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Who's On? > Visit Detail > Country Facts for United Arab Emirates
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Map of United Arab Emirates
IntroductionTop
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.
GeographyTop
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: 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

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: 0.6%
permanent crops: 2.25%
other: 97.15% (2001)

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, 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
PeopleTop
Population:2,563,212
note: includes an estimated 1,606,079 non-nationals; the 17 December 1995 census presents a total population figure of 2,377,453, and there are estimates of 3.44 million for 2002 (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:0-14 years: 25.3% (male 331,269; female 317,977)
15-64 years: 71.1% (male 1,115,826; female 707,058)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 66,404; female 24,678) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 27.9 years
male: 35.2 years
female: 22.9 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:1.54% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:18.78 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:4.26 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:0.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.58 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 2.691 male(s)/female
total population: 1.442 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 14.51 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.05 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 75.24 years
male: 72.73 years
female: 77.87 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:2.94 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:0.18% (2001 est.)
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% (Shi'a 16%), Christian, Hindu, and other 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.)

GovernmentTop
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: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
Independence:2 December 1971 (from UK)
National holiday:Independence Day, 2 December (1971)
Constitution:2 December 1971 (made permanent in 1996)
Legal system:federal court system introduced in 1971; applies to all emirates except Dubayy (Dubai) and Ra's al Khaymah, which are not fully integrated into the federal system; all emirates have secular courts to adjudicate criminal, civil, and commercial matters and Islamic courts to review family and religious disputes
Suffrage:none
Executive branch:chief of state: President Sheikh KHALIFA bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan (since 3 November 2004), ruler of Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) (since 4 November 2004) and Vice President MAKTUM bin Rashid al-Maktum (since 8 October 1990), ruler of Dubayy (Dubai)
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); Deputy Prime Minister 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 Federal Supreme Council (composed of rulers of the seven emirates) for five-year terms; 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 2009); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Sheikh KHALIFA bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan elected president by a unanimous vote of the FSC; MAKTUM bin Rashid al-Maktum unanimously reaffirmed vice president

Legislative branch:unicameral Federal National Council (FNC) 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:none
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag description:three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and black with a wider vertical red band on the hoist side
EconomyTop
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 30% of GDP), and the fortunes of the economy fluctuate with the prices of those commodities. 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. 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. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $63.67 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:5.7% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $25,200 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 4%
industry: 58.5%
services: 37.5% (2002 est.)

Labor force:2.36 million
note: 73.9% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2004 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 7%, industry 15%, services 78% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:2.4% (2001)
Population below poverty line:NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices):3.2% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):20.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $23.68 billion
expenditures: $25.45 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.4 billion (2004 est.)

Public debt:17.6% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish
Industries:petroleum, fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, petrochemicals, construction materials, some boat building, handicrafts, textiles
Industrial production growth rate:4% (2000)
Electricity - production:45.12 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:36.51 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:2.335 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:310,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:2.5 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports:0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:97.8 billion bbl (2004 est.)
Natural gas - production:44.4 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:33.7 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - exports:7.19 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - imports:0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:6.06 trillion cu m (2004)
Current account balance:$6.3 billion (2004 est.)
Exports:$69.48 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates
Exports - partners:Japan 28.5%, South Korea 9.5%, Thailand 5.9% (2004)
Imports:$45.66 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food
Imports - partners:China 10.4%, India 8.3%, Japan 7.2%, Germany 6.6%, France 6.4%, UK 6.2%, US 6%, Italy 4.1% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$18.64 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$5.9 billion (2004 est.)
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)
Currency (code):Emirati dirham (AED)
Currency code:AED
Exchange rates:Emirati dirhams per US dollar - 3.6725 (2004), 3.6725 (2003), 3.6725 (2002), 3.6725 (2001), 3.6725 (2000)
note: officially pegged to the US dollar since February 2002

Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:1,135,800 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:2,972,300 (2003)
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; 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 8, shortwave 2 (2004)
Radios:820,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:15 (2004)
Televisions:310,000 (1997)
Internet country code:.ae
Internet hosts:56,283 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):1 (2000)
Internet users:1,110,200 (2003)
TransportationTop
Highways:total: 1,088 km
paved: 1,088 km (including 253 km of expressways)
unpaved: 0 km (1999 est.)

Pipelines:condensate 469 km; gas 2,655 km; liquid petroleum gas 300 km; oil 2,936 km; oil/gas/water 5 km (2004)
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) 578,477 GRT/739,823 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 11, chemical tanker 5, container 6, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 21, roll on/roll off 7
foreign-owned: 14 (Greece 2, Kuwait 6)
registered in other countries: 200 (2005)

Airports:35 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 22
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 13
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2004 est.)

Heliports:2 (2004 est.)
MilitaryTop
Military branches:Army, Navy (includes Marines and Coast Guard), Air and Air Defense Force, paramilitary forces (includes Federal Police Force)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 653,181
note: includes non-nationals (2005 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 526,671 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 30,706 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$1.6 billion (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:3.1% (FY00)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:because the treaties have not been made public, the exact alignment of the boundary with Saudi Arabia is still unknown; 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 maps showing the alignment have not been published; UAE engage in direct talks and solicit Arab League support to resolve disputes over Iran's occupation of Lesser and Greater Tunb Islands and Abu Musa Island
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



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