The United Arab Emirates – Guide for Expats. Abu Dhabi is the largest of all seven emirates with an area of 67,340 square kilometres, equivalent to 86.7 per cent of the country’s total area, excluding the islands. It has a coastline extending for more than 400 kilometres and is divided for administrative purposes into three major regions.
The first region encompasses the city of Abu Dhabi which is both the capital of the emirate and the federal capital. Sheikh Zayed, President of the UAE resides here. The parliamentary buildings in which the federal Cabinet meets, most of the federal ministries and institutions, the foreign embassies, state broadcasting facilities, and most of the oil companies are also located in Abu Dhabi, which is also the home of Zayed University and the Higher Colleges of Technology.
Major infrastructural facilities include Mina (Port) Zayed and Abu Dhabi International Airport. The city also has extensive cultural, sport and leisure facilities, together with the wonderfully engineered Abu Dhabi Corniche which offers many kilometres of risk-free walking, cycling, jogging and roller-blading along the seashore of Abu Dhabi island. Architecturally speaking the city is also a fascinating place where older buildings such as small mosques have been preserved and sit comfortably in the shade of futuristic modern skyscrapers.
Abu Dhabi’s second region, known as the Eastern Region, has as its capital Al Ain city. This fertile area is rich in greenery with plenty of farms, public parks and important archaeological sites. It is also blessed by substantial groundwater resources which feed into numerous artesian wells. Points of particular interest in this region are the Ain Al Faydah Park, Jebel Hafit, the leisure park at Al Hili, Al Ain Zoo and Al Ain Museum. This is also a cultural and educational centre and site of the UAE’s first university, the UAE University, which includes among its many faculties a vibrant medical school. Internal transport is facilitated by a superb road network and Al Ain is connected to the outside world through Al Ain International Airport.
The Western Region, the emirate’s third administrative sector, comprises 52 villages and has as its capital Bida Zayed, or Zayed City. Extensive afforestation covers at least 100,000 hectares, including more than 20 million evergreens. The country’s main onshore oil fields are located here, as is the country’s largest oil refinery, at Al Ruwais.
In addition to the three mainland regions of Abu Dhabi there are a number of important islands within the emirate including Das, Mubarraz, Zirku and Arzanah, near where the main offshore oil fields are located. Closer inshore are Dalma, Sir Bani Yas, Merawah, Abu al-Abyadh and Saadiyat, together with many other islands.
The Emirate of Dubai extends along the Arabian Gulf coast of the UAE for approximately 72 kilometres. Dubai has an area of c. 3,885 square kilometres, which is equivalent to 5 per cent of the country’s total area, excluding the islands.
Dubai city is built along the edge of a narrow 10-kilometre long, winding creek which divides the southern section of Bur Dubai, the city’s traditional heart, from the northern area of Deira.
The Ruler’s office, together with many head offices of major companies, Port Rashid, the Dubai World Trade Centre, customs, broadcasting stations and the postal authority are all situated in Bur Dubai. Deira is a thriving commercial centre containing a huge range of retail outlets, markets, hotels and Dubai International Airport. Bur Dubai and Deira are linked by Al Maktoum and Al Garhoud bridges, as well as Al Shindagha tunnel which passes under the creek.
Jebel Ali, home of a huge man-made port, has the largest free-trade zone in Arabia housing an ever growing list of international corporations which use the zone for both manufacturing and as a redistribution point.
Jumeirah beach is a major tourism area with a number of spectacular award winning hotels and sports facilities.
Inland, the mountain resort town of Hatta is an extremely attractive location. Adjacent to a lake reservoir, the Hatta Fort Hotel is set in extensive parkland and provides a perfect base for exploring the nearby wadis and mountains, which extend into Omani territory.
The Emirate of Sharjah extends along approximately 16 kilometres of the UAE’s Gulf coastline and for more than 80 kilometres into the interior. In addition there are three enclaves belonging to Sharjah situated on the east coast, bordering the Gulf of Oman. These are Kalba, Khor Fakkan and Dibba al-Husn. The emirate has an area of 2,590 square kilometres, which is equivalent to 3.3 per cent of the country’s total area, excluding the islands.
The capital city of Sharjah, which overlooks the Arabian Gulf, contains the main administrative and commercial centres together with an especially impressive array of cultural and traditional projects, including several museums. Distinctive landmarks are the two major covered souqs, reflecting Islamic design; a number of recreational areas and public parks such as Al Jazeirah Fun Park and Al Buheirah Corniche. The city is also notable for its numerous elegant mosques. Links with the outside world are provided by Sharjah International Airport and Port Khalid.
Sharjah also encompasses some important oasis areas, the most famous of which is Dhaid where a wide range of vegetables and fruits are cultivated on its rich and fertile soil. Khor Fakkan provides Sharjah with a major east coast port. Two offshore islands belong to Sharjah, Abu Musa, which has been under military occupation by Iran since 1971, and Sir Abu Nu’air.
Ajman, located a short distance northeast of Sharjah’s capital city, has a beautiful 16-kilometre stretch of white sand beach. It is a small emirate in terms of its physical size, covering about 259 square kilometres, which is equivalent to 0.3 per cent of the country’s total area, excluding the islands.
The capital city, Ajman, has an historic fort at its centre. This has been recently renovated and now houses a fascinating museum. In addition to the Ruler’s office, various companies, banks and commercial centres, the emirate is also blessed with a natural harbour in which the Port of Ajman is situated. Masfut is an agricultural village located in the mountains 110 kilometres to the southeast of the city, while the Manama area lies approximately 60 kilometres to the east.
The Emirate of Umm Al Qaiwain, which has a coastline stretching to 24 kilometres, is located on the Arabian Gulf coast of the UAE, between Sharjah to the southwest, and Ras al-Khaimah to the northeast. Its inland border lies about 32 kilometres from the main coastline. The total area of the emirate is about 777 square kilometres, which is equivalent to 1 per cent of the country’s total area, excluding the islands.
The city of Umm Al Qaiwain, capital of the emirate, is situated on a narrow peninsula which encircles a large creek 1 kilometre wide by 5 kilometres long. The Ruler’s office, administrative and commercial centres, the main port and a Mariculture Research Centre where prawns and fish are reared on an experimental basis, are located here. The city also has the preserved remains of an old fort, its main gate flanked by defensive cannons.
Falaj al-Mualla, an attractive natural oasis, is located 50 kilometres southeast of Umm Al Qaiwain city. Sinayah island, lying a short distance offshore has important mangrove areas together with a breeding colony of Socotra cormorants.
Ras Al Khaimah, the most northerly emirate on the UAE’s west coast, has a coastline of about 64 kilometres on the Arabian Gulf, backed by a fertile hinterland, with a separate enclave in the heart of the Hajar mountains to the southeast. Both parts of the emirate share borders with the Sultanate of Oman. In addition to its mainland territory, Ras Al Khaimah possesses a number of islands including those of Greater and Lesser Tunb, occupied by Iran since 1971. The area of the emirate is 168 square kilometres, which is equivalent to 2.2 per cent of the country’s total area, excluding islands.
The city of Ras Al Khaimah is divided into two sections by Khor Ras Al Khaimah. In the western section, known as Old Ras Al Khaimah, are Ras Al Khaimah National Museum and a number of government departments. The eastern part, known as Al Nakheel, houses the Ruler’s office, several government departments and commercial companies. The two sections are connected by a large bridge built across the khor.
Khor Khuwayr is an industrial region situated approximately 25 kilometres to the north of Ras Al Khaimah city. In addition to its major cement, gravel and marble enterprises, it is also the location for Port Saqr, the main export port for the emirate and the traditional fishing district of Rams. Digdagga district, on the other hand, is a well-known agricultural area and houses the Julphar pharmaceutical factory, the largest in the Arabian Gulf.
Other important centres within the emirate include: Al-Hamraniah, an agricultural centre and also the location for Ras Al Khaimah International Airport, Khatt, a tourist resort that is renowned for its thermal springs, Masafi which is well known for its orchards and natural springs and Wadi al-Qawr, an attractive valley in the southern mountains.
