The late H. H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the first President of the UAE and is known as the Father of the Nation. He served this position since the formation of the UAE on 2 December 1971 until he passed away in 2004.
The UAE is a constitutional federation of seven emirates. The Constitution of the UAE provides for five federal authorities. They are:
The Supreme Council
The President and the Vice-President
The Federal National Council
The Federal Judiciary.
The UAE follows a moderate foreign policy that reinforces balanced relationships with the international community. It adheres to the principles of peaceful co-existence, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. It pursues peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue together with the support of international institutions, such as the United Nations. The UAE is a leading player in the global campaign against human trafficking, terrorism and in maintaining human rights.
Through foreign aid, the UAE supports developmental, humanitarian and charitable programmes in a number of developing countries. As per the new ‘Grant Equivalent’ methodology of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC), the foreign assistance was valued at AED 6.81 billion (USD 1.85 billion) in Official Development Assistance, accounting for 0.52 percent of the UAE’s Gross National Income in 2020.
With this, the UAE continued to maintain its position of being among the world’s top 20 donors of the Official Development Assistance as a proportion of Gross National Income (ODA/GNI), for the ninth year in a row. Read the UAE’s annual foreign aid reports.
Arabic is the official language of the UAE. In the courts, the other five official languages are Chinese, English, French, Hindi and Russian. All road and traffic signs, and signs on commercial outlets are in Arabic and English. Some of the other widely spoken languages include Bengali, Farsi, Malayalam, Turkish and Urdu.
The UAE is located in Asia. It is situated in the southeastern region of the Asian continent, and in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. It overlooks the Arabian Gulf on the north and northwest, borders the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the west and south and the Sultanate of Oman to the southeast.
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:
51° 35’ - 57°10’ east
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 Arab Emirati Dirham is the official currency of the UAE. It is called Dirhams and is 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 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.
UAE Nation Brand
In 2020, the UAE adopted the ‘7 Lines’ design as its logo for the next 50 years. The logo represents the seven emirates and the seven founding fathers, and complements the slogan ‘Make it Happen’. This logo is to represent the UAE in all its initiatives and events, and to convey its story to the world.
Embassies and consulates are usually open from Monday to Friday (the UAE work-week) and are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, all UAE public holidays, and on the public holiday of the embassy's home country.
According to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, the UAE's total population (nationals and expatriate residents) was 9,282,410 in 2020, as compared to 9,503,738 in 2019. Males outnumber females.
There were 6,468,460 males in 2020, as compared to 6,302,724 in 2019.
There were 2,813,950 females in 2020, as compared to 3,201,014 in 2019.
According to Annual Economic Report 2020 (PDF, 18.5 MB), GDP at constant prices was AED 1,486.3 billion in 2019, while GDP at current prices was AED 1,546.6 billion in 2019.
Imports and exports
The value of the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade in 2021 amounted to nearly AED 1.9 trillion, reflecting a 27 per cent growth compared to the value of trade in 2020. The breakup is as follows:
Imports: AED 1trillion
Non-oil exports: AED 354 billion
Re-exports: AED 521.3 billion.
1 January to 31 December
AED 58.931 billion is the federal budget for 2022. The largest share of the 2022 budget has been allocated to the development and social benefits sector at 41.2 per cent, out of which the UAE will spend:
16.3 per cent on education
6 per cent on social development
8.4 per cent on health
8.2 per cent on pensions
2.6 per cent on other services.
Meanwhile, 3.8 per cent of the budget has been allocated to the infrastructure and financial resources sector.
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 has proven crude oil reserves of 107,000 million barrels and proven natural gas reserves of 7,726 billion cubic metres.
In 2020, the total installed capacity of electricity generation plants was 34,901 megawatts (MW), using diesel engine, gas turbine, steam turbine, combined cycle turbine, solar energy turbine, nuclear energy and clean coal.
30 November is Commemoration Day. It recognises the sacrifices and dedication of the sons of the nation, who have given their lives for the UAE and abroad in the field of civil, military and humanitarian service. Note that a public holiday for this day is observed on 1 December.
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.
In Abu Dhabi, a toll of AED 4 is levied on every vehicle passing the toll gate during peak hours from 7 to 9 am and from 5 to 7 pm from Saturday to Thursday.
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 - It is was renamed Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road from Emirates road. It links Dubai to the rest of the emirates.
E611 - It is called the Emirates Bypass road and runs across the emirates of Dubai to the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
Sheikh Khalifa highway - it links the emirates of Dubai and Fujairah.
The UAE has several seaports. Some of the major ports are: