United Arab Emirates: From Rags to Riches

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is composed of the seven emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. Located in the southern half of the Arabian Peninsula, it occupies over 83,000 square kilometers and boasts a population of 9 million.

In comparison to the rest of the world, the country is relatively young. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1971. The discovery of oil reserves in the 1960s catapulted the once impoverished region into a center of international business and wealth. Today, the UAE is the eighth richest country in the world.

The UAE’s political structure is both traditional and modern in its approach. Each emirate is led by an emir or ruler who oversees the internal political affairs of the region. Representatives from each emirate are chosen to form the Federal National Council. The President and vice president also serve as emirs of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively.

Prior to its entry into the global oil industry, the UAE’s revenues mainly stemmed from its failing pearl and fishing industry. Today, over 90 % of Emirati are literate, due to extensive investments in education, healthcare and infrastructure.

The UAE currently rates 23 out of 189 countries for ease of doing business. Its positive relationships with foreign investors have allowed the country to successfully compete in the global marketplace and exposed its citizens to the level of globalization necessary to conduct international business.

Success has also visited the neighboring countries of Iran, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia as organizations continue to promote the importance and healthcare in the region.

– Jasmine D. Smith

Sources: CIA World Factbook, BBC, Doing Business
Photo: Win Wallpapers