Fact sheet

The UAE is a constitutional federation of seven emirates. Abu Dhabi city is the capital of the UAE. Read interesting facts about the UAE.


Abu Dhabi city was declared the capital of the UAE Federation on July 1996, as approved by the UAE Supreme Council.


H. H. late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the first President of the UAE and is known as the Father of the Nation.

Political system

The UAE is a constitutional federation of seven emirates.

Official language

The official language of the UAE is Arabic. Other widely spoken languages include: Bengali, English, Farsi, Hindi, Malayalam, Mandarin, Nepali, Russian, Sinhalese, Tagalog and Urdu.


Islam is the official religion in the UAE; practice of other religions is allowed.


The UAE is located in the North East of the Arab Peninsula and covers an area that looks like a triangle.


Approximately 71,023sq km. Abu Dhabi accounts for 84 per cent of the country's total landmass.

Geographic coordinates

The UAE is situated at:

Longitude: 51° 35’ - 57°10’ east

Latitude: 22°35’ - 26°25’ north


The UAE is 4 hours ahead of GMT.



The UAE maintains a desert climate. It is warm and sunny in the winter and during the summer, it is hot and humid. It is generally cooler in the eastern mountains.

Monetary unit/currency

The Emirati Dirham is the official currency of the UAE, abbreviated officially as AED. Unofficial abbreviations include Dh and Dhs.

The dirham is divided into 100 fils.

Coins are in the following denomination: AED 1, 50 fils and 25 fils.

Notes or bills are in the denomination of AED 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000.

Exchange rate

The UAE Dirham is pegged to the USD. 1 USD = AED 3.6725.


The flag comprises three equal horizontal lines with green at the top, white in the middle and black at the base. There is also a wider vertical red ribbon in the direction of the flagpole.

Green represents hope, joy, optimism and love. It can also symbolise the country's prosperity.

White represents peace and honesty. White is the purest colour, and is interpreted by some to symbolise cleanliness.

Black stands for the defeat of enemies and also strength of mind.

Red represents hardiness, bravery, strength and courage. The vertical red band can also be interpreted as binding all the other meanings together in unity.

Coat of arms

The UAE's new coat of arms displays the UAE flag surrounded by seven stars, representing the seven emirates. The falcon is also shown holding a parchment in its talons which reads 'United Arab Emirates' in Arabic.

National anthem

The UAE's national anthem, Ishi Bilady was originally conceived as an instrumental in 1971. In 1986, Dr. Aref Al Sheikh was given the task to write the words to the UAE's national anthem, and the Cabinet approved the lyrics.


All UAE citizens in the seven emirates carry the unified nationality of the UAE, which is recognised internationally. The demonym is Emirati.


According to 2016 statistics, the UAE's population was 9,121,167 as of 31 December 2016. (Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority)

Males: 6,298,294 (69 per cent)

Females: 2,822,873 (31 per cent)

There are more than 200 nationalities living and working in the UAE. The expatriate community outnumbers the population of UAE nationals.

Indians form the largest foreign community in the UAE, followed by Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, other Asians, Europeans and Africans.

UAE nationals as of 2010 (estimate)

Total UAE nationals: 947,997

Males: 479,109

Females: 468,888

Non-nationals in the UAE as of 2010 (estimate)

Total non-nationals: 7,316,073

Male non-nationals: 5,682,711

Female non-nationals: 1,633,362

Literacy rate

According to a study by Ministry of Education in 2014, the illiteracy rate in the UAE has dropped to less than 1 per cent.


According to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, here are the figures for births in 2012:

Number of births of UAE nationals

Total births: 34,040

Males: 17,279

Females: 16,761

Number of births of expatriate residents:

Total births: 55,479

Males: 28,207

Females: 27,272


According to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, here are the figures for deaths in 2012:

Number of deaths of UAE nationals

Total: 2,342

Males: 1,432

Females: 910

Number of deaths of expatriate residents:

Total: 5,349

Males: 4,015

Females: 1,334

Life expectancy

According to Human Development Index 2013, life expectancy in UAE is 76.8 years.

Labour force

According to the International Monetary Fund's 2012 report, foreigners comprise 96 per cent of the UAE's workforce with the largest communities coming from South Asia.

As of 2014, the number of expatriates in the private sector registered with Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation is 4,417,000.

Below is the number of expatriates (in thousands) working in the private sector:

  • 1478.3 in the field of construction
  • 1038.6 in trade and repair services
  • 470.5 in industrial/manufacturing
  • 496.1 in real estate and business men services
  • 346 in transportation and storage.

The UAE national's workforce

According to the UAE Yearbook 2013, in the year 2010, Emirati citizens accounted for 20,000 jobs of the 4 million jobs in the private sector and accounted for 60 per cent of government sector jobs.

Unemployment rate

According to a report issued by Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority in June 2012, the unemployment rate was 4.6 per cent; the figure includes both nationals and expatriates.

According to the UAE Yearbook 2013, in the year 2012, 20.8 per cent of Emirati citizens of working age were without work.

As per the same report, among the expatriates, the unemployment level in 2011 was estimated at 3.2 per cent.


Distances from Abu Dhabi city (in kilometres) to the cities of:

    • Al Ain: 160
    • Dubai: 166
    • Sharjah: 176
    • Ajman: 186
    • Umm Al Quwain: 206
    • Ras Al Khaimah: 256
    • Fujairah: 292
    • Khor Fakkan: 310


    Prior to construction of the 'Dubai Palms' and other schemes, the coastline of the UAE was approximately 1318 kilometres. Land reclamation projects are extending this figure.

    Elevation extremes

    The country's lowest point is at sea level and its highest point is 1527 meters at Jebel Yibir.