With the exception of some small enclaves belonging to Sharjah, Fujairah is the only emirate situated along the Gulf of Oman. Its coast is more than 90 kilometres in length and its strategic location has played a key role in its development. The area of the emirate is 1165 square kilometres, which is equivalent to 1.5 per cent of the country’s total area, excluding islands.
Fujairah city, the capital of the emirate, is a rapidly developing centre which contains the Ruler’s office, government departments, many commercial companies and a number of hotels, as well as an airport and the Port of Fujairah, one of the world’s top oil bunkering ports.
The physical features of the emirate are characterised by the jagged Hajar mountains which border the fertile coastal plain where most of the settlement has taken place. Blessed with dramatic scenery, Fujairah is well placed to continue building upon its tourism trade. Attractions include some excellent diving sites, the natural beauty of the mountains and coastline, cultural and historic attractions and, of course, reliable winter sunshine.
The historic town of Dibba al-Fujairah, at the northern end of the emirate, is an important centre for both agriculture and fishing, while the village of Bidiya has a unique four-domed mosque that is the oldest in the country.
Under the UAE system of government, the President of the Federation is elected by a body known as the Supreme Council of Rulers. The Supreme Council is the top policy-making body in the UAE, and the President and Vice President are both elected from its membership for renewable five-year terms.
The Supreme Council has both legislative and executive powers. In addition to planning and ratifying federal laws, the Supreme Council approves the President’s nominated Prime Minister and is equipped to accept his resignation, if required.
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President. He or she then appoints a Council of Ministers, or Cabinet, to oversee the development and implementation of federal policy across all portfolios of government.
In addition to the Supreme Council and the Council of Ministers, a 40-member parliament known as the Federal National Council (FNC) also examines proposed new legislation and provides advice to the UAE Cabinet, as required. The FNC is empowered to call and question Ministers in regard to their own performance, providing an additional degree of accountability to the system. Groundbreaking developments to open up decisionmaking were made in December 2006, with the first indirect election of FNC members. Previously, all FNC members were appointed by the Rulers of each Emirate.
The introduction of indirect elections represents the beginning of a process to modernize the UAE’s system of government. Under these reforms, individual Rulers select an electoral college whose members total 100 times the number of FNC members held by that Emirate. The members of each college then elect half of the FNC members, while the other half continue to be appointed by each Ruler. The process resulted in an FNC in which one-fifth of its members are women.
Future initiatives are expected to expand the size of the FNC and strengthen the interaction between it and the Council of Ministers, to further improve the efficiency, accountability and participatory nature of government in the UAE. In November 2008, the terms for FNC members were extended from two to four years, which is more consistent with other parliaments in the world. In addition, the government will report to the FNC about proposed international treaties and agreements, and those agreements will be discussed by the FNC before their ratification.
Historically, the political environment of the UAE has been characterized by great affection for the country’s leadership and institutions of government. This is largely in response to the rapid growth and development the UAE has experienced under their guidance in recent decades.
Man has occupied the land now known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for hundreds of thousands of years and, indeed, the area may have played an important role in the migration of early Man out of Africa into Asia. Over time the environment changed considerably. Around 7500 years ago, the climate was relatively benign and there is significant evidence of human occupation, but by approximately 3000 BC conditions had become much more arid, with the result that agriculture was confined largely to fortified oasis communities.
Commodity trading was established from an early stage and copper was transported from the Hajar Mountains to urban centres in the north as early as 3000 BC, from where it was exported to Mesopotamia. Camel caravan routes through the region from north to south also provided an alternative route to India. Ports such as Julfar (Ra’s al-Khaimah) eventually became flourishing entreports, thanks largely to the pearling trade.
In the sixteenth century, the arrival of the Portuguese in the Gulf caused major disruption for east-coast ports such as Dibba, Bidiyah, Khor Fakkan and Kalba. Yet by the beginning of the nineteenth century, a local tribe, the Qawaisim, had built up a fleet of over sixty large vessels and nearly 20,000 sailors – enough to provoke a British offensive to control the maritime trade routes between the Gulf and India.
By the early 1790s, the town of Abu Dhabi had become such an important pearling centre that the leader of the Bani Yas tribes, the sheikh of the Al Bu Falah (whose descendants, the Al Nahyan, are the present rulers of Abu Dhabi), moved there from the Liwa Oasis, some 150 kilometres to the south-west. A few decades later, members of the Al Bu Falasah, another branch of the Bani Yas, settled by the creek in Dubai, where they continue to rule today as the Al Maktoum family.
Pearl fishing continued to flourish, but eventually the First World War, the economic depression of the 1930s, and the Japanese invention of the cultured pearl caused the trade to decline – with a devastating impact on the region’s economy.
With the 1950s, however, came the discovery of oil, and on 6 August 1966, His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became Ruler of Abu Dhabi. Thus began a period of intense planning and development, whereby Abu Dhabi, and eventually the entire UAE, began to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of modernization and economic strength. On 2 December 1971, a constitutional federation of six states known as the United Arab Emirates was formally established. This consisted of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, and Fujairah. Sheikh Zayed was chosen as President and H.H. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, as Vice President. The seventh emirate, Ra’s al-Khaimah, joined the Federation in 1972.
There is no doubt that the prosperity, harmony and modern development which today characterize the UAE are, to a very great extent, due to the formative role played by the region’s founding fathers. In 2004, Sheikh Zayed was succeeded as UAE President and as Ruler of Abu Dhabi by his eldest son, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The principles and philosophy that he brought to government, however, remain at the heart of the Federation and its policies today. Following the death of his brother, Sheikh Maktoum, in 2006, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, was chosen as UAE Vice President and Prime Minister.
The UAE’s political leadership operates within the broad foreign policy framework that was established by the founding President of the Federation, H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. This approach emphasizes diplomacy, negotiation and compassion. The UAE is mindful of its commitment to its neighbours and the international community with regard to regional peace, stability and security for all. To achieve these goals, it has purposefully promoted bridges, partnerships and dialogue. Relying on these tools of engagement has allowed the Government to pursue effective, balanced and wide-ranging ties with the international community.
A guiding principle of UAE foreign policy is the belief in the need for justice in international dealings between states, including the necessity of respecting the principle of non-interference in the sovereign affairs of other nations. The UAE is also committed to peaceful resolution of disputes, and backs international institutions to reinforce the rule of international law and implementation of conventions and treaties.
One of the central features of the UAE’s foreign policy has been the development of closer ties with its neighbours in the Arabian Peninsula through the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). During 2009, developments in Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan and the initiatives required to deal with them formed the core of UAE dialogue with world leaders. The UAE is dedicated to peace, security and stability in the Arab region, as well as normalization of relations among all countries, and a just and lasting solution to the Middle East conflict. It believes that peace cannot be achieved while the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories continues. It supports an end to Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, within the context of an agreement based on the Arab Peace Initiative.
The UAE has repeatedly urged international action to freeze the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem in a bid to revive the Middle East peace process. Meanwhile, it has condemned Israeli aggression in Gaza and expressed solidarity with the Palestinians affected by the war. The UAE has provided over Dh11 billion (US$3bn) in aid to the Palestinians, including development funds for infrastructure, housing, hospital and school projects. In addition, the country donated Dh638.5 million (US$174mn) towards reconstruction in Gaza.
The UAE has been an active supporter of the Iraqi Government and has urged respect for the territorial integrity of Iraq, its sovereignty and independence. The Federation has one of the few functioning Arab embassies and resident ambassador in Baghdad, and has cancelled debts worth about Dh25.69 billion (US$7bn) to support Iraq’s reconstruction efforts. Despite a long-running dispute with Iran on the question of three occupied UAE islands and concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme, the UAE has kept open all channels of constructive engagement that could result in a mechanism for confidence-building measures and a peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues. The Federation continues to contribute constructively to international efforts aimed at stabilizing Afghanistan and supporting its bid to restore security. It provided US$550 million in humanitarian and development assistance between 2002 and 2008 and is the only Arab country performing humanitarian activities on the ground in Afghanistan.
