The United Arab Emirates consists of seven independent city-states: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Qaiwain, Fujairah, Ajman and Ra’s al-Khaimah. Four-fifths of the UAE is desert but has contrasting landscapes—from the towering red dunes of the Liwa to the rich palm-filled oases of Al Ain, from the precipitous Hajar Mountains to the more fertile stretches of its coastal plains. Though small in size (similar to the State of Maine), the UAE has become an important player in regional and international affairs. In 1971, the late President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan unified the small, underdeveloped states into a federation—the only one in the Arab world. With his visionary leadership, oil wealth was used to develop the UAE into one of the world’s most open and successful economies. In 2004, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan became president and has since continued to strive towards an ambitious vision for the UAE.
Globalized and Open
In just over Four decades, the nation has transformed from a tribal culture reliant on agriculture and fishing to an entrepreneurial success story with world-class infrastructure. The leadership has improved education (effectively eliminating illiteracy), advanced health care and embraced change as the UAE modernizes, consistent with its history and cultural values. The UAE is also strengthening institutions of government to ensure a transparent legal system with full regard for the quality of life of all citizens and residents. Four members of the Federal Cabinet are women. The UAE is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Today the UAE is a strong, vibrant and modern nation that is open to the world.
Business and Trade
The UAE lies at the heart of a strategic, geographic crossroads where trade, commerce and diverse cultures have co-existed and interacted for hundreds of years. Today, the UAE has one of the most open and dynamic economies in the world. A number of global business indexes have recognized the advantages that the UAE brings to international business. AT Kearney ranks the UAE as one of the top 20 best places in the world for global service business. And the UAE is ranked in the top 30 on the World Economic Forum’s “most-networked countries”—ahead of all other Arab nations, as well as countries like Spain, Italy, Turkey, and India. The UAE also gets positive rankings from Transparency International and the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators for control of corruption, ranking in the top quarter of the least corrupt countries in the world. An important trading partner for the United States, the UAE is the largest export market for the United States in the Arab World. More than 750 US firms have a presence in the country, and 30,000 Americans live there. For more information about the UAE, please visit UAE Interact.