    As of 2014, UAE's gross domestic product at current prices is AED 1.46 trillion, with a contribution of 38 per cent by the processing industries.

    When compared to 2013 figures, the GDP grew at a rate of 3.2 per cent from AED 1.42 trillion in 2013.

    Imports and exports

    As of the first nine months of 2015, the UAE's total trade was AED 791,994,636,926 as follows:

    • imports: AED 504,412 million
    • non-oil exports: AED 121,911 million
    • re-exports: AED 165,670, million.

    Fiscal year

    1 January to 31 December

    Federal budget

    The UAE Government approved AED48.5 billion for federal budget for the year 2016. Education received the maximum allocation of 21.2 per cent of the federal budget.

    The Government also approved AED48.7 billion for federal budget for the year 2017.

    Inflation rate

    The UAE's inflation rate reached 4.09 per cent in 2015.

    Consumer price index

    As of February 2016, the UAE's consumer price index reached 126.32, rising by 2.20 per cent compared to its value in February 2015.

    Customs duty

    The UAE levies a minimum customs duty of 10 per cent on luxury goods and 4 per cent on the cost, insurance and freight value of all other goods imported.

    Income tax

    The UAE does not levy income tax. Corporate tax is levied on oil companies and branches of foreign banks.

    Natural resources and energy

    Oil and gas

    The UAE holds 4 per cent of the world's proven oil reserves and 3.5 per cent of proven gas reserves, estimated at 97.8 million barrels and 6,091 cubic metres respectively.

    The UAE is ranked as the seventh largest proved reserves of both oil and natural gas globally.

    Most of the UAE' reserves (95 per cent of the nation's oil reserves and about 94 per cent of its gas reserves) are in Abu Dhabi, both offshore and onshore.


    Domestic supply is 220 volts. Sockets suitable for three-pin 13 AMPs plugs of British standard design are the norm. Appliances have two-pin plugs attached.

    The total installed capacity of electricity in the UAE reached 27,180 megawatts (MW), which utilises natural gas.

    The per capita consumption rate is 15 kWh per day.


    The water consumed in the UAE is mainly desalinated, with an average per capita consumption rate of 500 litres per day.

    The installed capacity for desalinated and groundwater reached 1,585 million imperial gallons per day, while the production was 393,878 million imperial gallons per year as of 2012.

    Tap water produced by desalination is safe to drink; however, bottled water is preferred by most residents and tourists and priced reasonably in general.

    Solar energy

    In 2013, the UAE ranked third in the world in the production of concentrated solar power (CSP).

    In 2014, roughly 140 MW of solar power was being generated in the UAE.

    Nuclear energy

    The UAE adopted a nuclear programme for production of electricity. Four reactors are being built at the nuclear power plant in Baraka in the Western Region of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

    Upon the completion of implementation of this programme, a production capacity of up to 5600MW will be added to the national grid by 2020.

    Working days

    Government and semi-government offices operate from Sunday to Thursday.

    Some private companies are closed only on Fridays while others are closed on both Fridays and Saturdays.

    Public holidays

    UAE National Day

    It falls on 2 December and marks the UAE's formal nationalisation and the start of the federal unification of the emirates in 1971.

    Commemoration day

    Commemoration Day falls on 30 November. It recognises the sacrifices and dedication of the sons of the nation, who have given their lives in the UAE and abroad in the field of civil, military and humanitarian service.

    Other public holidays:

    • Hijri New Year
    • Isra and Miraj day
    • Prophet Mohammad's Birthday
    • Eid Al-Fitr (3 days for government and 2 days for other offices)
    • Arafa Day and Eid Al Adha (3 days)
    • Gregorian New Year.


    International dialling code: +971

    The dialling codes for the emirates/cities are:

    • 02 for the emirate of Abu Dhabi
    • 03 for Al Ain city in the emirate of Abu Dhabi
    • 04 for the emirate of Dubai
    • 06 for the emirates of Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain
    • 07 for the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah
    • 09 for the emirate of Fujairah and city of Khor Fakkan.

    Telephones - fixed lines

    As of December 2015, the number of fixed lines was 2,208,425; there were 25.8-fixed lines per 100 inhabitants.

    Mobile cellular

    As of December 2015, the number of active mobile subscriptions was 17,942,571. There were 209.9 mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.

    Internet domain


    Internet subscribers

    The internet subscribers reached 1,226,674 as of December 2015.

    TV and radio

    TV channels and radio stations are owned by government and private companies; both local and international.

    Content is offered mainly in Arabic and English. Other languages of broadcast include Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, Tagalog and Farsi.

    The number of TV and radio stations:

    TV stations: 42

    Radio stations: 26

    News agency

    Emirates News Agency (WAM) is the official UAE news agency of the UAE Government. It publishes news in Arabic, English and French.



    As of 2014, the capacity of the UAE's airports was about 100 million passengers.

    Major airports in the UAE


    Motorists drive on the right hand side of the road.

    Toll roads

    The emirate of Dubai levies a toll (salik) of AED 4 when vehicles pass through the toll gates.

    Major highways

    E11 - it is the longest road in the UAE. It stretches from Al Silah in the emirate of Abu Dhabi to the boundary of Ras Al Khaimah.

    It has various alternate names: Sheikh Maktoum Road in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai and Sheikh Muhammad bin Salem Road in Ras Al Khaimah.

    E311 or Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, which was known as Emirates road - the road links Dubai to the rest of the emirates.

    E611 or Emirates Bypass road - it has a length of 110km.

    Sheikh Khalifa highway - it links Dubai and Fujairah.


    According to the World Shipping Council, two of the world's top 50 container ports are in the UAE.

    Overall, 61 per cent of cargo destined for GCC states arrives via UAE seaports.

    The UAE has 15 seaports. Some of the major ports are:

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