Zayid bin Sultan al Nuhayyan

United Arab Emirates

(pronounced "ZAH-yid bin SUHL-tahn al NUH-hah-yahn")

"Money is of no value unless it is used for the benefits of the people."

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven former Trucial States (emirates): Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras at Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, and Fujairah. These states were known as the Trucial States because of truces concluded with the United Kingdom in the 19th century. The UAE was formed in December 1971, when the United Kingdom terminated its treaty relations and ended its security role in the Persian Gulf region. Its total area is estimated to be 82,880 sq km (32,000 sq mi) and it has a coastline of 1,318 km (824 mi). Largely desert, the country's climate is characterized by extreme temperatures and sparse rainfall. The UAE had a 2002 population estimated at 2.45 million, most of which is concentrated in the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The majority of the native population is Sunni Muslim, though about 16% of the population is Shia. Native Arab inhabitants are outnumbered by non-Arab immigrant workers. These expatriate workers, who account for 70% of the population, are mostly from Pakistan, India, Iran, and other Arab countries. Arabic is the official language but English, Persian, Hindi, and Urdu are also spoken.

The currency of the UAE is the dirham . In the past, the economy relied on trading, fishing and pearling. Since 1958, it has been largely dependent on oil and gas extraction, which together make up about 48% of its gross domestic product (GDP). Oil revenues supply over 90% of public sector revenues and account for over 80% of export earnings. Abu Dhabi has the largest reserves within the UAE and the greatest petroleum production. Dubai has a large reexport trade and boasts one of the world's largest and most modern dry docks. Oil has led to rapid building of infrastructure and to development of health and education services.

UAE's major trade partners are Japan, the United States, and Western European countries. Its major imports are consumer goods, machinery and transport equipment. Per capita GDP was estimated at US $21,100 in 2001.


Royal Diwan
Abu Dhabi, UAE

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