The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), bordered by Saudi Arabia and Oman and situated between the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, is a federation composed of seven states, termed emirates, which was established on December 2, 1971. Covering an estimated area of 82,880 sq. km, the current population of the largely desert country is about six million people.
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The UAE has made remarkable progress in human development and now it is ranked at position 35 out of 182 in the Human Development Index. It is currently regarded as one of the richest and fastest growing countries in the world.
The UAE has an open economy that has led to the high level of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country. This is mainly channeled to the real estate industry and development of trade imports and exports. Its GDP, growing at about ten percent per year, is ranked 38th in the globe.
It has a high per capita income with a well-developed infrastructure. UAE has extensive petroleum reserves, which has enabled it to realize remarkable economic and social development; however, it is presently engaged in efforts to diversify into other areas of the economy. The country’s currency, referred to as dirhams, has increased in value relative to the dollar during this decade.
The politics of the country is based in a framework of federal, presidential, and elective monarchy and its constitution divides power between the federal government (headquartered in Abu Dhabi) and the seven absolute monarchies. The President of the UAE is the country’s head of state.
The Prime Minister of the UAE is in charge of all activities of the government. The country’s government is composed of three arms, which are the executive, legislature, and judiciary, and even though the constituent emirates still have substantial economy, each of them dedicates a significant portion of their revenues to the national budget of the united country.
In contrast to other Arab countries, the UAE has relatively very liberal regulations composing mainly of civil law and Shari’a is applied only in certain aspects.
The rich culture of the country is a major tourist attraction. Most of the people in the country follow the religion of Islam, which is also officially recognized as the religion of the state. However, the state does not impede on the activities of the other religions in the country. The non-Muslims in the country are mainly foreigners or expatriates.
It is estimated that seventy-six percent of its population follow Islamic teachings, nine percent Christian, and fifteen percent others. The country’s social order is family and kin-oriented in which ancestral affinity serve the important function of determining ones societal recognition and position in the community.
The majority of families have a preference of staying as close to their next of kin as possible. Most of the country’s national households live as nuclear families in their own homesteads and the government motivates them to have at least 6 to 8 kids.
The UAE has a diverse and multicultural society and the influence of Islam is evident in its development. Its citizens live a lucrative lifestyle with lots of money to buy material items.
Most Emirati men put on the traditional kandura dress and women the abaya, which are especially suited for the country’s hot and dry climate. Nevertheless, the wearing of western-style clothing is slowly increasing.
Besides the rich culture, other tourist excitements include the intriguing desert landscape in which tourists can enjoy desert safaris and camel rides, the marvel of the Dubai Creek, the spectacle of the Islamic architecture in the region, and the wonder of the two-century old Hatta Town.