The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an Arab Islamic country in the GCC region of the Middle East made up of 7 emirates - Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), Umm Al Quwain (UAQ). Information, guide, and background to the UAE.
- UAE brand - a competition was launched 03 October 2010 by Sheikh Mohammed to design a logo and identity for the UAE, under the motto 'The Nation Brand Contest; Be part of the UAE history'.
Arabic names for UAE locations in English
- UAE emirates other names. First one is most common usage, we think, not confirmed if official or authoritative name:
- Abu Dhabi (AUH, ABD): AbuDhabi, Abu Zaby
- Ajman (AJM):
- Dubai (DXB): Dabayy
- Fujairah (FUJ): Al Fujayrah, Fujeirah, Fujiarah
- Ras Al Khaimah (RAK): Raas Al Khaimah, Ras Al Khayma, Ra's Al Khaymah
- Sharjah (SHJ): Ash Shariqah, Sharja
- Umm Al Quwain (UAQ): Umm Al Qaywayn, Umm Al Qaiwain, Umm Al Qwain
- And other UAE locations different names, items listed here are random not necessarily the most significant:
- Al Ain (city in AUH, not emirate) (AAN): Al Ayn, AlAin
- Baniyas Island: Sir Bani Yas Island, Sir Baniyas Island
- Dibba: Diba, Dibah, Dibbah, Diba Al Hisn
- Digdagga: Dig Dagga, Diggdaga, Diqdaqah, Diqdaqqah
- Jebel Ali: Jabal Ali, Jabel Ali, Jebal Ali, Mina Jabal Ali
- Jebel Hafeet: Jebel Hafit
- Jebel Jais: Jebel Jess
- Khorfakkan: Khawr Fakkan, Khor Fakkan, Khor Fakan
- Mina Zayed: Meena Zayed, Mina Zayid
- Ruwais: Al Ruwais, Ar Ruways
- Qutuf (?), Liwa region?
United Arab Emirates facts and figures
- *Total area: 83,600 sq km (includes disputed territory - 3 islands in the Straits of Hormuz occupied by Iran), or 77,700 sq km (excluding disputed territory). Majority of UAE land area, about 80% or 67,350 sq km, is part of the emirate of Abu Dhabi (LOC, June 2007).
- GDP, population, inflation, births, deaths, oil production
United Arab Emirates country reports, ratings, rankings
Global Corruption Index - Transparency Ratings - 03 Dec 2013
- The UAE was ranked 26th out of 177 countries in the Global Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International, with a score of 69/100 for 2013 (same position and score as Austria).
- Best six countries were Denmark and New Zealand (1st=), Finland and Sweden (3rd=), Norway and Singapore (5th=).
- Worst five countries were South Sudan, Sudan, Afghanisan, North Korea, Somalia.
- UAE rank in the Bribe Payers Index 2011 was 23rd out of 28 countries with a score of 7.3/10. The BPI measures the "perceived likelihood of companies from these countries to pay bribes abroad." The Netherlands and Switzerland topped the list, Russia and China were at the bottom. The countries surveyed included the G20 and a limited number of other countries based on trade openness and trade significance in the region, so the list might not be very useful as a worldwide ranking table.
- 14 Dec 2013: The Gulf News had an odd statement about the position of the UAE in the index, saying "With a rank of 26, and with 69 points, tops the Middle East. It ranks in the Top 15 globally given that some countries are tied in specific rankings" (print edition, not found online). However the UAE was not in the list of top 20 countries published in the same article.
HSBC Expat Explorer survey 2013 - 30 Oct 2013
- The UAE was ranked 9th best country in the world for expat living in the HSBC Expat Explorer survey for 2013.
- Top ten countries were China, Germany, Singapore, Cayman Islands, Australia, Canada, Russia, Belgium, UAE, Hong Kong, in that order.
- HSBC surveyed 7,000 expats around the world asking questions about quality of life, financial situation, and raising children abroad.
- Further details of who was surveyed and how, not supplied or found. So whilst the sample size is probably ok, the conclusion is somewhat meaningless since it's not clear if HSBC were only surveying wealthy bank customers on a high salary and generous expat package, or included a cross-section of expats from different nationalities and walks of life.
- For example an expat maid from Sri Lanka, or expat construction worker from India (who don't usually earn enough money to be acceptable customers for HSBC bank), might rank Australia or Canada far ahead of China as an expat destination. Whereas a British press release manufacturer for HSBC might find the UAE a much better proposition than Russia (which was in 7th place overall).
Doing Business 2014 report by The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) - 29 Oct 2013
- The UAE was 23rd place overall in the 2014 Ease of Doing Business report, out of 189 countries ranked. Top 5 places were held by Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, USA, Denmark in that order.
- The Ease of Doing Business report ranks countries based on 11 different criteria or categories. UAE rankings in each:
- Starting a Business (procedures, time, cost, and paid-in minimum capital requirement) - 37th
- Dealing with Construction Permits (procedures, time and cost)- 5th
- Getting Electricity (procedures, time and cost) - 4th
- Registering Property (procedures, time and cost) - 4th
- Getting Credit (movable collateral laws and credit information systems) - 86th
- Protecting Investors (disclosure and liability in related-party transactions) - 98th. The report noted that the UAE made
the biggest improvement in the
strength of investor protections in
- Paying Taxes (payments, time, and total tax rate) - 1st
- Trading Across Borders (documents, time, and cost) - 4th
- Enforcing Contracts (procedures, time and cost to resolve a commercial dispute) - 100th
- Resolving Insolvency (time, cost, outcome, and recovery rate) - 101st
- An eleventh category, Employing Workers (flexibility in the regulation of employment), was not assessed for the 2014 report.