Beyond the region itself, the UAE’s foreign policy continues to adapt to accommodate evolving changes in the global community. As part of its pragmatic approach, it is building bilateral and multilateral relations with both industrialized and developing countries while strengthening ties with its traditional allies in the West. An important aspect of the UAE’s foreign policy places great emphasis on nurturing an expansion of commercial and investment links with other countries and institutions worldwide. The Federation’s fast-developing position as a financial hub for the Middle East region has further solidified and strengthened its position as a member of the global community.
Because Asia weathered the recent economic crisis more successfully than other parts of the world, there were ample indications that some of the major Asian countries would play a more influential role in world politics. Absorbing this shift, and reflecting the desire to further consolidate ties, the UAE leadership continued to develop its relations with a number of Asia countries, including China and India. One major diplomatic success during 2009, which also reflected its growing international status, came when Abu Dhabi was chosen to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The UAE has published a policy document on nuclear energy for civilian, use emphasizing its transparent policies and readiness to abide by all related safety and security measures. Meanwhile, the international Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors approved the UAE’s ratification of the additional nuclear-inspection measures known as the Additional Protocol, which ensures commitment to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Another key area of UAE cooperation has been in the global fight against terrorism, including state-sponsored terror.
In spite of the impact of the financial and economic crisis on the region’s economics and development projects, the UAE continued its humanitarian, relief and development assistance programmes in many countries. Its efforts in this respect were acknowledged by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who praised its humanitarian stance and work in alleviating the sufferings of people in various parts of the world during natural disasters and human conflicts.
Aids is channeled through a number of key organizations, such as the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development which, during 2009, supported projects in Morocco, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Palestine, Benin, Yemen, Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea and others; the Red Crescent Authority (one of the top ten member organizations of the International Committee of the Red Cross), whose most effective activities include providing drinking water in the countries hit by drought and desertification, equipping hospitals in remote areas of underprivileged countries, and is focused mainly on the education of children in poor countries. In addition, Noor Dubai, an international charitable initiative for the prevention and treatment of blindness and low vision, cooperates with the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. In recent years, the emphasis has been on humanitarian assistance for those affected by natural disaster or conflict and poverty.
Overall, during the last three-and-a-half decades the UAE has contributed more than Dh255 billion (US$69.4 bn), in loans, grants and assistance is provided on a government-to-government basis, the Federation is also a major contributor to international agencies, having made Dh100 billion (US$27 bn) available through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The UAE Foreign Aid Coordination Office, set up in collaboration with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, is a recently established forum that will lead to the Federation becoming more involved in aid a multilateral level, rather than focusing on support through traditional bilateral means.
Despite the fact that the UAE is now on a steady recovery trajectory, it was significantly impacted by the recent global economic crisis. Notwithstanding an initial cushion created by high oil prices, the Federation was eventually affected by the deepening global downturn that led to a slump in demand for oil, dragging prices to less than a third of their July 2008 peak. The reversal of a large influx of private capital led to a sharp downturn in stock-market indices. Furthermore, a decline in the construction and property sectors, mainstays of UAE economic expansion, meant that growth in 2009 was down sharply from previous years. In October 2009, the Ministry of Economy predicted growth of just 1.3 per cent for the year.
Figures for 2009 were in marked contrast with those for 2008, when growth in UAE gross domestic product (GDP) reached 7.4 per cent. Leading that rise was the oil and gas sector, which expanded by 35.6 per cent, due mainly to the increase in oil prices. Other strong growth sectors in 2008 included the construction industry (26.1 per cent), manufacturing industries (17.2 per cent), the financial sector (15.9 per cent), the wholesale retail trade and repair services (18.7 per cent), and the restaurant and hotel trade (15.1 per cent).
In 2008, the UAE’s trade balance increased by 35.3 per cent, from Dh170.85 billion (US$ 46.5 bn) in 2007 to Dh231.09 billion (US$62.9), due largely to a 33.9 per cent rise in the value of exports and re-exports and a 39.7 per cent rise in the value of oil exports, coupled with a 37.1 per cent increase in the value of gas exports. Free trade zones saw a 16.4 per cent increase in exports, which reached Dh97.46 billion (US$26.6 bn) in 2008. Meanwhile, re-exports reached Dh 345.78 billion (US$94.2 bn); a rise of 33.4 per cent. Rising domestic demand due to increases in population and income levels, together with a positive growth in the re-export trade, helped push the value of imports up by 33.4 per cent to reach Dh735.70 billion (US$200.4 bn).
Inflation in the first eleven months of 2009 stood at 1.7 per cent-down significantly from previous years. Lower housing prices and food costs contributed to deflationary pressures in the economy. In 2008, inflation stood at 10.8 per cent, as substantial revenues from higher oil prices fuelled economic growth, creating shortages of property and services. At the same time, the weaker US dollar and higher global food prices made imports more expensive. The UAE Central Bank’s stated policy has been to keep official interest rates at low levels in order to revive economic growth.
The non-hydrocarbon sectors accounted for 63 per cent of GDP in 2008, despite high oil and gas prices, contributing Dh 2.16 trillion (US$ 590 bn) to the economy. The UAE is hoping to reduce the contribution of the hydrocarbons sector to approximately 20 per cent in the next ten to 15 years by promoting growth elsewhere in the economy. Manufacturing and industry continue to be important components of the Federation’s ambitions for economic transformation, building on such already-thriving sectors as aluminum smelting, ceramics and pharmaceuticals.
In 2009, Abu Dhabi unveiled its 2030 Economic Vision, setting out a road map for greater economic diversification. Mubadala Development Company, the strategic investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Government, is paying a major role in the region’s industrial development, including projects in aerostructure (aircraft airframe components) manufacturing, commercial finance, energy and leisure. Abu Dhabi is also focusing on renewable sources of energy and the government-owned future energy company Masdar is a key part of this strategy. Masdar City, which the company describes as ‘the world’s first carbon-neutral zero-waste city and headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’, will eventually house 40,000 residents and 50,000 daily commuters working at some 1500 green-energy firms. Masdar is also investing heavily in the fast-growing technology of thin-film solar energy panels, which includes the construction of a plant in Abu Dhabi capable of manufacturing enough panels each year to produce 130 megawatts
Dubai, while restructuring some of its major state-backed companies, is continuing to build on its considerable strengths in industry, tourism and trade. Sharjah is also proceeding with plans for industrial development, and Ra’s al-Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) is planning to launch a concept of themed industry zones to create clusters of manufacturing facilities. Fujairah is establishing a virtual free zone, the first in the UAE, which will let internationally owned companies do business for less than that charged by established free zones. In addition, the UAE Government is in the final stages of preparing an industrial law that is also expected to encourage the creation of national industries.
Several major projects were completed in 2009, one of the most impressive being Yas island, a leisure resort in Abu Dhabi and home to the Yas Marina circuit, which hosted the Formula One Grand Prix in November 2009. Major infrastructure schemes where completed, including the Dh28 billion (US$7.62 bn) Dubai Metro, the driverless transport system spanning the heart of the emirates; Sheikh Khalifa bridge, linking Abu Dhabi Island with Saadiyat and Yas Island; and the Palm Jumeriah Monorail. The tallest building in the world; the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, opened during the first week of 2010.
Tourism is an important growth sector for the entire UAE economy. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have both gone through rebranding exercises, focusing on prime-quality hotels and leisure resorts. From the tropical island resort of Sir Bani Yas in western Abu Dhabi, the desert hideaways of Qasr al-Sarab, in the Liwa Oasis, and Al Maha and Bab al-Shams in Dubai to the well-sited coastal resorts of Fujairah, Ra’s al Khaimah and Ajman, the UAE offers superb facilities in some remote and beautiful locations. Flagship projects such as Emirates Palace Hotel, Burj al-Arab, Madinat Jumeirah, and the Bruj Khalifa have helped to raise the profile of the country, with the result that the Federation has much to offer even the most demanding of guests. Over 11.2 million visitors are expected in 2010, underpinning the success of the UAE’s attempts to boost investment in the hospitality industry.
