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Area: 83,600 sq. km

Population: 9,581,000 (2014, est.)

Capital: Abu Dhabi

GDP: USD 399.5bn (2014, est.)

Exports: USD 404.7bn (2014, est.)

Imports: USD 271.7bn (2014, est.)

Currency: Emirati Dirham (AED)

Exchange rate: 1 USD = 3.67 AED (01/2016)


Economic Structure and Development:

In the 50 years since one was first discovered 1958 and exported 1962, the UAE has transformed from a region subsisting on pearling, fishing and agriculture into a modern state with the free economy – second in the region only to Qatar as one of the highest per capita incomes in the world – and the substantial annual trade and current account surplus. The UAE has come along way from its desert origins to its transformation into a country of six lane highways, towering skyscrapers and flourishing green golf courses – a melting pot of different nationalities and cultures.

Today, the UAE ranks as one of the Middle East’s most dynamic countries in terms of economic, cultural and social development. It is one of the most open and competitive emerging markets in the world, guided mainly by quality of service, value propositions and business intelligence. Since becoming the first country to permit the foreign ownership of real estate in selected economic areas in the region, many foreign investments have been made and large-scale projects, Such as Palm Island and others, have been established. In January 2010, the Emirate Dubai unveiled its latest landmark, Burj Khalifa. Standing at over 828 m, the tower is the world’s tallest building to date. The largest and wealthiest emulate of the UAE, however, is the national capital, Abu Dhabi. It Is also the principal petroleum owner and producer of the Federation, having at its disposal 7% of the worlds of oil reserves and some USD 500bn in its sovereign wealth funds. While Abu Dhabi is the hydrocarbon and industrial centre, Dubai, the second largest Emirate, is the undisputed trading, financial, and tourist hub of the country. Particularly during the credit boom that built up after 2000, Dubai sought to turn itself into the financial gateway and cosmopolitan centre of the Middle East. Altogether, the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai account for more than 80% of the UAE’s total income. Of late, the remaining five northern Emirates are also being developed, albeit at much slower pace, as basis for industries, trade and logistics. There adequate development continues to be a priority for the Federal Government.

Until 2008, that UAE’s strong growth performance was buttressed by high global oil prices and strong domestic demand, reflecting the rapid population growth (about 5% per year on average) and large infrastructure investment projects in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. On balance and according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010 issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the UAE was rain 23rd out of 133 countries in the world. Both fiscal and external current accounts recorded large surpluses, and foreign assets grew rapidly. The downside to this exemplary growth was rising inflation, and overblown real estate market in Dubai and domestic supply bottlenecks in certain sectors of the economy.

Dubai shocked what markets in November 2009 when it requested a freezing of USD 26bn worth of the debt owned by state owned conglomerate Dubai World, a flagship of the Emirate. Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s largest and wealthiest emirate, came to the rescue with a multibillion USD bailout to resolve its worst financial problems. Ever since that time, it has been a market shift in control towards Abu Dhabi, which supervisors on foreign policy related issues in particular, including the trade regime with Iran. A new level of cooperation between the two Emirates was reached in November 2013, when the EXPO 2020 was awarded to Dubai. The preceding Dubai campaign was a remarkable joint effort of the two Emirates and the federal government.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP):

Following several years of high GDP growth rates before 2008 (5-7% on average), GDP growth contract it is sharply in 2009. Analysts suggest there was no growth at all, mainly due to a lower-than-expected performance in Dubai. However, for 2010 experts had forecasted modest growth of 1.7% as the UAE emerges with the new optimism from external and internal crisis. Prospects for 2011 were even brighter: The government expected growth of around 3.9%, and for 2012 experts have forecasted at least 4.5% GDP growth. This forecast, which became true, was made by assuming that the oil price holds steady at high levels and that no new external shocks have to be endured. Continued political stability in the Arabian Peninsula and its periphery are further prerequisites for on-going growth is stability.

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