- The UAE was 1st place in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for the "Trading Across Borders" and "Paying Taxes" categories, and 3 others (not clear which but probably Getting Electricity, Registering Property, and Dealing with Construction Permits) according to a WAM press release 31 Oct 2013 about the report.
WEF Global Competitiveness Report (World Economic Forum) 2012-2013 - Sep 2013
- UAE in 19th spot, up from 24th place in 2011-2013. Best Middle East economy was Qatar in 13th spot. Top five places to Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, Germany, USA.
Global Peace Index (GPI) 2013 (11 June 2013)
- The UAE was ranked in 36th spot (46th in 2012) in the worldwide Global Peace Index which rates 162 countries on how peaceful they are. Top 5 spots (most peaceful) were Iceland, Denmark, New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland (in that order), and bottom 5 were Afghanistan (worst), Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Sudan.
- The ratings are estimated based on 22 (or 23) different factors covering three different areas - ongoing conflicts, internal safety and security in society, militarization of the country.
- The GPI is an initiative by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a non-profit organisation with offices in New York and Sydney, registered in Australia.
Paying Taxes 2013 by the World Bank, the International Financial Corporation (IFC), and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) - 26 November 2012
- The UAE was ranked first out of 185 countries for having the easiest tax structure (up from 6th place in 2012). Companies in the UAE pay an annual total tax rate of 14.9%. Companies in the Middle East pay a total average tax rate of 23.6%, and the global average is 44.7%.
Doing Business Report 2013, (DBR) published by The World Bank and International Finance Corporation - 04 November 2012
- The UAE was ranked in 26th place out of 185 countries for ease of doing business. Rank for 2012 was 29th place (according to DBR website, but 33rd according to WAM press release).
- Criteria used for ranking countries were (with UAE rank in brackets): Starting a business (22), Dealing with construction permits (13), Getting electricity (7), Registering property (12), Getting credit (83), Protecting investors (128), Paying taxes (1), Trading across borders (5), Enforcing contracts (104), Resolving insolvency (101).
- Top ten countries were 1. Singapore, 2. Hong Kong, 3. New Zealand, 4. United States, 5. Denmark, 6. Norway, 7. United Kingdom, 8. South Korea, 9. Georgia, 10. Australia.
- More information for the UAE at www.doingbusiness.org/data/exploreeconomies/united-arab-emirates/ (includes details of business startup procedures and documentation).
- Full pdf report download at www.doingbusiness.org/~/media/giawb/doing%20business/documents/profiles/country/ARE.pdf.
2012 Legatum Institute Prosperity Index
- The UAE was ranked 29th overall out of 142 countries in the 2012 Legatum Institute Prosperity Index. It was the highest ranked country in the Middle East and North Africa region (well, all of Africa actually). It was the only non-Western country to get a "High" ranking (if Slovenia and Croatia are seen as "western" countries). The top 30 "High" ranking countries were Canada, USA, Australia, NZ, Japan, South Korea, most EU countries, Switzerland, Cyprus, Croatia, UAE.
- In previous years, the UAE ranked 27th (2011), 30th (2010), 27th (2009) out of 110 countries in each of those years.
- Sector rankings for the UAE were Economy (17th), Entrepreneurship and Opportunity (30th), Governance (41st), Education (37th), Health (32nd), Safety and Security (23rd), Personal Freedom (66th), Social Capital (42nd).
- Top ten rankings were 1. Norway, 2. Demark, 3. Sweden, 4. Australia, 5. New Zealand, 6. Canada, 7. Finland, 8. Netherlands, 9. Switzerland, 10. Ireland.
- The LI rankings are based on economic data (GDP per head, etc), and results from a Gallup World Poll. The GWP surveys 500-1,000 people (sometimes up to 2,000) in each country with a questionnaire by telephone or face-to-face interviews. In the UAE, for 2011, the GWP conducted just over 1,000 interviews, in Arabic. The GWP methodology document says Includes Emiratis and Arab expatriates; non-Arabs were excluded. It is estimated that more than half of the adult population is excluded. This might mean there is some distortion introduced in the ranking, since it is unknown if the excluded group would give similar answers to the same questions. No information seen about the 2012 GWP specific to the UAE, presumably the methodology was unchanged, or the 2012 poll had not yet been conducted.
- PI website at www.prosperity.com. GWP website at www.gallup.com.
TNS MENA UAE Quality of Life survey - 14 August 2012 press release
- TNS MENA surveyed 5,000 Emirati citizens with 91% of them saying they were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the quality of life in the UAE. The CEO of TNS MENA, Steve Hamilton-Clark, commented that the UAE was behind Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, but ahead of many other European countries compared to a similar (apparently) survey, the Standard Eurobarometer 76.
- The Standard Eurobarometer 76 is an annual survey of about 1,000 residents in each country in Europe, carried out by TNS Global(?).
- Given the large proportion of expatriate residents living in the UAE who were excluded from the survey (roughly 80% of the population), the comparison with the Eurobarometer survey is probably rather tenuous.
- TNS is a worldwide market research organisation.
Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 - 03 July 2012
- The UAE was ranked 27th out of 142 countries in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012. Qatar was the top ranked Middle Eastern country in 14th spot. Top ten spots (in order) were Switzerland (1st), Singapore (2nd), Sweden (3rd), Finland (4th), USA (5th), Germany (6th), Netherlands (7th), Denmark (8th), Japan (9th), United Kingdom (UK) (10th).
- Subindex rankings for the UAE were: Basic Requirements (10th), Efficiency Enhancers (25th), Innovation and Sophistication Factors (27th). Each of the subindexes is divided further into pillars, with UAE rankings for Institutions (22nd), Infrastructure (8th), Macroeconomic Environment (11th), Health and Primary Education (41st), Higher Education and Training (33rd), Goods Market Efficiency (10th), Labor Market Efficiency (28th), Financial Market Development (33rd), Technological Readiness (30th), Market Size (43rd), Business Sophistication (23rd), Innovation (28th).