In 2009, the UAE climbed fourteen places in the ‘Doing Business’ report compiled by the World Bank and its International Finance Corporation. The internationally recognized report assesses countries on how easy it is for small and medium-sized enterprises to conduct business. The Federation rose to thirty-third position in the global ranking for regulatory reform, partly as a result of the Government’s decision to abolish a Dh150,00 (US$40,871) minimum capital requirement for some start-up businesses.
Two other key reasons for the UAE’s rise was a streamlining of the process involved in obtaining construction permits and the improvement of capacity at Dubai ports.
Investment in overseas markets has long been integral to the UAE’s strategic drive to create a security net for future generations, specifically those who one day face the prospect of depleted hydrocarbon reserves. Among the major international investment bodies in the Emirates are: the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Abu Dhabi Investment Council, Invest AD, The investment Corporation of Dubai, Dubai Holding, Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group (including Dubai Properties Group, Sama Dubai, Tatweer, And Duabi Holding Investment Group), and Dubai World. In addition, Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) and the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) pursue energy development abroad.
Steps taken by federal institutions in 2008 to restore confidence in the financial system, including the UAE Central Bank Dh50-billion (US$13.6 bn) facility to support local lenders, and the UAE Ministry of Finance Dh70 billion (US$19 bn) liquidity support scheme, were designed to rekindle lending, buoy stock markets and give a boost to economic activity. In 2008, the Federal Government also announced that it would make up to Dh120 billion (US$32.7 bn) available to banks across the country under several lending programmes, and guarantee deposits and interbank lending for three years.
In February 2009, the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance injected Dh16 billion (US$4.35 bn) into five of the emirate’s biggest banks. These measures helped to firm up balance sheets at banks, although bank profits fell in the first quarter, and an emergency financial committee was set up by the Ministry of Economy to consider further actions to support lenders.
During the year, banks reported an increase in defaults and missed payments on commercial and consumer loans. As a result, the UAE’s listed banks took a cautious approach by reporting higher-than-usual provisioning against bad loans. To assist with extra capital-cushioning in the banking system, the Central Bank instructed lenders that from 2010 they must comply with Basel II regulations on capital adequacy for banks and pay more attention to risk-control and management. The Government also announced plans to merge the Emirates’ two biggest mortgage lenders, Amlak and Tamweel. This is considered pivotal to a recovery in the housing market.
The repayment of loans obtained from the market by government-owned conglomerates was also a focus of activity in 2009. In February 2009, the Government of Dubai sold Dh36.7 billion (US$10 bn) in bonds to the Central Bank to help companies in its control make debt payments and pay contractors. To oversee the distribution of these funds, the Dubai Financial Support Fund was established in July 2009. On 25 November 2009, the Dubai Government announced that it had lined up Dh18.4 million (US$5 bn) in financing from the National Bank Abu Dhabi and Al Hilal Bank, both of which are controlled by one of Abu Dhabi’s largest sovereign wealth funds, the Abu Dhabi Investment Council. Dubai also successfully managed a number of large debts in 2009, including a Dh12.47 billion (US$3.4 bn) refinancing of the exchange operator Borse Dubai’s debt in February, and the repayment of a Dh3.67 billion (US$1 bn) Dubai Civil Aviation Authority Islamic bond in November.
Stocks listed on the Dubai Financial Market ended the year up 10.2 per cent, but were still more than 70 per cent down from the previous year’s highs. Stocks on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange rose by 14.7 per cent in 2009, but were still down 46 per cent from 2008 highs.
With a fraction of the land mass of some of its Gulf neighbours, the UAE is nonetheless the region’s fourth-largest exporter of crude oil, after Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.
The UAE has the world’s sixth-largest proven reserves of conventional crude oil, and the seventh-largest proven reserves of natural gas. Although only the world’s nine-biggest oil producer, it is the fifth-largest net oil exporter, with only Russia and Saudi Arabia exporting substantially more. Its crude exports closely approach those of Iran, and Kuwait, which all have bigger reserves.
In 2009, due to exemplary compliance with the record production cuts pledged by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to stabilize oil markets, the UAE’s oil output fell to about 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd) from 2.9 million in 2008. It gas production stood at roughly 7 billion standard cubic feet per day. The UAE is pressing ahead with plans to expand oil and gas production capacity, but it has extended the time frame for oil development while giving higher priority to gas projects.
In early 2009 the Federation’s proven gas reserves stood at 227.1 trillion cubic feet – sufficient gas for more than 130 years of supply at recent production rates. Among other things, this means the Emirates’ gas shortage is not due to a lack of gas reserves, but to insufficient development, although many of the gas reserves are of a type that is costly and difficult to produce. Abu Dhabi is pivotal in boosting the UAE’s overall oil and gas production capacity, because it contains about 94 per cent of the Federation’s oil reserves and more than 90 per cent of its gas reserves. It is expanding capacity for both oil and gas production.
Meanwhile, Dubai’s oil production, which once accounted for about half that emirate’s GDP, has fallen dramatically from its 1991 peak of 410,000 bpd; by 2007 it had dropped to 80,000 bpd. While it continues to pump gas from offshore fields, Dubai also consumes more fuel than it produces, and it is increasingly dependent on imports to make up the difference. The emirate already purchases several hundred million cubic feet per day of gas from Dolphin Energy, an Abu Dhabi company that imports gas by pipeline from Qatar.
Four of the UAE’s remaining five emirates also have minor amounts of oil and gas production; Fujairah does not produce oil or gas, although an onshore exploration programme is currently under way. However, the world’s second-largest bunkering port is located on its coast. The port of Fujairah, on the Arabian Sea, handles about 1 million tonnes per month of marine transportation fuel and other oil products. The arrival in 2008 of gas imports through the Dolphin Energy pipeline from Qatar has facilitated power and water development in the emirate and stimulated local industry.
IPIC, owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, is building a strategic crude-oil pipeline to deliver up to 150,000 bpd of oil from Abu Dhabi’s onshore fields o a new export terminal in Fujairah. The project aims to supply an export route for Abu Dhabi crude bypasses the Gulf’s maritime choke point at the Strait of Hormuz. It is scheduled for completion in 2010, with the first tanker shipment from Fujairah expected in early 2011. IPIC is also developing an oil refinery and storage facilities at the Fujairah port.
With nearly 10 percent of the total world supply of proven crude oil reserves and the world’s fifth largest natural gas reserves, the UAE is a critical partner and responsible supplier in global energy markets. While a mainstay to the economy, oil exports now account for only about 30 percent of total gross domestic product, as a result of aggressive government policies designed to diversify the UAE economy.
The UAE is also pursuing groundbreaking renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. In 2005 the UAE ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Convention on Climate Change, becoming one of the first major oil-producing countries to do so. Abu Dhabi has also established one of the world’s most comprehensive renewable and alternative energy initiatives.
Each Emirate controls its own oil production and resource development. Abu Dhabi holds more than 90 percent of the UAE’s oil resources, or about 92.2 billion barrels. Dubai contains an estimated 4 billion barrels, followed by Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah with 1.5 billion and 100 million barrels of oil, respectively.
Abu Dhabi has a history of welcoming private sector investment into its upstream oil and gas exploration and production sector. Indeed, Abu Dhabi was the only OPEC member not to nationalize the holdings of foreign investors during the wave of nationalization that swept the global oil and gas industry in the mid-1970’s, and it continues to benefit from high levels of private-sector investment. Today international oil companies from the United States, Japan, France, Britain and other countries continue to hold combined equity stakes of between 40 and 100 percent in Abu Dhabi’s vast oil concessions.
The UAE exports 60 percent of its crude oil to Japan, making it the UAE’s largest customer. Gas exports are almost entirely to Japan, the world’s largest buyer of liquefied gas, with the UAE supplying almost one-eighth of Japan’s entire requirements.
