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    Area: 83,600 km2 (0% water)
    Coastline: 1,318 km
    Terrain: Barren coastal plain, vast desert, mountains in the east
    Highest point: Jabal Yibir 1,527 m (northeast, close to the border with Oman’s exclave on the Musandam Peninsula)
    Climate: desert, cooler in the east
    Geographical population distribution: more than 80% of the population is concentrated in the coastal cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah
    Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas


    Population: 9,890,400 (2020)

    Annual population growth: 1.2% (2020)

    Population estimate in 2025: 10,324,000

    Population distribution by age (2020)
    0-14 – 15%
    15-64 – 84%
    65+ – 1%

    Fertility rate (births per woman): 1.4 (2019)

    Birth rate (births per 1000 people): 10 (2019)

    Death rate (deaths per 1000 people): 2 (2019)

    Median age: 32.6 years (2015)

    Life expectancy (at birth): 78 years (2019)
    Males – 77 years
    Females – 79 years

    Net migration: 200,000 (2017)

    Language: Arabic is the official language

    Religious groups: Sunni Muslim 60.3%, Catholic Christian 11.9%, Shia Muslim 9.1%, Hindu 7.3%, Other Muslim 5.1%, Buddhist 2.2%, Other religions 1.7%, Other Christian 1.2%, Non-religious/atheist 1.2% (2015)

    Ethnic groups: Indian 32.7%, Arab 25.8%, Persian 4.0%, Other 37.6% (2013)


    GDP: $358.87 bil (2020)

    GDP per capita: $36,284.6 (2020)

    GDP annual growth rate: -6.1% (2020)

    Public debt (% GDP): 20.1% (2019)

    Inflation (CPI): -2.1% (2020)

    Unemployment: 5.0% (2020)

    Imports: $288.4 bil (2019)
    5 largest import partners (% total imports - 2019)
    China 14.14%, Unspecified 13.65%, India 9.27%, United States 6.94%, Japan 4.37%

    Exports: $389.4 bil (2019)
    5 largest export partners (% total exports - 2019)
    Unspecified 51.85%, Saudi Arabia 6.16%, India 3.77%, Iraq 3.53%, Switzerland 3.51%

    Global Competitiveness Report (World Economic Forum)
    75.0/100 (2019 – position 25/141)

    Index of Economic Freedom (Heritage Foundation)
    76.9/100 (2021 – position 14/180)

    Income Inequality Index (Gini – World Bank)

    Prosperity Index (Legatum)
    67.41/100 (2021 – position 41/167)

    Military Power

    Active Personnel: 65,000 (2021)
    Land Forces: 45,000
    Air Force: 5,000

    Defence expenditure (% GDP): 5.6% (2014)

    Politics and Government

    Government type: Constitutional monarchy

    President: Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (2004)
    Prime Minister: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (2006 - also serves as Vice President)

    Executive branch: The President acts as chief of state and the Prime Minister acts as head of government. The President and Vice President are both elected from among the members of the Federal Supreme Council (FSC) and by the FSC itself, for a 5-year term without any term limits. The FSC is the highest executive body and it consists of rulers of the seven emirates constituting the federation. The Prime Minister is nominated by the President and approved by the FSC while the Council of Ministers is nominated by the Prime Minister and appointed by the President.

    Legislative branch: The FSC is also the highest legislative body. The Federal National Council (FNC) is the country’s parliament and it mainly acts as a consultative body as it cannot initiate new laws. Its powers are limited to reviewing legislation, proposing amendments and discussing the annual budget. The FNC consists of 40 members who serve 4-year terms, of which 20 are appointed by the rulers of each Emirate and the other 20 are elected by the electoral college of each Emirate. The members of the electoral college are chosen by each Emirate’s leader and since 2019 all seats of the FNC are distributed equally among men and women.

    Judicial branch: The country’s judicial system consists of the Federal Judiciary and the parallel local independent judicial departments of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. The Federal Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority and is comprised of 5 judges appointed by the President of the UAE upon approval of the FSC. The Court of Cassation is highest court at the local level of the Emirates that have their judicial departments. There are Courts of First Instance and Courts of Appel at the federal and local level. Other courts of the UAE’s’ court system include the Labour court, Sharia court, Civil courts, Commercial courts and criminal courts.

    Parliamentary parties (seats): There are none; political parties are banned.

    Last elections: Parliamentary elections 2019 – Turnout was 34.81% out of 337,738 voters
    Next elections: Parliamentary elections 2023

    Rule of Law - Human Rights

    Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International)
    71/100 (2020 - position 21/180)

    Rule of Law Index (World Justice Project)
    0.65/1 (2020 - position 30/128)

    Global Terrorism Index (Institute for Economics & Peace)
    0.048/10 (2019 – position 130/163)

    Fragile States Index (Fund For Peace)
    40.3/120 (2021 – position 151/179)

    Democracy Index (Economist Intelligence Unit)
    2.70/10 (2020 – position 145/167)

    Press Freedom Index (Reporters Without Borders)
    43.13/100 (2021 – position 131/180)

    Freedom in the World Index (Freedom House)
    27/100 (2021)


    United Nations (UN – Population Division, UNdata, UNcomtrade), World Bank, Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED – St. Louis Fed), Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), Composition of Religious and Ethnic Group Project (CREG – Cline Center for Advanced Social Research, University of Illinois), Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), The UAE Government Portal, New York University School of Law, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), NationMaster