- Each pillar is then divided into a number of indicators (total of 111 indicators). Indicators for which the UAE ranked in the top 10 (out of 142 countries) were: Public trust of politicians (8th), Wastefulness of government spending (5th), Business costs of crime and violence (3rd), Organized crime (8th), Quality of overall infrastructure (9th), Quality of roads (7th), Quality of port infrastructure (6th), Quality of air transport infrastructure (4th), Available airline seat kms/week (3.2 bn, 10th), Inflation annual % change (0.9%, 1st), Business impact of malaria (1st), Malaria cases/100,000 pop. (1st), Tuberculosis incidence/100,000 pop. (4th), Extent and effect of taxation (3rd), Total tax rate % of profits (14.1%, 5th), Burden of customs procedures (7th), Buyer sophistication (10th), Flexibility of wage determination (5th), Rigidity of employment index (10th), Brain drain (10th), Ease of access to loans (10th), FDI and technology transfer (10th), Government procurement of advanced technical products (5th).
- The UAE did not rank in the bottom 10 countries for any indicators. The worst indicator rankings for the UAE were (taking any indicator where the UAE ranked at 72nd or worse): Strength of investor protection (100th), Primary education enrolment net % (89.7%, 99th), Tertiary education enrolment gross % (30.4%, 74th), Number of procedures to start a business (8, 78th), Redundancy costs - weeks of salary (84, 108th), Women in labor force ration to men (0.46, 128th), Legal rights index (89th).
- Report summary for UAE is: For the second year in a row, the United Arab Emirates loses two places in the GCI to take the 27th position. The drop reflects deterioration in a number of areas, but the most striking is the country’s loss of its ability to harness the latest technologies for productivity improvements. The country’s overall competitiveness reflects the high quality of its infrastructure, where it ranks a very good 8th, as well as its highly efficient goods markets (10th). Strong macroeconomic stability (11th) and some positive aspects of the country’s institutions—such as an improving public trust in politicians (8th) and high government efficiency (5th)—round up the list of competitive advantages. However, over recent years, we have observed a lower assessment of institutions overall—an assessment that was probably affected by the particular severity of the country’s economic crisis. The resulting reorientation of the country’s development model will demand solid foundations in competitiveness and a continuation of competitiveness-enhancing structural reforms to reduce the risk of asset bubbles and put economic development on a more stable footing. Priorities in this context should include further investment to boost health and educational outcomes. Raising the bar with respect to education will require not only measures to improve the quality of teaching and the relevance of curricula, but also incentivizing the population to attend schools at the primary and secondary levels.
World Happiness Report - 03 April 2012
- The UAE was ranked 17th (just ahead of the UK at 18th spot) in a World Happiness Report, prepared by the United Nations (UN), based on a survery carried out from 2005 to 2011 to determine happiness levels of residents from 156 countries.
- Top ten places (in order) went to 1. Denmark,
8. New Zealand,
10. Ireland. The USA was in 11th place.
2011 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) - UAE Government Policy efficiency - 28 March 2012
- The IMD World Competitiveness Center gave the UAE 4th spot for Government Efficiency in their annual rankings for the 2011 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) which bases rankings (for 59 countries?) on economic
performance, government efficiency,
business efficiency, and infrastructure.
- Top 3 spots for government efficiency were Hong Kong, Singapore, and Switzerland in that order.
- In other categories, the UAE was ranked 21st for Economic Performance, 46th for Business Efficiency, and 39th for Infrastructure.
- Overall ranking for the UAE was 16 (out of 59 countries), a jump of 12 places from 28th spot in 2011 (31 May 2012 update).
- IMD (International Institute for Management Development) is a well-known business school offering highly rated MBA programs in Geneva, Switzerland.
NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Index - reported 29 February 2012
- The UAE was ranked 9th out of 12 countries in the NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Index. Emirates 24-7 managed to find a way to spin a positive sounding headline by saying "UAE expats say financial position 'improved dramatically' ...
Country ranked ahead of Singapore and Hong Kong".
- The 12 countries were (in rank order from best to worst): 1. Canada 2. New Zealand 3. Australia 4. France 5. South Africa 6. Portugal 7. Spain 8. USA 9. UAE 10. Singapore 11. Hong Kong 12. China.
- The annual survey started in 2007 and surveys UK expats in the selected countries. Original report not supplied or found. Presumably the survey is carried out amongst a handful of NatWest customers, but how big a handful and how random a sample it is, is unknown, so perhaps a large dose of salt should be added.
Forbes richest countries in the world - 26 February 2012
- Forbes magazine ranked the UAE as the 6th richest country in the world in a vague kind of way, by calculating the UAE's per capita income as US$47,500. Qatar was at top spot with a per capita income of $88,000, making for odd (and inaccurate) sounding headlines such as Qatar is the richest country in the world.
- Other rankings were Luxembourg in 2nd place with $81,000 in per capita income, Singapore (3rd, $56,700), Norway (4th, $52,000), Brunei (5th, $48,000). At the bottom of the list were Burundi ($400), Liberia ($386), Democratic Republic of Congo ($312).
- Anyone can do the same calculation by dividing GDP by population, so we're not sure why Forbes got a few newspaper headlines out of it (and come to think of it, why we even mentioned them on this page).
- Forbes did not report any comments from laborers or maids in the UAE, many of whom have a per capita income of less than $3,000 per year (at least the ones who actually get paid).
- In terms of total GDP per annum, the US is still far ahead of any other country with about $15 trillion.
- In terms of assets, it's probably a toss-up between China, Russia, USA depending on what you measure and how you measure it (we're guessing).
HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2011 - reported 06 January 2012
- The UAE was ranked as the least friendly country for expats to live in, according to the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, carried out from May to July 2011, of 3,385 expatriates in 100 countries. Top three spots went to New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa (in that order). The "friendliest" measure was based on how ease of befriending locals, learning the local language, integrating into the community, and fitting into the new culture.
- However, the UAE came in at number 3 spot in terms of overall survey results when such things as having a boat, swimming pool, nicer car, etc were included. Singapore and Hong Kong were in first and second place under overall criteria.
- See website at expatexplorer.hsbc.com for full country report downloads. Survey is conducted online and probably more representative of HSBC customer base than population demographics of countries surveyed.
- Update: the HSBC survey results prompted a bit of a Twitter storm of reactions with people posting their disagreement with the unfriendly label the survey dished out under the hashtag #UAEFriendly. On 18 January 2012 the managing editor of Forbes, Dan Bigman, wrote an article called "My Quest For Paradise On The Expat Explorer" in which he commented on the HSBC survey. He didn't specifically say the survey was wrong to rate the UAE as the most unfriendly country but did say things like "Where will your children be safest–and watch less TV? (Perfect!). Singapore, Hong Kong and The United Arab Emirates." and "But according to HSBC’s survey, expat paradise does exist: in Singapore, Hong Kong or the United Arab Emirates." Other media publications picked up on Mr Bigman's article and interpreted it as a retraction of the original survey results - The National 22 January 2012 said "Forbes takes back 'unfriendly UAE' label, dubs country 'expat paradise'" and Emirates 24-7 said "Expats force Forbes to reconsider ‘unfriendly’ tag"
Transparency International annual Corruption Perceptions Index 2011 - 01 December 2011
- The UAE was ranked at 28th position out of 183 countries in the annual CPI index released by Transparency International, with a score of 6.8 on a scale of 0-10 (10 being the least corrupt). Not so far behind the USA at 24th position. Qatar was the best ranked GCC country in 22nd position.
- Top five countries (least corrupt, that is) are New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Singapore, in that order. Bottom five (most corrupt) are Somalia, North Korea, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan (Somalia the worst).
United Nations Human Development Report - 02 November 2011
- The UAE was ranked in 30th place out of 187 countries surveyed for the UN "Human Development Report 2011, Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All." The UAE was the top Arab country in the report.
- Top 5 spots were for Norway, Australia, The Netherlands, The United States, New Zealand. Top Arab countries with rankings in brackets were UAE (30), Qatar (37), Bahrain (42), Saudi Arabia (56), Kuwait (63), Oman (89).
UAE company tax rates - PWC report 14 April 2011
- The UAE was ranked 58th out of 59 countries in a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report of Effective Tax Rates for international companies from 2006-2009, with a rate of 2.2%. Highest rate was for Japan at 38.8%. See also tax rates in UAE.
UAE import export trade - WTO report 08 April 2011
- The UAE is the 13th largest exporter and 18th largest importer in the world according to the World Trade Organization (WTO) World Trade Report for 2010, released 07 April 2011.
- UAE export total for 2010 was AED 862 billion ($235 bn), or 2% of total world merchandise exports, an increase of 27% from 2009.
- UAE import total for 2010 was AED 624 billion ($170 bn), or 1.4% of total world merchandise imports, an increase of 13% from 2009.
Global Professionals on the Move report by Hydrogen - 15 March 2011
- The UAE ranked in the top 10 for countries to live and work in according to a 2011 report by Hydrogen Group (a recruitment agency based in Australia, Singapore, and UK), and ESCP Europe, called "Global Professionals on the Move", based on a survey of 3,155 professionals from 70 different countries. Report dated 04 March 2011?
- Sector rankings for the UAE included 7th for legal and finance industries, 5th for engineering, and 7th (?) in the technology industry.
Human Rights Watch 2011 report UAE
- On 26 January 2011 the HRW organisation issued a press release about the UAE chapter of the 2011 HRW report, and said: The human rights situation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) worsened in 2010, particularly for migrant workers, as the construction slowdown in Dubai continued. Other pressing human rights issues include torture, restrictions on freedoms of expression and association, and violations of women's rights. Authorities continue to prevent peaceful demonstrations and to harass local human rights defenders.
- On 27 January 2011, Gulf News reported that
the UAE Ministry of Labour pledged its commitment to protecting and improving the rights of workers in the UAE and said it welcomed constructive comments, suggestions and criticism by international stakeholders.
- As the MOL made clear in a press release published by WAM on 26 January 2011 which included the comment MOL continues to believe that tabloid style advocacy of human and labour rights does a disservice to the very cause of human rights of foreign workers and undermines the credibility of the advocating organization. Which didn't sound quite as welcoming as the Gulf News said they said.
- However, the MOL did sound more welcoming later on when they said MOL is committed to continuously improve the protection of the rights of workers in the UAE and welcomes constructive comments, suggestions and criticism by international stakeholders.
- Another news release published by WAM on 27 January 2011 said the UAE Writers Association and the UAE Journalists Association lamented the inaccuracy of information in the HRW report and denounced a move by two UAE citizens who sought help from the international organisation without referring to local authorities to verify their claims. Possibly referring to the former president of the UAE Jurist Association - HRW said he was dismissed from his position as a legal adviser to the government of Ras Al Khaimah in January 2010 after he gave a television interview in which he criticized restrictions on freedom of speech in the country. Authorities have subjected him to a travel ban since October 2007 and have refused to renew his passport since March 2008.
- Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch said in the HRW press release "The actions by UAE authorities against its human rights advocates are completely inconsistent with the government's message that this is an open and tolerant country. The UAE government should recognize that Emiratis who promote peaceful political debate are as important for the country's development and progress as its bankers and builders."
- But then the WAM report on 27 January 2011 said that The statement also noted that the HRW's executive director for Middle East and North Africa confessed during the Press conference that the report's language was exaggerated and promised to correct the generalisation in the report.
