The United Arab Emirates are a federal state located in the Middle-East, between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The country is spread on about 83 600 km square, and shares boundaries with Oman and Saudi Arabia. The U.A.E are composed of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Sharjah, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Quwain. Previously emirates of the Arabian Gulf, they all gained independence in 1971 and became the single federation of the U.A.E. Abu Dhabi is its capital city, and along with Dubai, they both stand out from the rest of the emirates. Together, they are at the very heart of the U.A.E’s economy and politics.
The U.A.E register a total population of 9.54 million of inhabitants, with most of them living in Abu Dhabi, with 1.3 million of people, and Dubai, which remains the most populated city in the country with 2.75 million of residents.
Like most of the Middle-Easter countries except Oman, an important part of the emirate population is composed of immigrants and expatriates. As a matter of fact, the UAE is home to approximately 200 different nationalities.
As of today, the Emiratis only represent 11.48% of the population while expatriates and immigrants account for 88.52%. Among these expatriates and immigrants, other Arab and Iranian nationalities stand at 18% of the population, South Asian nationalities at 60% and Westerners, East Asians and Africans at 12% of the population.
Due to this real ‘melting pot’, a dozen of languages are commonly spoken in the UAE, and while English is the most widely used one, Arabic remains the national language. Regarding the national currency, the UAE use the United Arab Emirates dirham as a mean of exchange, which is officially abbreviated AED. For 1 EUR, one gets 4.54 AED, making the United Arab Emirates dirham weaker.
The UAE are one of the most important producers and exporters of oil. In 2012, hydrocarbons stood up to 25% of the overall country’s GDP. However, the resources are starting to run out.
To solve this growing problem, the UAE have diversified their economy as much as they could, thanks to an incredibly fast urbanisation, with impressive building throughout the whole country, and a modernisation like no other. The realms they focus on the most are the industrialisation, air and sea transports, logistics, finance and tourism.
Without Abu Dhabi, the UAE would never be the third biggest hydrocarbon producer in the world. Indeed, the emirate of Abu Dhabi owns 90% of the Emirati petroleum, which represents 60% of the national GDP.