Area: 77,700 sq.km; desert and mountains on the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman
Seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al Qaiwain and Fujairah
Population: 2,441,436 in 2000; 2,851,247 in 2010; 3,283,949 in 2025
Capital: Abu Dhabi (398,695)
Other major cities: Dubai (669,181)
(all figures are estimated; the massive presence of expatriate workers makes accurate figures difficult to obtain)
South Asian: 59%
Official language: Arabic
Breathtaking advance from poverty to fabulous wealth in one generation.
Abu Dhabi has enormous oil reserves.
Dubai is an important commercial, information technology and industrial centre.
The UAE’s great economic dilemma is its complete dependence on cheap foreign labor.
UAE is one of the Middle Eastern countries putting most efforts into developing alternatives to the oil industries. This involves land reclamation, development of industries, refining of oil as well as quite successful work on making some of the ports into world trade centres.
Land reclamation has made the Emirates self-sufficient in fruits and vegetables. One of the problems of agriculture is the extreme lack of fresh water, but UAE has built up industries of desalination. There is also good fishing outside the coast, bringing in more than 50kg/inhabitant/year.
Oil and natural gas are most important to the economy.
GDP: US$63.1 billion
GDP/sector: Agriculture 3%, Industry 46%, Services 51%
Foreign debts: US$12.6 billion
Foreign debts/GDP: 20%
Foreign debts/capita: US$4,000
Annual growth in GDP: 2.5%
Trade balance: +66%
Export products: Crude oil, natural gas, re-exports, dried fish, dates.
Annual inflation rate: 4.5% (2000)
Official unemployment: Not available, but very low.
Fixed since 1997:
US$1= 3.6725 Emirai dirhams
Main exports: crude oil 45 %, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates
Main imports: machinery and transport equipment, food, chemicals
The British-protected Trucial States became an independent confederation of monarchies in 1971.
No political parties or elections are permitted. The Emir of Abu Dhabi is President of the Supreme Council, which rules the country.
Islam is the religion of state.
There is freedom to worship and witness within the expatriate communities, but no outreach to the indigenous population is officially permitted.
Religious figures are estimated.
Muslim: 1,597,920 adherents (65.45% of population)
Hindu: 415,044 adherents (17.00% of population)
Christian: 225,044 adherents (9.25% of population)
Buddhist: 97,657 adherents (4.00% of population)
Other: 61,036 adherents (2.50% of population)
Non-Religious: 31,739 adherents (1.30% of population)
Bahai: 12,207 adherents (0.50% of population)
Churches: Catholic (90,909 members)
Orthodox groups (13,400 members)
Protestant groups (5,111 members)
Anglican (2,613 members)
Armenian Apostolic (3,593 members)
Independent groups (945 members)