- Overall, the situation in the UAE is probably best summed up by the final sentence from Ms Whitson in the HRW press release: "The UAE has many good laws on paper - the test for 2011 will be enforcing them."
- Complete UAE chapter of report available here: www.hrw.org/en/world-report-2011/united-arab-emirates
Doing Business 2011 report published by World Bank and International Finance Corporation
- UAE ranked in 37th place, up from 40th place in 2010, as a place to do business in a report comparing 183 countries.
- Saudi Arabia was the best in the region in 11th place overall, up from 12th spot in 2010.
- Top 5 positions globally were Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, UK, and USA, in that order (and the same as in 2010).
- In the "Trading Across Borders" category, the UAE ranked 3rd, up from 5th in the 2010 report, and 13th in the 2009 report. The high ranking was apparently helped by logistics developments by Dubai Trade, part of Dubai World.
EIU Democracy Index 2010 ratings (14 December 2010)
- UAE ranked 148 out of 167 countries in the Democracy Index 2010, and classed as an Authoritarian Regime with an overall score of 2.52 out of 10 (ranked 147 with a score of 2.60 in the 2008 Democracy Index). The most democratic country was Norway (9.80 out of 10). The least democratic country was North Korea (1.08 out of 10).
- The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index is based on five categories (UAE score out of 10 in brackets): electoral process and pluralism (0.00), functioning of government (3.57), political participation (1.11), political culture (5.00), civil liberties (2.94).
- Countries are rated in one of four categories (number of countries in brackets): full democracies (26), flawed democracies (53), hybrid regimes (33), authoritarian regimes (55).
- First EIU Democracy Index was published in 2007 based on assessment as of September 2006. Second index measured the state of democracy at the end of 2008.
Legatum Institute Prosperity Index - 27 October 2010
- The UAE was ranked in 30th place out of 110 countries in the Legatum Institute Prosperity Index which measures economic growth and quality of life.
- The UAE was the top country in the Middle East on the index.
- Norway, Denmark, and Finland shared top spot overall.
UAE Transparency International Corruption Perception Index - 26 October 2010
- The UAE was in 28th spot out of 178 countries on the 2010 Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index with a score of 6.3 out of 10, up 2 places from 30th spot in the 2009 CPI.
- In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, the UAE was 2nd after Qatar which was awarded 19th spot overall.
- First place worldwide was shared by
Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore with a score of 9.3 for each country.
World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011
- The UAE was placed in 25th spot out of 139 countries surveyed for the 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) with a Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) of 4.9 (report and press release 09 September 2010).
- In 2009-2010, the UAE was 23rd out of 133 countries with a GCI of 4.9.
- In 2008-2009, the UAE was 31st out of 134 countries with a GCI of 4.7.
- Out of the 6 GCC countries, the UAE was behind Qatar (17) and Saudi Arabia (21), but ahead of Oman (34), Kuwait (35), and Bahrain (37).
- Top 5 places were awarded to Switzerland (1), Sweden (2), Singapore (3), United States (4), Germany (5).
- Competitiveness criteria used are:
business sophistication, financial market development, goods market efficiency, health and primary education, higher education and training, infrastructure, innovation, institutions, labour market efficiency, macro-economic environment, market size, technological readiness.
GCI Section or Pillar rankings for 2010-2011 as follows:
||Health and primary education
||Higher education and training
||Goods market efficiency
||Labor market efficiency
||Financial market development
HSBC survery 2010
- An HSBC Bank survey of 25 countries listed the UAE as the 4th best place to live in terms of financial quality of life in 2010 for expatriates, up from 5th in 2009 (Emirates Business newspaper 02 September 2010).
- The UAE was beaten by Bahrain, Russia, Saudi Arabia. Remember this was a survey of financial quality of life. Money isn't everything though.
- But the UAE was ahead of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands (Holland), Singapore, Switzerland, UK, USA.
Employment in UAE 2010 Bayt survey
- For jobs in the UAE, employees voted the country into second place after Saudi Arabia in the Bayt Middle East Job Index of preferred emmployment destinations, making a mockery of all the bar and coffee shop talk of how unpleasant Saudi is for foreign and expat workers (press release 18 September 2010).
- The survey asked 2,763 workers in the ME region, of whom 46% voted for the KSA, and 44% voted for the UAE. Which seems to imply that only 10% voted for Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and any other countries that Bayt thinks are in the Middle East region.
- Actual report date appears to be August 2010 (from July 2010 survey), and includes
Activities, entertainment and events in UAE
- Things to do in UAE - list of clubs, sports, hobbies, and other activities (mostly Dubai, updates to other emirates one day ...)
Art and culture in UAE
Business in UAE
- A CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) survey of senior managers in the GCC region rated Dubai (31% preference) and Abu Dhabi (21% preference) as the most desirable cities in the Middle East for companies to establish their HQ offices (press release 06 October 2010). Coincidentally, CBRE happens to have offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Crime in UAE
- The UAE is relatively safe with regards to personal crime, compared to many other countries.
- Drugs in UAE is something to watch out for, more because of the possibility of an unexpected jail sentence for tourists bringing what they thought were acceptible medications.
Crime rumours and facts in the UAE
- The somewhat stifled nature of reporting in the UAE, especially about bad news related to the UAE, and the tendency of expatriate residents anywhere to stir up a flourishing rumour mill results in gossip that spreads very quickly even if there is no factual basis.
- For example stories of young children being kidnapped from shopping malls. It is possible such an event has happened but it seems unlikely in our opinion. Certainly, most expat parents who live in the UAE feel their children are safer here than where ever they may have originated from.