Due largely to geographic realities affecting transportation costs, the UAE exports minimal quantities of oil and gas to the United States. Nevertheless, the UAE is an important oil and gas supplier to the international market and second only to Saudi Arabia in terms of spare oil production capacity. In addition, the UAE’s aggressive plans to expand production capacity will contribute significantly to offsetting future, demand-driven increases in the price of crude oil.
The Dolphin Project, which imports natural gas by pipeline from Qatar to the UAE, was the first major cross-border energy deal between Gulf countries. The project will free up Abu Dhabi’s gas for crude oil recovery and export. Occidental Petroleum of the United States and Total of France each have a 24.5 percent equity stake in the project, while the Government of Abu Dhabi holds the remaining 51 percent. The first commercial deliveries of Qatari natural gas began in the summer of 2007 and will continue throughout the 30-year term of the development and production-sharing agreement signed with the Government of Qatar.
In an effort to enhance security of supply, Gulf governments are studying the development of oil pipelines that would bypass the Strait of Hormuz. About two-fifths of the world’s traded oil currently is shipped by tanker through this 34-mile-wide passage.
If built, the pipelines could move as much as 6.5 million barrels of oil per day or about 40 percent of the amount currently shipped through the Strait. Construction of a first, smaller pipeline would carry oil from UAE’s Habshan oil field to the Emirate of Fujairah, located outside the strait on the Gulf of Oman.
The UAE continues to significantly increase its production to supply the global energy markets. While some OPEC nations and many non-OPEC nations have seen production declines over the last five years, the UAE has increased its total production of crude oil by approximately 31 percent. In no year during that period has average annual production fallen below the previous year.
Turning to the future, upstream oil and gas entities in the UAE continue to identify new projects aimed at boosting the nation’s crude oil production capacity to nearly 4 million barrels per day by 2020, which would amount to an additional increase of approximately 40 percent over current production levels.
Booming economic growth across the UAE has led to massive increases in the demand for electricity. Current estimates suggest that the domestic demand for power will more than double by 2020. With limitations on how much and how fast traditional energy resources, like natural gas, can be brought to market, as well as concerns about climate change, the UAE Government has launched various initiatives aimed at identifying alternative means for producing the power needed to fuel its economy.
The UAE is assessing the possibility of developing a peaceful nuclear energy program. The UAE Government is acutely aware of the sensitivities involved in the deployment of nuclear reactors and even the simple evaluation of the possibility. Accordingly, the UAE Government has worked to make its peaceful and unambiguous objectives clear, in terms of its current evaluation of a peaceful nuclear energy program as well as its potential future deployment. The government released an in-depth policy paper to the public, addressing how the potential development of nuclear energy would be pursued safely, securely and peacefully. As part of its commitments for transparency, non-proliferation, security and safety, the UAE has determined that it will not pursue uranium enrichment and instead rely on the international market for nuclear fuels. Throughout the process, the UAE has worked closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other governments, including the United States.
Despite the critical role of oil and gas for the UAE, the country has made groundbreaking commitments in alternative energy. The UAE is taking steps to reduce carbon emissions through major initiatives in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Dubai is developing a master environmental plan that will ensure that growth and progress are achieved while protecting the environment. Demand-side-management of electricity will play a role, as will increased public transportation.
The UAE’s largest Emirate, Abu Dhabi, has committed more than $15 billion in renewable energy programs. The Masdar Initiative underscores twin commitments to the global environment and diversification of the UAE economy. The Masdar Initiative focuses on the development and commercialization of technologies in renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon management and monetization, water usage and desalination.
The Initiative’s partners include some of the world’s largest energy companies and elite institutions: BP, Shell, Occidental Petroleum, Total Exploration and Production, General Electric, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Rolls Royce, Imperial College London, MIT and WWF. It has four key elements: An innovation center to support the demonstration, commercialization and adoption of sustainable energy technologies. The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology with graduate programs in renewable energy and sustainability, located in Masdar City, the world’s first carbon-neutral, waste free, car-free city. A development company focused on the commercialization of emissions reduction, and Clean Development Mechanism solutions as provided by the Kyoto Protocol. A Special Economic Zone to host institutions investing in renewable energy technologies and products.
The UAE has long been an important supplier of energy and is now becoming an increasingly relevant consumer of energy as well. In its efforts to accelerate the development of additional hydrocarbon reserves and in its efforts to contribute to the development and implementation of alternative energy sources, the UAE hopes to continue its long tradition of responsible energy stewardship.
The conservation and protection of the environment of the UAE is one of the most complex tasks it has faced to date. High temperatures and low rainfall create harsh conditions, requiring special adaptations for both animals and plants to survive. Even minor climatic changes may have a severe impact on the UAE’s biodiversity. In addition, a low-lying coastline means that even a small rise in sea level could have serious implications in the coastal zone, where the overwhelming majority of the country’s inhabitants live and where much of planned development is taking place. Indeed, scientific studies are detecting signs that sea level in the Gulf may already be rising.
The populations has grown from around 180,000 in 1968 to around five million today. As a result, the amount of land being used for residential, commercial and industrial use has increased dramatically. Reclamation and development have reshaped the UAE coastline in a very short time frame. Extension of the Federation’s infrastructure in the form of airports, ports and highways has taken an additional toll on what was formerly natural habitat, while quarrying stone for construction has had a significant impact on much of the Hajar Mountains.
Notwithstanding the dynamics of change, the Government is committed to conserving the environment and a reaching a sustainable balance between environmental protection and the needs of development.
The federal Ministry of Environment and Water, along with local agencies – of which the most active is the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, responsible for nearly four-fifths of the UAE’s land area – have continued to work on proactive programmes of scientific research and the preparation and implementation of ever-regulations and guidelines.
Educational campaigns have been designed with the help of non-government organizations such as the Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS) to raise public awareness of the need to protect the environment and to reduce the consumption of energy and water.
Yasat Marine Protected Area, with its endangered dugongs, has been enlarged to include several more islands, and now covers an area of nearly 3000 square kilometers. EWS and the Fujairah Municipality have also declared the Wadi Wurrayah a protected reserve. Home to the endangered Arabian tahr, this the UAE’s first mountain reserve.
Conservation of fresh water and marine resources is also high on the UAE agenda, while air pollution attributed to rock quarrying and cement manufacture has led to closure of certain establishment in Ra’s al-Khaimah and Fujairah.
In addition, the Federation has worked for many years with other countries on the basis of bilateral agreements to protect particular species, such as the houbara bustard, which breeds in central Asia but migrates to the Arabian Gulf. The UAE has now been chosen as the Headquarters for a new international agreement on the conservation and protection of migratory species of birds of prey throughout Europe, Africa and Asia.
The UAE is the commercial heart of the Middle East’s media sector, serving as a regional hub for international media companies and as a fertile field for the development of domestic media industries. The rapidly growing sector is overseen by the National Media Council, which is responsible for issuing media licences, enforcing media laws, and running the external information department and the Emirates News Agency, WAM.
One of the country’s largest media conglomerates is the Abu Dhabi Media Company, which owns and operates a range of television channels, a network of radio stations, a number of publications (Al Ittihad newspaper, The National newspaper, Zahrat Al Khaleej magazine and Majid magazine) and several other media-related business, including film-development company Imagenation, United Printing Press and Live.
Free zones have been instrument in media development, CNN has established a news hub in Abu Dhabi’s new twofour54 media zone that has attracted many other media professionals. Dubai Media City now has more than 1200 registered business such as CNN, the BBC, MBC and CNBC. This is one of a cluster of media free zones run by Tecom, including Dubai Internet City, Dubai Studio City and the International Media Production Zone. These zones have been complemented by the development of smaller media free zones such as Fujairah Creative City and RAK Media City.
Film production, both on the international level and domestically, is encouraged, and it is supported by a number of organizations, including Dubai Studio City, twofour54, the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), The Circle and the Abu Dhabi Film Commission.
Books, including translations of major works into Arabic, and promoted by organizations such as Kitab and Kalima. Major fairs for book publishers held in the UAE include the long-established Sharjah International Book Fair and the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, while the largest literary prize is the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, which went to Pedro Martinez Montavez in 2009.
The Dubai Press Club organizes, among other things, the Arab Media Forum, and hosts the Arab Journalism Awards, now in its eighth year and comprising twelve different categories.
Heritage and culture are central to national identity, and the UAE is making considerable efforts to preserve its traditional culture. At the same time, the Federation is undergoing a cultural renaissance, with a particular emphasis on investment in world-class resources and the forging of bridges between East and West.
The Federal Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development is active in these fields, creating opportunities for young Emirates to take part in cultural, intellectual, sports and entertainment activities, while also encouraging older citizens to participate as mentors, imparting their cultural knowledge to the younger generation.
To help foster music appreciation, ADACH organizes many musical events, including the Abu Dhabi Classics, which hosted the Middle Eastern debut of the New York Philharmonic in 2009. WOMAD’s global music festival has also been held in Abu Dhabi. In addition, a series of concerts entitled ‘Dubia Sound City’ made a big impact in 2009. In terms of the visual arts, in early 2009 the ‘Emirati Expression’ exhibition featured eighty-seven local artists, from veteran painters to a new generation of photographers, graphic designers, video and installation artists. Meanwhile, the Sharjah Biennial, Art Dubai, Art Fair and a number of other exhibitions were held in collaboration with partners such as the Guggenheim Foundation, the Louvre, New York University Abu Dhabi, and Paris-Sorbone University Abu Dhabi. Contemporary art is also well represented at dedicated galleries throughout the Emirates.
Among the major international cultural initiatives by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development during the year was the organization of the UAE’s first pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Other activities overseas included a week-long ‘UAE Cultural Days’ festival in Berlin and an Emirati-German art exhibition in Huamburg, where another Ministry initiative, the ‘Dialogue of Cultures’ project was also launched.
On the broader cultural front, world-class museums such as the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum are under development. Meanwhile, the already well-established Sharjah Museums Department oversees seventeen museums and cultural institutions, including a spectacular new museum of Islamic civilization.
A desire to improve the standard of living of its people and the general well-being of society has driven much government policy – not just in terms of economic development, but also in that of social affairs. In a few shorts years, enormous social changes have taken place in a society that was once largely tribal; it is a remarkable achievement, despite this considerable upheaval, that the UAE is a secure and stable, open and progressive society, renowned for its tolerance, humanity and compassion.
Government efforts to assist society in the process of change have been bolstered by a policy, instituted in 2009, that sermons at Friday prayers throughout the Federation’s mosques must concentrate on the social and educational role of religion and not just on religious dogma. Topics include how to bring up children, women’s rights and the importance of work, lve of country and tolerance.
Government social policy has been effective, as is evidenced by ranking in the UN Human Development Index (HDI), which looks beyond GDP to a broader definition of well-being. Between 1980 and 2007, UAE HDI rose by 0.72 per cent annually, and is today 0.903, up from 0.743. This puts the Federation thirty-fifth out of the 182 countries for which data is available – securing a place for the UAE in the list of countries with a very high human-development score.
Nevertheless, the Federation’s rapid population growth has brought demographic challenges. At the end of 2009, the population of the UAE was estimated to be 50.6 million, up from 4.76 million in 2008, or an annual growth rate of around 6.3 per cent; the growth rate of the local population was estimated at 3.4 per cent in 2009. However, despite this rapid increase, the UAE has maintained its position as one of the wealthiest nations in terms of GDP per capita income, which was estimated at Dh195,000 (US$53,133.5) at the beginning of 2009; second only to Qatar in the Arab world.
The family has always been the cornerstone of UAE society. Today, socio-economic issues can challenge even the most committed of family members, and the Government offers support to those in need, particularly the elderly, the disabled and divorces. In addition, a wide array of governmental and non-governmental charitable organizations are involved in social welfare programmes. The UAE Red Crescent Authority, in Particular, is the largest charitable organization in the country, administering comprehensive social, economic, health and educational programmes. Practical help is also offered by social centres run by the General Women’s Union.
The Government is also giving priority to local housing needs and is intent on building communities that have the requisite facilities. Almost 17,000 new villas for Emiratis will be built in Abu Dhabi over the next five years, and 50,000 over the next twenty. Most houses and plots will be given to citizens free of charge. The Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme, funded by the Government to provide housing grants and loans for UAE citizines, also continues to expand its activities throughout the Emirates.
The UAE respects the integrity of every individual residing in the Federation. It commitment to guarantee equality and social justice for all citizens is embodied in the Constitution. The Constitution also outlines the freedoms and rights of all citizens, prohibiting torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, and respecting civil liberties, including freedom of speech and press, peaceful
assembly and association, and the practice of religious beliefs. The Government is firmly committed to promoting, in a constructive way, the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is determined to improve its domestic record by bring its own laws and practices up the date. This is in line with the UAE’s cultural heritage and religious values, which enshrine justice, equally and tolerance.
At the international level, the Federation is a signatory of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Labour Organisation Convention on Minimum Age, and the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
At the national level, the Federation is a signatory of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Labour Organisation Convention of Minimum Age, and the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
At the national level, governmental strategy focuses on ensuring countrywide sustainable development and initiatives promote the empowerment of women and the development of high-quality education and healthcare systems, as well as the assimilation of members of society with special needs and other vulnerable groups into the development process.
As far as labour issues are concerned, the UAE aims to manage and govern the working environment in line with international laws and best international labour practices. Considerable efforts have been undertaken to ensure the safety of workers, to guarantee payment of wages on time and to improve living and working conditions, as well as to ensure strict enforcement of laws in order to minimize violations.
Gender equality has been on the Government agenda since the Federation’s foundation, and women in the UAE have long been recognized as equal partners is national development. The Government continues to pursue a strategy of empowering women in cultural, social and economic fields. As a result, the UAE is ranked in Thirty-eighth place in the 2009 UN Human Development Report Gender-related Development Index – a Figure that puts it among the highest-ranked nations.
UAE women today participate in all institutions of government, including the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and enjoy a diverse range of careers. In fact, UAE women now constitute 66 per cent of the public-sector workforce, 30 per cent of whom are in senior posts.
All UAE citizens enjoy free universal access to primary, secondary and higher education. In recent years, the education sector has taken on a new significance: its reform and improvement represent a critical step in the Federation’s ongoing development aims, and major efforts are being made across the board to revise curricula and ensure that schools and colleges are properly assessed and accredited.
Special Education is receiving renewed attention, with a focus in 2009 on the integration of national students from a variety of special-needs centres into regular public schools. A new set of standards for public and private schools aims at ensuring that schools comply with this policy, and penalties will be incurred for non-acceptance of children with special needs.
Tertiary-level education in the UAE is also undergoing rapid growth and change. A new Zayed University campus is being built on 75 hectares in the emerging Capital District. The UAE University in Al Ain also has plans for significant expansion, and a new campus is under construction. Other key third-level institutions include the Higher Colleges of Technology, the Etihad training centre, the Emirates Aviation College for Aerospace and Academic Studies, the Emirates Institute for Banking and Finance, and Etisalat’s colleges and university.
Foreign universities, from the Paris Sorbonne to Michigan State University, are very well represented in the UAE. The Abu Dhabi campus of New York University opens in the autumn of 2010. Other important institutions offering a range of specialized courses include INSEAD, the New York Film Academy, The Dubai School of Government, The Petroleum Institute, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
Healthcare provision in the UAE is universal, and pre-and post-natal care are on a par with the world’s most developed countries. As a consequence, the life expectancy at birth of 78.5 years has reached levels similar to those in Europe and North America.
The introduction of mandatory health insurance in Abu Dhabi for expatriates and their dependants is a major driver in the reform of healthcare policy. In addition, a federal initiative aims to ensure that every Emirati and expatriate in the country will be covered by compulsory health insurance under a unified mandatory scheme.
