December 1995, Page 50
The United Arab Emirates Today
The U.A.E. At A Glance
By Shawn L. Twing
Population: 2.3 million (December 1994 estimate)
Capital: Abu Dhabi
Religion: The official religion is Islam; there are sizeable foreign communities of Christians, Hindus and others.
Literacy: Total population, 71 percent (males: 72 percent, females: 69 percent)
Per Capita Income: $22,480 (1994 estimate)
Total Gross Domestic Product (GDP): $62.7 billion (1994 estimate)
Major Industries: petroleum, natural gas, petrochemicals, aluminum, construction materials, services. (Industrial production growth rate is 1.7 percent.)
Chief of State: President Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (elected Dec. 2, 1971, and re-elected at successive five-year intervvals). Also ruler of the Emirate of Dubai since Aug. 6, 1966.
National Day: Dec. 2 (Federation Day)
Transportation: 2,000 kilometers of asphalt roads, several thousand kilometers of gravel or graded earth roads; 9 ports; 6 international airports; 57 ships in the merchant marine.
Climate: Hot and arid sub-tropical weather, with cooler temperatures in the eastern moutain regions during winter.
Geographic Features: A desert and salt flat coastal plain bordering the Arabian Gulf coast, stretching away in the southwest to the edge of the Empty Quarter (Rub al-Khali). To the east, the Hajar moutains rise to over 1,000 meters with a narrow and fertile coastal plain along the short coastline on the Gulf of Oman.
Form of Government: A federation of seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm al-Qaiwain and Ajman), with specified powers delegated to the central government and to the individual emirates. The executive branch is led by President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan; the vice president and prime minister, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who also is the ruler of Dubai (premier since Oct. 8, 1990); and deputy prime minister Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan (since Nov. 20, 1990). The top policy making body is the Supreme Council of Rulers who elect the president and vice president. The president appoints the prime minister and both then choose the members of the federal cabinet. The legislative organ is a unicameral Federal National Council, comprised of members drawn from each emirate. The legal system is based on Islamic law (shariah), within which special legislation compatible with international norms on subjects such as commerce, copyright, shipping and hijacking has been introduced.
Organizations: League of Arab States, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Bank, the International Development Agency, the International Development Bank, the International Labor Organization, the International Monetary Fund, INTERPOL, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization.
Defense Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force and paramilitary (includes Federal Police Force); defense expenditures in 1994 were 4.3 percent of GDP ($1.59 billion)
Life Expectancy: total population, 72.5 years (males, 70.42 years; females, 74.71 years)
Strategic Considerations: The UAE is located on the southern approaches to the Strait of Hormuz, a vital choke point for transporting a substantial portion of the world's crude oil.
Media: Eight AM and three FM radio stations.
Communications: 500,000 telephones linked by a modern telecommunications system including microwave and coaxial cable (submarine cables link the UAE to Qatar, Bahrain, India and Pakistan); 3 INTELSAT satellites (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean); 1 ARABSAT earth station, a tropospheric scatter to Bahrain and a microwave relay station to Saudi Arabia.
Currency: 3.671 Emirati dirhams (Dh) per US$1 (fixed rate)
State Department Restrictions: None
Top Trading Partners:
Imports: Japan (12 percent), the United Kingdom (10 percent), the United States (9 percent), Germany (7 percent) and South Korea (5 percent)
Exports: Japan (35 percent), South Korea (5 percent), Iran (4 percent), Oman (4 percent) and Singapore (4 percent)
UAE Diplomatic Representation in U.S.:
Chief of mission: Ambassador Muhammad bin Husayn Al Shaali
Chancery: Suite 600, 3000 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007 telephone: (202) 338-6500
U.S. Diplomatic Representation in UAE:
Embassy: Al Sudan Street, Abu Dhabi, P.O. Box 4009, Abu Dhabi; U.S. postal address: American Embassy Abu Dhabi, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-6010.