- Interpol has issued a disproportionately large number of Red Notices for the UAE (a Red Notice is issued by Interpol at the request of the police department of a member country for a wanted fugitive). As of July 2010, a total of 221 Red Notices were outstanding for criminals wanted by the UAE, putting it in the top ten in the world (USA is number one with 688 but the population of the USA is about 50x higher than the UAE). The UAE figure includes 160 people wanted for fraud, which includes a number of residents (or fugitives) who have been convicted of cheque fraud in UAE. Something which is not a criminal offence in most countries.
Currency and money in UAE
- Unit of UAE currency is the UAE dirham, divided into 100 fils, symbol / abbreviation AED. The abbreviations Dh and dhs are commonly used.
- The UAE dirham is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of AED3.67 : US$1.00 (or AED1.00 = US$0.272). The rate varies slightly from day to day but not at a level significant for the average tourist, visitor, or resident to worry about.
- The UAE-US currency peg was implemented when the UAE was formed in 1971 and has been in place since then. There has been occasional talk of depegging or revaluation of the dirham, especially in 2008-2009, but it is likely to remain mostly speculative talk for the foreseeable future, hyped up by the occasional international journalist looking for another headline about the UAE.
- The UAE holds significant investments in US dollars, for example the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) with estimates ranging from US$300-$1000 billion (AED 1,100-3,700 billion). A 10% revaluation (downwards - an upwards revaluation is implausible) would imply an immediate paper loss of AED 110-370 billion on just the ADIA investment portfolio.
- See also list of banks in UAE.
Economy in UAE
- GDP of UAE:
- 2013: AED 1.4 trillion, GDP growth of 4% from 2012 (IMF figures, reported 05 Mar 2014 or earlier).
- 2012: AED 1.02 trillion (Real GDP), +4.4% from 2011 (UAE National Statistics Bureau, 05 Aug 2013).
- 2011: AED 1.24 trillion (Nominal GDP), AED 982 bn (inflation adjusted Real GDP) (05 June 2012 figures).
- 2010: AED 1.04 trillion (Nominal GDP), AED 942 bn (inflation adjusted Real GDP). 20102 - US$301.9 bn.
- 2009: AED 844 billion (US$230 bn)1.
- Population of UAE: 20102 - 4.7 million. 2009 - 4.6 million1.
- GDP per capita in UAE, annual: 20102 - US$59,717. 2009 - AED 171,965 (US$46,857)1.
- Inflation in the UAE:
- 2012: 0.66%, forecast 1.01% for 2013 (UAE National Statistics Bureau, 05 Aug 2013).
- 2011: 0.88%, max 1.5% (2012 forecast reported 05 June 2012).
- WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011.
- WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012.
IMF report and figures for UAE
|Nominal GDP (AED bn)
- Last update 11 June 2013 (United Arab Emirates—2013 Article IV Consultation Concluding Statement of the IMF Mission).
- Figures in italics are estimates or forecasts.
UAE Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
- 2012 economic growth forecast of 3.8% (IMF). UAE Ministry of Economy forecast 4.5% (WAM, 09 Dec 2012).
- 2011 nominal GDP forecast of AED 1.15 trillion (AED 1,150 billion)¹, real GDP increase 3.5%². IMF 2011 economic growth forecast 3.2% (AFP report 24 Oct 2010). IMF updated forecast 3.25% growth (08 March 2011).
- 2010 nominal GDP forecast to reach almost AED 1 trillion¹ (or AED 925 bn - 25 Oct 2010 figure from UAE Ministry of Economy), real GDP increase 2.6%² or 2.1% (Reuters 01 Oct 2010). IMF 2010 economic growth forecast 2.4% (24 Oct 2010).
- 2010 IMF economic growth forecast 1.3% (to be upgraded mid-October 2010, Masood Ahmed, IMF Middle East Director - Bloomberg 16 September 2010)
- 2009 nominal GDP AED 914 billion¹, real GDP decrease 2.7%² or 2.1% decrease (Reuters 01 Oct 2010). IMF figure says economy contracted by 2.5% (24 October 2010).
- 2009 IMF economic forecast 1% contraction
- 2008 real GDP growth 7.4%, nominal GDP growth 23.2%²
- 2004 GDP AED 388 billion (UAE Economy magazine published by the UAE Ministry of Economy - Emirates Business 25 Oct 2010).
UAE export earnings, import spending, and trade balance
- 2011 UAE non-oil trade AED 928 billion, increased AED 173 bn (23%) from 2010 figure of AED 754 bn (20 May 2012 press release from FCA - Federal Customs Authority).
More detailed numbers are:
- Non-oil imports AED 603 bn (2010 - AED 485bn, up 24%). Top five countries are India AED 105bn, China AED 55bn, USA AED 52bn, Germany 31bn, Japan 30bn. By sector or product, top imports were gold AED 100bn, diamonds AED 59bn, cars AED 28bn, jewelry and ornaments AED 23bn, telephone sets AED 7.3bn.
- Non-oil exports AED 114bn (2010 - AED 83bn, up 37%). Top three destinations India (AED 36bn), Switzerland (AED 14.5 bn), Saudi Arabia (AED 5.7bn). Top export sectors were gold AED 62bn; fire-fighting, guiding equipment, and ships AED 4.3bn; petroleum oils and other derivatives AED 3.8bn; un-fabricated aluminum AED 2.1bn; ornaments and jewelry AED 2bn.
- Non-oil re-exports AED 211bn (2010 - AED 186bn, up 13%). Top five re-export countries were India (AED 53bn), Iraq (AED 10bn), Belgium (AED 9bn), Hong Kong (AED 7.2bn), Saudi Arabia (AED 6bn).
- UAE free zone total trade volume was AED 15.8bn - AED 7.6bn imports, AED 2.8bn exports, AED 40bn re-exports (figures given as supplied, appear to be inconsistent, a figure of AED 5.4bn for re-exports would mean the numbers added up but that's just a guess on our part, the original press release says AED 40bn).
