H. H. late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the first President of the UAE and is known as the Father of the Nation.
The UAE is a constitutional federation of seven emirates.
The official language of the UAE is Arabic. Other widely spoken languages include: Bengali, English, Farsi, Hindi, Malayalam, Mandarin, Nepali, Russian, Sinhalese, Tagalog and Urdu.
Islam is the official religion in the UAE; practice of other religions is allowed.
The UAE is located in the North East of the Arab Peninsula and covers an area that looks like a triangle.
The UAE area is approximately 71,023.6sq km of land, including some islands in the Arab Gulf, in addition to 27,624.9sq km of territorial water. Abu Dhabi accounts for 84 per cent of the country's total landmass.
The UAE is situated at:
Longitude: 51° 35’ - 57°10’ east
Latitude: 22°35’ - 26°25’ north
The UAE is 4 hours ahead of GMT.
The UAE maintains a desert climate. It is warm and sunny in the winter and during the summer, it is hot and humid. It is generally cooler in the eastern mountains.
The Emirati Dirham is the official currency of the UAE, abbreviated officially as AED. Unofficial abbreviations include Dh and Dhs.
The dirham is divided into 100 fils.
Coins are in the following denomination: AED 1, 50 fils and 25 fils.
Notes or bills are in the denomination of AED 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000.
The UAE Dirham is pegged to the USD. 1 USD = AED 3.6725.
The flag comprises three equal horizontal lines with green at the top, white in the middle and black at the base. There is also a wider vertical red ribbon in the direction of the flagpole.
Green represents hope, joy, optimism and love. It can also symbolise the country's prosperity.
White represents peace and honesty. White is the purest colour, and is interpreted by some to symbolise cleanliness.
Black stands for the defeat of enemies and also strength of mind.
Red represents hardiness, bravery, strength and courage. The vertical red band can also be interpreted as binding all the other meanings together in unity.
Coat of arms
The UAE's new coat of arms displays the UAE flag surrounded by seven stars, representing the seven emirates. The falcon is also shown holding a parchment in its talons which reads 'United Arab Emirates' in Arabic.
The UAE's national anthem, Ishi Bilady was originally conceived as an instrumental in 1971. In 1986, Dr. Aref Al Sheikh was given the task to write the words to the UAE's national anthem, and the Cabinet approved the lyrics.
Diplomatic missions in the world
Foreign representation in the UAE
All UAE citizens in the seven emirates carry the unified nationality of the UAE, which is recognised internationally. The demonym is Emirati.
According to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, the UAE's total population (nationals and expatriate residents) was 9,304,277 in 2017, as compared to 9,121,167 in 2016. Males outnumber females.
- There were 6,415,942 males in 2017, as compared to 6,298,294 in 2016.
- There were 2,888,335 females in 2017, as compared to 2,822,873 in 2016.
There are more than 200 nationalities living and working in the UAE. The expatriate community outnumbers the population of UAE nationals.
Indians form the largest foreign community in the UAE, followed by Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, other Asians, Europeans and Africans.
UAE nationals as of 2010 (estimate)
Total UAE nationals: 947,997
Non-nationals in the UAE as of 2010 (estimate)
Total non-nationals: 7,316,073
Male non-nationals: 5,682,711
Female non-nationals: 1,633,362
According to a study by Ministry of Education in 2014, the illiteracy rate in the UAE has dropped to less than 1 per cent.
According to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, here are the figures for births in 2015:
Number of births of UAE nationals
Total births: 34,794
Number of births of expatriate residents:
Total births: 62,534
According to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, here are the figures for deaths in 2015:
Number of deaths of UAE nationals
Number of deaths of expatriate residents:
According to Human Development report issued by the UNDP in 2016, life expectancy in the UAE is 77.1 years.
According to the International Monetary Fund's 2017 report, foreigners comprise 95 per cent of the UAE's workforce with the largest communities coming from South Asia.
According to the labour survey issued by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, foreigners working in private sector accounted for 6377010 persons.
The UAE national's workforce
According to the UAE Yearbook 2017, Emirati citizens accounted for 27,000 jobs of the 5 million jobs in the private sector and accounted for 60 per cent of government sector jobs.
According to a report issued by Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority in 2017, the unemployment rate was 2.5 per cent; the figure includes both nationals and expatriates.
According to the UAE Yearbook 2017, 9.6 per cent of Emirati citizens of working age were without work.
As per the same report, among the expatriates, the unemployment level in 2017 was estimated at 2.1 per cent.
Following are the distances (in kilometres) from Abu Dhabi city to the cities of:
- Al Ain: 160
- Dubai: 166
- Sharjah: 176
- Ajman: 186
- Umm Al Quwain: 206
- Ras Al Khaimah: 256
- Fujairah: 292
- Khor Fakkan: 310
Prior to the construction of 'Dubai Palms' and other schemes, the coastline of the UAE was approximately 1,318 kilometres. Land reclamation projects are extending this figure.
The country's lowest point is at sea level and its highest point is 1,527 meters at Jebel Yibir.
The GDP of the UAE for 2018 in real prices amounted to approximately AED 1.6 trillion or in (US dollars: 435.70 billion) i.e an increase of 3.4%, compared to 2017.
(Source: The UAE & the World’s Leading Economies)
Imports and exports
The non-oil foreign trade (direct trade and free zones) amounted to 1.527.8trillion dirhams during 2017. The breakup is as follows:
Imports: 946.5 billion dirham
Non-oil exports: 181 billion dirham
Re-exports: 400.3 billion dirham.
The UAE cabinet has approved a federal budget of AED 60.3 billion for the year 2019, with a focus on those directly linked to citizens’ well-being, health, and education. The UAE cabinet have approved a total zero-deficit federal budget of AED 180 billion for three years (2019-2021). Learn more about previous federal budgets on MoF’s website.
The UAE's inflation rate was 1.97 per cent in 2017.
Consumer price index
As of June 2018, the UAE's consumer price index reached 111.50.
The UAE does not levy income tax on individuals. However, oil companies and branches of foreign banks are liable to pay taxes. In addition, the UAE levies 5 per cent Value Added Tax on the consumption or use of goods and services.
Natural resources and energy
Oil and gas
The UAE holds 4 per cent of the world's proven oil reserves and 3.5 per cent of proven gas reserves, estimated at 97.8 million barrels and 6,091 cubic metres respectively.
The UAE is ranked as the seventh largest proved reserves of both oil and natural gas globally.
Most of the UAE' reserves (95 per cent of the nation's oil reserves and about 94 per cent of its gas reserves) are in Abu Dhabi, both offshore and onshore.
Domestic supply is 220 volts. Sockets suitable for three-pin 13 AMPs plugs of British standard design are the norm. Appliances have two-pin plugs attached.
In 2016, the total installed capacity of electricity in the UAE reached 28761 megawatts (MW), which utilises natural gas.
The per capita consumption rate of electricity was 12,883 kWh per day in 2016.
The water consumed in the UAE is mainly desalinated, with an average per capita consumption rate of 500 litres per day.
According to State of Energy Report 2015, the installed capacity for desalinated and groundwater reached 1,604 million imperial gallons (7,3 million cubic meters) per day, while the production of desalinated water was 441,016 million imperial gallons (2 billion cubic meters) per year as of 2016.
Tap water produced by desalination is safe to drink; however, bottled water is preferred by most residents and tourists and priced reasonably in general.
In 2013, the UAE was ranked third in the world in the production of concentrated solar power (CSP).
In 2016, roughly 333 GW.h of solar power was being generated in the UAE.
The UAE adopted a nuclear programme for production of electricity. Four reactors are being built at the nuclear power plant in Baraka in the Western Region of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Upon the completion of this programme, a production capacity of up to 5600MW will be added to the national grid by 2020.
Government and semi-government offices operate from Sunday to Thursday.
Some private companies are closed only on Fridays while others are closed on both Fridays and Saturdays.
UAE National Day
It falls on 2 December and marks the UAE's formal nationalisation and the start of the federal unification of the emirates in 1971.
Commemoration Day falls on 1 December. It recognises the sacrifices and dedication of the sons of the nation, who have given their lives in the UAE and abroad in the field of civil, military and humanitarian service.
Other public holidays are:
- Gregorian New Year
- Eid Al Fitr
- Arafah day and Eid Al Adha
- Hijri New Year
- The Prophet's Mohammed birthday
International dialling code: +971
The dialling codes for the emirates/cities are:
- 02 for the emirate of Abu Dhabi
- 03 for Al Ain city in the emirate of Abu Dhabi
- 04 for the emirate of Dubai
- 06 for the emirates of Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain
- 07 for the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah
- 09 for the emirate of Fujairah and city of Khor Fakkan.
Telephones - fixed lines
According to Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, there were 2,329,011 fixed lines with an average of 26 lines per 100 inhabitants as of March 2019.
According to Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, there were 19,181,248 active mobile subscriptions with an average of 216 mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants as of March 2019.
The top-level domain is .ae.
According to Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, there were 3,021,010 broadband internet subscribers with an average of 34 broadband internet subscriptions per 100 inhabitants as of March 2019.
TV and radio
TV channels and radio stations are owned by government and private companies; both local and international.
Content is offered mainly in Arabic and English. Other languages of broadcast include Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, Tagalog and Farsi.
The number of TV and radio stations:
TV stations: 42
Radio stations: 26
Emirates News Agency (WAM) is the official UAE news agency of the UAE Government. It publishes news in multiple languages.
As of 2014, the capacity of the UAE's airports was about 100 million passengers.
Major airports in the UAE
Motorists drive on the right hand side of the road.
The emirate of Dubai levies a toll (salik) of AED 4 when vehicles pass through the toll gates.
E11 - it is the longest road in the UAE. It stretches from Al Silah in the emirate of Abu Dhabi to the boundary of Ras Al Khaimah.
It has various alternate names: Sheikh Maktoum Road in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai and Sheikh Muhammad bin Salem Road in Ras Al Khaimah.
E311 or Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, which was known as Emirates road - the road links Dubai to the rest of the emirates.
E611 or Emirates Bypass road - it has a length of 110km.
Sheikh Khalifa highway - it links Dubai and Fujairah.
According to the World Shipping Council, two of the world's top 50 container ports are in the UAE.
Overall, 61 per cent of cargo destined for GCC states arrives via UAE seaports.
The UAE has several seaports. Some of the major ports are: