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United Arab Emirates

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Middle East : United Arab Emirates
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Quick Facts
CapitalAbu Dhabi
Governmentfederation with specified powers delegated to the UAE federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates
CurrencyEmirati dirham (AED)
Areatotal: 82,880 sq km
land: 82,880 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Population2,445,989
note: includes 1,576,472 non-nationals (July 2002 est.)
LanguageArabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
ReligionMuslim 96% (Shi'a 16%), Christian, Hindu, and other 4%

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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

Tc-map.png
Map of United Arab Emirates
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 
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
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: 0.48%
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

Population 
2,445,989
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 
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: 79.2%
male: 78.9%
female: 79.8% (1995 est.)

Government

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
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; 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
Suffrage 
none
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 
none
Political pressure groups and leaders 
NA
International organization participation 
ABEDA, AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU, CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
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

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.
GDP 
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 
NA%
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 
NA%
Budget 
revenues: $20 billion
expenditures: $22 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries 
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
Exports 
$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)
Imports 
$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 
$NA
Currency 
Emirati dirham (AED)
Currency code 
AED
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

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)
Radios 
820,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
15 (1997)
Televisions 
310,000 (1997)
Internet country code 
.ae
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
1 (2000)
Internet users 
900,000 (2002)

Transportation

Railways 
0 km
Highways 
total: 4,835 km
paved: 4,835 km
unpaved: 0 km (1998 est.)
Waterways 
none
Pipelines 
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.)
Airports 
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
Heliports 
2 (2002)

Military

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

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

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