Bordering the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, the United Arab Emirates is one of the most thriving countries in the Middle East. After gaining independence from Britain, seven regions came together to form the United Arab Emirates. Overall, it is evident that poverty in the United Arab Emirates is being addressed, but the amount of effort is questionable.

Historically, the United Arab Emirates relied on its fishing industry, but since the discovery of oil 30 years ago, the economy has undergone a profound transformation. A region that was once extremely impoverished is now a highly developed country. Although the country is traditionally conservative, it has now become very liberal, as it tolerates outside religions, cultures and ethnicities. The United Arab Emirates is now one of the top ten richest countries in the world. Even though the economy is flourishing and things are looking great for the citizens, issues of poverty in the United Arab Emirates still exist.

Currently, there is no official data on poverty in the United Arab Emirates, which raises some questions regarding the government’s national poverty relief efforts. However, statistics available prior to the global economic crisis state that roughly 19.5 percent of the population lived below the poverty line. The GDP since then has increased from $104 billion to $370 billion. This substantial spike in wealth indicates that it is likely the number of people living below the poverty line has decreased, but there is no data that states just how much.

It is evident, though, that the United Arab Emirates is somewhat conscience of poverty relief. Recently, the country pledged $250 million towards global anti-poverty projects. Although these projects are a step in the right direction for international poverty relief, it remains to be seen how well the United Arab Emirates addresses its own poverty.

Morgan Leahy

Photo: Flickr