Name: United Arab Emirates (short name Emirates or UAE)
Capital City: Abu Dhabi (928,000 pop. 2013 est.)
UAE Population: 8,264,070 (2012 est.)
Currency: UAE dirham
Ethnicity: Emirati 16.6%, other Arabs 23%, South Asian 42.3%, other Asian 12.1%, other 6%
GDP total: $375 billion (2012 est.)
GDP per capita: $64,840 (2012 est.)
Language: Arabic (official), other languages include Persian, English, Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi
Largest Cities: (by population) Dubai, Abu Dhabi
Name: The words ‘Abu Dhabi’ mean ‘Father of the Gazelle’ – the naming of the Emirate recalling the time when the island on which Abu Dhabi stands was home to herds of the Dhabi gazelle.
National Day: December 2
Religion: Muslim (Islam – official) 96% (Shia 16%), other (includes Christian, Hindi) 4%
Formerly known as the Trucial States, the United Arab Emirates are a federation of seven individual states, each governed by a hereditary Emir. The constituent emirates are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. The late Sheikh Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE at its inception, oversaw the development of the Emirates and steered oil revenues into healthcare, education and national infrastructure.
Abu Dhabi is the capital and the largest of the seven emirates. It houses offices of the federal government, and is the seat for the UAE government and the home for the President of the UAE and his family. Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest emirate of the UAE in terms of GDP and per capita income. More than $1 trillion is invested worldwide in this city alone. Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), currently estimated at US$ 875 billion, is the world’s wealthiest sovereign fund in terms of total asset value.
The UAE’s large hydrocarbon wealth gives it one of the highest GDP per capita in the world and Abu Dhabi owns the majority of these resources – 95% of the oil and 6% of gas. Abu Dhabi thus holds 9% of the world’s proven oil reserves and almost 5% of the world’s natural gas.
Abu Dhabi Today
Its rapid development and urbanisation, coupled with the relatively high average income of its population, has transformed Abu Dhabi to a larger and advanced metropolis. The city is the country’s center of political, industrial activities, and a major cultural, and commercial centre.
Abu Dhabi’s government is looking to expand revenue from oil and gas production to tourism and other sorts of features which would attract different types of people. This idea of diversification of the economy is also seen in the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 planned by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. In this plan Abu Dhabi’s economy will be sustainable and not be dependent on any one facet or source of revenue.