- A WAM report on 20 May 2012 re-stated FCA figures but somewhat confusingly, for example, said total non-oil imports of AED 370 bn, total exports of AED 78bn. Figures appear to be for top countries, not all countries.
- 2011 UAE trade surplus forecast AED 157 billion¹
- 2010 trade surplus forecast AED 143 billion¹
- 2009 estimated total trade value of goods and services US$390 billion made up of $188 bn for imports and $202 bn for exports. UAE figure exceeded that of Saudi Arabia (total trade value $366 bn) for the first time in UAE history (since 1971). (IMF report 01 November 2010). UAE government figures were exports of goods worth AED 207 bn, re-exports of AED 629 bn, and imports of AED 943 bn.
According to data from IAIGC in Kuwait, UAE exports are worth about 1.4% of total global exports, and imports are worth 1.1% (Emirates Business 01 November 2010). UAE population is about 0.1% of the total world population.
- 2009 UAE export earnings AED 705 billion¹ (previous estimate AED 641 bn, a fall of 27% from 2008²)
- 2009 UAE import spending AED 550 billion¹
- 2009 trade surplus AED 155 bn¹, or AED 80 bn as reported by Emirates Business 24-7 on 12 September 2010 (stronger oil prices would also sharply widen the UAE's trade surplus to nearly Dh143 billion this year compared with Dh79.6bn in 2009)? Previous estimate of AED 110 bn²
- 2008 estimated total trade US$469 billion made up of imports of $220 bn and exports of $258 bn (IMF report 01 November 2010).
- 2008 export earnings AED 844 billion¹
- 2008 import spending AED 633 bn¹
- 2008 trade balance AED 143 bn¹
UAE current account surplus
- 2011 (forecast) UAE current account surplus 2.5% of GDP, or about AED 29 billion¹
- 2010 (forecast) UAE current account surplus 2.1% of GDP, or about AED 21 billion¹ (previous forecast AED 22 bn or 2.3% of GDP²)
- 2009 (forecast) current account deficit AED 15 billion (1.8% of GDP)²
UAE Consolidated Financial Account
- 2009 surplus about AED 3.5 billion (Arab Monetary Fund Abu Dhabi figure reported 25 Oct 2010)
- 2008 budget surplus about AED 197 billion (AMF figure reported 25 Oct 2010)
UAE Public Spending
- 2009 public spending AED 289 billion (AMF figure reported 25 Oct 2010)
- 2008 public spending AED 254 billion (AMF figure reported 25 Oct 2010)
UAE inflation figures
- 2011 inflation forecast 3.2%². IMF CPI inflation forecast 4% (08 March 2011).
- 2010 inflation forecast 4%²
- 2009 H1 inflation estimate 3.4%, 2009 FY inflation estimate 1.5%²
- Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Country Outlook report 01 September 2010
- Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Country Outlook report 27 May 2010. Official data not used by EIU for inflation estimates and forecasts as they reflect prices paid by the minority Emirati population, which benefits from a wide range of subsidies.
Trade figures between UAE and other countries
- Yemen-UAE annual trade over US$2 billion, including US$1.6 billion in UAE exports. The UAE exports to Yemen worth about 20% of Yemen's total imports (WAM 01 Sep 2013 news about Etihad Airways first flight to Sana'a).
Education and educational institutes in UAE
Geography of UAE
Any geographical names used here are not intended reflect any sort of political opinion. Where there is any sort of dispute involved, the name is used which reflects what we think is common English usage by UAE nationals.
The UAE is mostly desert with a few mountain ranges in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah (highest peak less than 2000 meters), and beaches accessible from all emirates. Abu Dhabi is by far the largest emirate in terms of land area.
- Al Ain is a large city that is in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, but is not an emirate on its own.
- Khor Fakkan and Kalba are smaller towns that are geographically on the East Coast near Fujairah but politically part of the emirate of Sharjah.
- Dibba is another small town on the East Coast, politically split 3 ways between Sharjah, Fujairah, and the country of Oman.
- Hatta is a small town that is part of the emirate of Dubai.
- Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs - 3 islands in the Arabian Gulf claimed by the UAE but occupied by Iran since the late 1970s or early 1980s. In April 2010, the UAE foreign minister compared the Iranian occupation of the islands to Israel's occupation of Palestine. Iran was not amused, and pointedly said so.
Arabian Gulf vs Persian Gulf? What's in a name?
- The body of water between the Gulf Arab countries and Iran is called the Arabian Gulf by the GCC countries and most or all other Arab nations, and the Persian Gulf by Iran and most of the rest of the world.
- The issue of the name is sensitive to Gulf Arab nations and to Iran. Most other countries don't seem to be that bothered by it.
- There are opinions on both sides of the fence (or water) justifying one or the other name.
- The United Nations (UN) and most other international organisations, maps, and non-Arab countries refer to the puddle as the Persian Gulf. Some countries and publications make an effort to use the words Arabian Gulf when they feel it is appropriate.
- Historically it has been referred to as the Persian Gulf. The name Arabian Gulf only started to be used from the 1960s?
- Some countries, organisations, and people use "The Gulf" in an attempt to be neutral. But that still usually annoys Iran.
- In February 2010, the BBC reported that Hamid Behbahani, the Iranian transport minister said they would ban planes from Iranian airspace with inflight systems referring to the body of water as the Arabian Gulf, or impound them if they landed in Iran. So far no planes were banned, impounded or fined as far as we know.
- Some news agencies, Bloomberg for example, seem to make extra effort to highlight the Persian Gulf name in their reports leaving one with the feeling that they deliberately want to have a poke at the Gulf countries, in particular the UAE, and Dubai.
- One smart-aleck has published a website page at www.arabian-gulf.info with a could not be found message. Trying to enter www.persian-gulf.info results in a message from Google saying it could not be found either.
