United Arab Emirates


The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control of their defence and foreign affairs in 19th century treaties. In 1971, six of these states – Abu Zaby, ‘Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn – merged to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They were joined in 1972 by Ra’s al Khaymah. The UAE’s per capita GDP is on par with those of leading West European nations. Its generosity with oil revenues and its moderate foreign policy stance have allowed the UAE to play a vital role in the affairs of the region.


Location: Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 24 00 N, 54 00 E
Population: 5,314,317 (July 2012 est.)

note: estimate is based on the results of the 2005 census that included a significantly higher estimate of net immigration of non-citizens than previous estimates

Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.4% (male 537,925/female 513,572)

15-64 years: 78.7% (male 2,968,958/female 1,080,717)

65 years and over: 0.9% (male 30,446/female 17,046)

note: 73.9% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: United Arab Emirates

conventional short form: none

local long form: Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah

local short form: none

former: Trucial Oman, Trucial States

abbreviation: UAE

Government type: federation with specified powers delegated to the UAE federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates
Telephones – main lines in use: 1.48 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 10.926 million (2009)
Airports: 42 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 25

over 3,047 m: 12

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 2 (2012)

Military branches:  United Arab Emirates Armed Forces: Land Forces, Navy, Air Force and Air Defence, Border and Coast Guard Directorate (BCGD) (2009)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; 18 years of age for officers and women; no conscription; 16-22 years of age for candidates for the UAE Naval College (2009)


The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Despite largely successful efforts at economic diversification, nearly 40% of GDP is still directly based on oil and gas output. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement with the US.

Transnational Issues:

Boundary agreement was signed and ratified with Oman in 2003 for entire border, including Oman’s Musandam Peninsula and Al Madhah enclaves, but contents of the agreement and detailed maps showing the alignment have not been published; Iran and UAE dispute Tunb Islands and Abu Musa Island, which Iran occupies.