Healthcare facilities are already of a high standard in the UAE, and, despite the financial climate, health care remains a focus of investment, with a number of government and private projects being undertaken in 2009.
Preventive medicine and public health are considered critical to the long-term well-being of the UAE’s relatively young population. Experts a rise in many lifestyle diseases in coming years. Although cultural barriers are slowly being eroded, they still affect serious issues such as cancer. Compulsory mammograms for women between the ages of forty and sixty and a federal smoking ban in public places are examples of the efforts being made to enhance public health in this regard. The UAE also has very rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and is rolling out strategies to deal with these issues. Primary health care is another crucial tool in public health policy, and smoothing the UAE is working hard to improve.
Public health authorities in 2009 were challenged by the threat of a swine flu (H1N1) pandemic. However, the three major health bodies — the Ministry of Health, the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Health Authority – switched rapidly and effectively to preventive medicine, crisis management and disease control and an effective plan was put in place to manage the situation.
The UAE has a comprehensive, government-funded health service and a rapidly developing private health sector that delivers a high standard of health care to the population. In many parts of the UAE, health care delivery is undergoing a significant transformation.
Most of the infectious diseases like malaria, measles and poliomyelitis that were once endemic in the UAE have been eradicated, while pre-natal and post-natal care is on par with the world’s most developed countries: the new-born (neonate) mortality rate has been reduced to 5.54 per 1000 and infant mortality to 7.7 per 1000. Maternal mortality rates have dropped to 0.01 for every 100,000.
As a consequence of this high standard of care at all stages of the health care system, life expectancy at birth in the UAE, at 78.3 years, has reached levels similar to those in Europe and North America. To date, health care in the UAE has, by and large, been funded by the Government. As with other sectors, this emphasis is evolving and public-private partnerships are becoming more important.
Public policy focuses on developing organizational and legal frameworks based on best practice, to upgrade the private and public sector health service capabilities. In addition, public policy action will set priorities for health services development within the sector.
Health care delivery in Abu Dhabi is undergoing a significant transition that will affect the entire spectrum of stakeholders: patients (citizens and expatriates), providers and those responsible for planning, assuring the quality of services and financing the health system. Key objectives for the Health Authority in Abu Dhabi are to:
Improve quality of care, always the primary consideration, to be promoted through application of rigorous service standards and performance targets for all.
Expand access to services, giving all residents access to the same standard of care with the power to choose health care services thus promoting excellence through free-market competition.
Shift from public to private providers safely and efficiently so that private providers, rather than government, services health care needs, with the role of government restricted to the development and enforcement of new, world-class health care standards.
Implement a new financing model through a new system of mandatory health insurance.
Compulsory insurance for all workers, including domestic, is funded by sponsors. The compulsory health insurance plan for private sector employees, as implemented in Abu Dhabi, will come into effect across the country in 2008. Hallmarks of the new system include a clear and transparent reimbursement process, affordable access for all residents and reliable funding for quality health care in Abu Dhabi.
A charitable fund will continue to operate for underinsured expatriates and also cover more serious medical conditions such as cancer, dialysis, polytrauma and disability.
A new unified health insurance system in Dubai for nationals and non-nationals is also planned and it is expected that the scheme will eventually be rolled out across the country.
The United Arab Emirates is one of the world’s fastest growing tourist and business destinations. Traditional Arab hospitality and comfortable winter temperatures are complemented by sophisticated infrastructure and world-class amenities.
The UAE also has become a world-class venue for conferences, regional and international exhibitions and major global sports events such as the Dubai World Cup for horse-racing, the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, the Dubai Desert Classic Golf Tournament, the FIFA Club World Cup, world class film festivals in Dubai as well as Abu Dhabi, and in conjunction with the White House, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. The UAE has won the bid to host the 2020 World Expo.
The United Kingdom’s largest online travel agent, expedia.co.uk, selected Abu Dhabi as one of the world’s top 10 travel destinations in 2008. Dubai International Airport won the award for the Middle East’s leading airport in the 2012 World Travel Awards.
There is much to do in the UAE beyond Dubai and Abu Dhabi. First settled during the Bronze Age, Sharjah is the cultural capital of the emirates. The Heritage Area of Sharjah City includes a Maritime Museum, an Islamic Museum and museums for traditional and contemporary Arabic art, among many others.
Ajman attracts international visitors with beautiful beaches, as does Fujairah which also offers snorkeling and diving and excursions to the Musandam Peninsula, renowned for the unspoiled nature of its sheer cliffs, rocky coves and coral reefs.
Ras Al Khaima, on the border with Oman, is probably best known among local adventure travelers for the rugged Hajjar Mountains.
All Indians with Indian passports valid for more than six months can enter the UAE.
The Embassy issues visas on Diplomatic and Official Passports only. The documents required for this are:
The UAE Embassy does not issue visas on ordinary passports.
Tourist visa for an Indian National, holding an ordinary passport, is arranged by a sponsor in UAE. It can also be obtained on booking a hotel in UAE or through the Emirates Airlines Office or the Air Arabia Office or through a Travel Agent in India.
The UAE Embassy does not cancel visas.
In order to get your visa cancelled, you need to contact your sponsor in UAE who had arranged the visa for you. Your sponsor has the sole authority to cancel your previous visa. Without getting the previous visa cancelled, you cannot get a new UAE visa and you cannot travel to UAE.
Individuals can submit their OWN documents, or documents of their BLOOD RELATIVES, on showing a proof of Identity and a proof of Relation. Documents of friends can be submitted ONLY through any authorized agents.
Commercial Documents may be submitted directly by the Authorized Company – Employees. Authority letter on the Company Letterhead (with the name of the Employee & Seal of the Company) and the Company ID are required in this case.
All documents need to be attested first by the Consular Section of the Ministry of External Affairs of India, and then by the Consular Section, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. Please note that the educational documents need to be attested by the Education Ministry of the concerned state before the ‘External Affairs’ attestation. For attestation at the Consular Section, UAE Dirham 156.06 is the fee per document and the timing are 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., Monday to Thursday, and 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. on Friday. The document can be picked up on the same day, between 3:00 and 4:00 P.M., Monday to Thursday, and 2:30 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. on Friday. For any queries, please e-mail to us at: email@example.com
Other certificates like Marriage, Birth, Experience, Affidavits, FIRs of lost passports, Commercial documents, etc. need to be attested by the Ministry of External Affairs of India alone. The rest of the procedure remains the same. The fee for the commercial documents depends on the matter and the fee for the invoice varies with the Invoice value. Please contact the UAE Embassy’s Consular Section in case of any questions.
|DOCUMENT TYPE||Fees in UAE Dirham|
|Education Document (diplomas, degrees, school certificates)||156.06|
|Pre Degree Certificate||156.06|
|National Trade Certificate||156.06|
|Madrasa degrees and certificates||156.06|
|FIR of loss of passport||156.06|
|Power of Attorney (Personal)||156.06|
|Drug Analysis Certificate||156.06|
|Nurse Registration Certificate||156.06|
|Police Character Certificate||156.06|
|Legal Heirship Certificate||156.06|
|Copy of Driving License, Passport, etc.||156.06|
Fees for Invoices values with the Invoice Value
|DOCUMENT TYPE|| Fees|
|Factorization between people, while opening a company||2043.06|
| Factorization by taking the product, when sold within |
| Factorization by taking the product, when sold outside |
|Power of attorney to open business within state.||2043.06|
|Modification of share capital.||2043.06|
|Introduction of a new partner.||2043.06|
|Franchise – establishing a company||2043.06|
|Open a new branch of foreign company in state.||2043.06|
| Open a new brands of foreign company outside the|
|Business License (where copies are distributed to more than one country to open a branch in every state).||2043.06|
| Achievement of the projects that have been|
completed on the completion of each unit,
within the country or outside the country.
|Company financial budget||2043.06|
|Closure of a company||2043.06|
|Corporate financial budget of each fiscal year||2043.06|
|Tourist Licence Registration||2043.06|
|Commercial Agencies (Private/Public)|
| Extraction of Licenses, Appointment of Branch Manager,|
Opening a Brnach, Management of Quotas
| Cert. of Membership of the Chambers of Commerce.|
Minutes of the Meeting of Board of Directors.