- 18 May 2012 - Reuters reported that following the Google Maps removal of the name of the body of water (if you check, it is indeed without a name), the Iranian Foreign Ministry was threatening to sue Google. Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying "One of the seditionist acts taken as part of the soft war against the Iranian nation has been Google's shameless act to drop the name 'Persian Gulf' which is ... against historical documents. ... We have put on our agenda to make an official complaint against Google"
History of UAE
- 02 Dec 1971 - The United Arab Emirates was formed as a union of 6 emirates - Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain (UAQ). Ras Al Khaimah joined in 1972.
Important and famous people in UAE
- Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahayan - Founder and first president of the UAE. President from 02 Dec 1971 to 02 Nov 2004. Also referred to as the Father of the UAE, Founding Father of the UAE, or Father of the Nation UAE.
- Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahayan - President of the UAE, from 03 Nov 2004.
- Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum - Prime Minister and Vice-President of the UAE. Also Ruler of the emirate of Dubai. From Jan 2006.
- Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan - Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi from 03 Nov 2004. Not the crown prince of the UAE, as the position doesn't exist, but the Ruler of Abu Dhabi is also President of the UAE, so the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince is defacto next in line for the UAE presidency.
Infrastructure in UAE
Electricity and power generation and consumption
- UAE power consumption in 2009 estimated at 68 Terra Watt hours (TWh), and electricity generation estimated at 76 TWh in 2008. UAE power consumption estimated at 95 TWh by end 2019, annual growth of 5.4% in generating capacity needed (Business Monitor International report, press release 09 October 2010).
- See also Nuclear Energy in the UAE.
Landmarks in UAE
Living in UAE
Politics and government in UAE
Population and demographics in UAE
Religion in UAE
Shopping in UAE
Tourism in UAE
- 01 May 2012 - news reports said the UAE might become a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in 2012. Taleb Rifai, UNWTO secretary-general, said "The government has been talking to us about becoming a full member following the establishment of the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities". The NCTA was established in 2009 as a UAE federal tourism authority - up until then, there wasn't one, and to be a member of the UNWTO, a country needs a federal tourism agency.
- UAE for tourists - a brief introduction for tourists and visitors (for Dubai but mostly applicable to other emirates in the UAE)
- Dubai tourist guide - some places to go and things to do
Transport in UAE
- Public Camel Network - no not really, but might be something to elaborate on next time someone asks if there are camels in the UAE.
- UAE railway network - under development. Inter-emirate public transport is bus or taxi until it's finished.
Travel - Getting to and from UAE
- Abu Dhabi Airport (airport code AUH).
- Dubai International Airport (airport code DXB) - majority of visitors and residents fly into and out of Dubai.
- Sharjah International Airport.
- Oman and Saudi Arabia have land borders with the UAE. Travelling to and from Oman is relatively easy but Saudi is more difficult for non-GCC nationals. Some maps show a land border with Qatar but good luck trying to avoid the Saudi border post on the that road.
- By sea
- UAE visas on arrival are available for some nationalities and GCC residents, UAE visit visas or UAE tourist visas are available for most other nationalities, and GCC nationals don't need a visa.
Weather and climate in UAE
- Spring - hot.
- Summer - welcome to the sauna, very hot and humid.
- Autumn - hot.
- Winter - pleasant during the day, can be surprisingly cool at night.
List of international conventions, treaties, agreements the UAE is a signatory to (incomplete)
- Basel Convention of Transboundary Movements on Hazardous Wastes
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (under consideration, not signed?)
- Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD)
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) - signed in 1990?
- Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
- Double taxation agreements with UAE (separate page)
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1995)
- IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (2003)
- IAEA Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (2003)
- International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 29: Forced Labour, 1930
- ILO Convention No. 100: Equal Remuneration, 1951 (ILO Equal Remuneration Convention of 1951 - ratified by UAE on 24 February 1997)
- ILO Convention No. 105: Abolition of Forced Labour, 1957
- ILO Convention No. 111: Discrimination (Employment and Occupation), 1958
- ILO Convention No. 138: Minimum Age, 1973
- ILO Convention No. 182: Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999
- ILO Night Work Convention (Women) Revised of 1948
- Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) - a US led agreement to prevent (or try to) the spread of WMD.
- United Nations (UN) New York Convention of 1958 on arbitration - announced 16 July 2006 (previously called the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards?)
- UN Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (2000)
- UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - ratification announced 10 February 2008 (Optional Protocol only?) and 26 December 2009 (UAE Federal Law No. 116/2009)
- UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime - ratified May 2007
- UN Convention for Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism - signed in 2008
- UN Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking (UN.GIFT, UNGIFT) - in 2008?
- UN Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) - joined 1996
- UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)
- UN International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005)
- US Container Security Initiative (CSI) - US Customs and Border Protection officers based in Dubai work with Dubai Customs at Dubai ports to monitor containers being shipped to the USA.
- Vienna Convention on Road Traffic - governs international driving licences, among other things. UAE signed 10 January 2007?
List of international organisations that the UAE is a member of
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- International Development Agency (IDA)
- United Nations (UN)
- International Committee of the Red Cross - the UAE Red Crescent Society
- United Nations Development Programme
- UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
- UN Office for Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
- United Nations Relief and Works
Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
- World Food Programme (WFP)
International agreements the UAE has not signed
- UNHCR 1951 Refugee Convention
Regional and multi-lateral fund-raising organisations that the UAE is a member of
- Arab Gulf Fund for the UN (AGFUND)
- Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA)
- Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) in Abu Dhabi
- Islamic Development Bank (IDB)
- OPEC Fund for International Development
List of UAE Government institutions
- National Bureau of Statistics - established in 2009.
Last update Friday 09-May-2014. Page development 4L 5C.