58.15 billion
expenditures: $38.06 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:14.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
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:5.1% (2007 est.)
Electricity—production:57.06 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—consumption:52.62 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—exports:0 kWh (2005)
Electricity—imports:0 kWh (2005)
Oil—production:2.54 million bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil—consumption:372,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:2.54 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil—imports:137,200 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—proved reserves:97.8 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:45.07 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:39.56 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:6.848 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:1.343 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:5.823 trillion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:$36.11 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:$152.1 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports—commodities:crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates
Exports—partners:Japan 25.8%, South Korea 9.6%, Thailand 5.9%, India 4.5% (2006)
Imports:$94.72 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports—commodities:machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food
Imports—partners:US 11.5%, China 11%, India 9.8%, Germany 6.4%, Japan 5.8%, UK 5.5%, France 4.1%, Italy 4% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$29.62 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt—external:$41.51 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—at home:$42.58 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—abroad:$11.43 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:$138.5 billion (2006)
Economic aid—donor:since its founding in 1971, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has given about $5.2 billion in aid to 56 countries (2004)
Economic aid—recipient:$5.36 million (2004)
Currency (code):Emirati dirham (AED)
Exchange rates:Emirati dirhams per US dollar - 3.673 (2007), 3.673 (2006), 3.6725 (2005), 3.6725 (2004), 3.6725 (2003)
note: officially pegged to the US dollar since February 2002
Fiscal year:calendar year
Telephones—main lines in use:1.31 million (2006)
Telephones—mobile cellular:5.519 million (2006)
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
Radio broadcast stations:AM 13, FM 8, shortwave 2 (2004)
Television broadcast stations:15 (2004)
Internet country
Internet hosts:6,001 (2007)
Internet users:1.709 million (2006)
Airports:39 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 22
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 17
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 5 (2007)
Heliports:5 (2007)
Pipelines:condensate 520 km; gas 2,908 km; liquid petroleum gas 300 km; oil 2,950 km; oil/gas/water 5 km; refined products 156 km (2007)
Roadways:total: 1,088 km
paved: 1,088 km (includes 253 km of expressways) (1999)
Merchant marine:total: 60 ships (1000 GRT or over) 617,519 GRT/858,519 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 10, chemical tanker 5, container 6, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 25, roll on/roll off 5, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 11 (Greece 3, Kuwait 8)
registered in other countries: 281 (Bahamas 20, Belize 4, Cambodia 2, Comoros 5, Cyprus 10, Georgia 1, Gibraltar 2, Hong Kong 1, India 2, Iran 1, Jordan 15, North Korea 4, Liberia 22, Malta 10, Marshall Islands 14, Mexico 1, Mongolia 5, Norway 1, Panama 108, Philippines 1, Saudi Arabia 1, Sierra Leone 7, Singapore 8, Somalia 1, St Kitts and Nevis 22, St Vincent and The Grenadines 12, Turkey 1, unknown 5) (2007)
Ports and terminals:Mina' Zayid (Abu Dhabi), Al Fujayrah, Mina' Jabal 'Ali (Dubai), Mina' Rashid (Dubai), Mina' Saqr (Ra's al Khaymah), Khawr Fakkan (Sharjah)
Military branches:Army, Navy (includes Marines and Coast Guard), Air and Air Defense Force, paramilitary forces (includes Federal Police Force)
Military service age and obligation:18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military service:males age 18-49: 653,181
females age 18-49: 497,394 (includes non-nationals; 2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 18-49: 526,671
females age 18-49: 419,975 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males: 30,706
females age 18-49: 29,617 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:3.1% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues
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
Trafficking in persons:current situation: the United Arab Emirates is a destination country for men, women, and children trafficked from South and East Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for involuntary servitude and for sexual exploitation; an estimated 10,000 women from sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, South and East Asia, Iraq, Iran, and Morocco may be victims of sex trafficking in the UAE; women also migrate from Africa, and South and Southeast Asia to work as domestic servants, but may have their passports confiscated, be denied permission to leave the place of employment in the home, or face sexual or physical abuse by their employers; men from South Asia come to the UAE to work in the construction industry, but may be subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude as they are coerced to pay off recruitment and travel costs, sometimes having their wages denied for months at a time; victims of child camel jockey trafficking may still remain in the UAE, despite a July 2005 law banning the practice; while all identified victims were repatriated at the government's expense to their home countries, questions persist as to the effectiveness of the ban and the true number of victims
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - UAE is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show increased efforts to combat trafficking in 2005, particularly in its efforts to address the large-scale trafficking of foreign girls and women for commercial sexual exploitation
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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