UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

A federation of seven states - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al Qaiwain - formed in 1971 and has since then grown from small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living and one of the Middle East's most important economic centres.

UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. For more than three decades, oil and global finance drove the UAE's economy. However, successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%.

KEY FACTS

  • President: His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
  • Prime minister: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
  • Population: 8.19 million (May 2010)
  • Geographical location: UAE is bordered in the north by the Arabian Gulf, in the East by Gulf of Oman, in the South by Sultanate of Oman and Saudi Arabia and in the west by Qatar and Saudi Arabia
  • Language: The official language is Arabic. English is commonly used in the business sector.
  • Timing: GMT + 4 hours
  • Working week: Sunday to Thursday
  • Currency: Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). One US dollar = AED 3.67