Memorandum of Association of the Company.
A copy of any of the pre-certified agencies listed above.
Fees change anytime without any prior notice
In order to get a police clearance certificate from any Emirate of UAE, the candidate has to get his fingerprints attested in black ink by the local police station of his city, then by the Ministry of Home of his state and then by the Ministry of External Affairs of India. The address of their Delhi office is Consular Section, Patiala House, Tilak Marg, near India Gate. Other offices of the Ministry of External Affairs are in Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Kolkata. The candidate can also directly approach the Fingerprint Cell in Patiala House to get his fingerprints done. Attested finger prints are then to be submitted in the UAE Embassy (either by himself, or through his blood relatives, or through any of our authorized agents) from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, Monday to Friday. Rs.3,750/- is the fee per certificate IN CASH, and the document would be returned back on the same day, between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm.
Once you have received the attested fingerprints back from the Agent, you have to send them to the appropriate agency in the UAE. Please include the following items.
Permits and Certificates Section
Dubai Police General H.Q
Tel: 971-4-2013484 / 2013564
Fax: 971-4-2171512 / 2660151
Police Department – Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
We suggest sending the documents to a friend in the UAE, so that your friend can obtain the certificate from the Police Department on your behalf. This will greatly reduce the processing time compared to sending the documents directly to the Police Department.
|UNITED ARAB EMIRATES||INDIA|
|Abu Dhabi Municipality||Cabinet Secretariat|
|Ajman Chamber of Commerce & Industry||Planning Commission|
|Abu Dhabi Municipality||Ministry of Agriculture|
|Dubai Civil Defence||Department of Atomic Energy|
|Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry||Ministry of Chemical & Fertilizers|
|Dubai Municipality||Ministry of Civil Aviation|
|Federal National Council||Ministry of Coal & Mines|
|Federation of UAE Chambers Of Commerce & Industry||Ministry of Commerce and Industry|
|Ministry of Economy & Commerce||Ministry of Communications|
|Ministry of Electricity & Water||Ministry of Corporate Affairs|
|Ministry of Health||Ministry of Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution|
|Ministry of State for Cabinet Affairs||Ministry of Culture|
|Ministry of Education & Youth||Ministry of Disinvestment|
|Ministry of Finance & Industry||Ministry of Environment and Forests|
|Ministry of Planning||Ministry of External Affairs|
|Sharjah Municipality||Ministry of Finance|
|Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry||Ministry of Food Processing Industries|
|UAE Government||Ministry of Health and Family Welfare|
The UAE’s economic, political and cultural links with India, which date back to more than a century ago, are matured and multi-dimensional. Bilateral trade has been steadily growing over the years and people-to-people contacts are constantly on the increase. Tourists from both sides are visiting for leisure and pleasure, and more and more UAE nationals are availing of healthcare and tourism facilities in India.
Close bonds between the Indian community and the nationals can be judged from the fact that the Indian community is the largest expatriate community in the UAE, numbering about 1.5 million. Strong bonds of friendship between the UAE and India are poised to be further diversified and strengthened in months and years to come.
Relations between the UAE and India are strong and based on cultural contacts between the peoples of the two countries. What are the historical ties that bind the two nations and what are the new strategies for strengthening their cultural and traditional bonds?
India-UAE relations are on the upswing. The two countries share bonds of cultural affinity and have strong commercial and cultural linkages. Our expanding ties cover the full range of economic, technical, social and cultural fields that are mutually beneficial for both peoples.
A momentum to the growing relationship of India with the Gulf countries, especially the UAE, was provided by the visit of Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to India in June. During the visit, both sides had fruitful and substantial discussions on a wide range of subjects, including bilateral relations, regional situation, security, defence and renewable energy. From the Indian side, the then Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee and Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath had visited UAE in May and April 2008, respectively.
Our relations are not determined by trade and economic aspects alone. Indians were present in the UAE long before oil was discovered and have played a vital role in the development of the country. They have been active partners with their Emirati hosts. UAE leaders have on several occasions acknowledged the contributions made by Indians in different spheres.
What are the developments in the fields of business and commerce between the two countries?
India and the UAE are making robust efforts to renew and strengthen the bilateral economic and trade relations. The relationship between the two countries has evolved into a significant partnership in the economic and commercial sphere, with UAE emerging as the second largest market globally for Indian products. At the same time, Indians have emerged as important investors in the UAE, and India as an important export destination for the UAE manufactured goods.
How was the two-way trade between the two countries last year? India-UAE non-oil trade valued at $29,023.68 in 2007-2008. The two-way trade for 2007-2008 showed a 40 per cent growth over the previous year. The main items of exports from India included mineral fuels, natural or cultured pearls, cereals, gems and jewellery, manmade yarn, fabrics, metals, cotton yarn, marine products, machinery and equipment, plastic and linoleum products, tea and meat and preparations. Major items of imports from UAE include mineral fuels, mineral oils, natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, metal ores & metal scrap, sulphur and unroasted iron pyrites, electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof, iron and steel etc.
A large portion of India’s exports to the UAE is transshipped from Dubai to other countries in the region such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and, of late, even to East African countries. Thus, exports to the UAE have, in effect, opened up a huge regional market for Indian products.
Is there any scope for further growth in bilateral trade and mutual investments between the two countries?
The sharp increase in our bilateral trade, especially in the non-oil sector, is a reflection of the growth and depth of the two economies. Indian and UAE companies are actively involved in pursuing investments and projects in both countries. These joint venture initiatives involve some of the most important companies from India such as Tata, Reliance, Wipro, NTPC, Larsen & Toubro, Dodsals and Punj Lloyd. From the Emirati side, the top companies active in India are Emaar, Nakheel, DP World, etc. In October last year, an MoU between UAE University and India’s Atul Limited was signed for strategic partnership for transfer of technology to set up a state-of-the-art date palm tissue culture production unit in Rajasthan.
What is the estimated number of Indian people and businesses in UAE?
It is estimated that about 1.5 million Indians live in UAE. Not many have left the country in the recent past. The global crisis has merely served to strengthen the shift away from purely speculative activity without having a significant adverse impact on the principal energy, infrastructure and real estate projects being pursued in the country, particularly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as finance is available readily for such national development-related projects. Hence, the current economic crisis is unlikely to have any significant impact on the recruitment of Indians.
What is the state of tourism between the two countries?
Tourism sector is one of the areas that has good potential for future growth, especially medical tourism. Emiratis going to India are already utilising Indian health services, including the ayurvedic establishments and spas. Another area with considerable scope for cooperation in tourism is construction and maintenance of hotels. There is good scope for UAE to invest in the over-all tourism sector in India, which would help pull tourists visiting the UAE to India as well.
Will there be a new, more dynamic, phase in UAE-India relations in future?
Reflecting the global realities, ties between India and the UAE are acquiring a new dimension. The two countries have established strong partnerships in the field of commerce and trade. This partnership is expanding, diversifying and emerging into a strategic partnership with emphasis on cooperation in defence, energy, etc. UAE as a neighbour will be given priority attention in upgrading our ties.
Both countries can cooperate with each other bilaterally and regionally in defence and security issues and become partners in the global fight against terrorism and extremism.
Since UAE is focusing on knowledge based industries and with India emerging as world leaders in space, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and bio-technology, there is considerable scope for cooperation in technology transfer, R&D and for joint ventures. Defence cooperation reached a new high with the first ever India-UAE air exercise and the second India-UAE Joint Defence Cooperation Committee meeting. India got firm support of the UAE side on the issue of terrorism, specially on the Mumbai terror attacks of November last year.
Trading links between India and UAE have existed since long. Growing Indo-UAE economic and commercial relations contribute valuable stability and strength to bilateral relationship between the two countries. The UAE enjoys a broad and comprehensive economic relationship with the India, based on mutual interests.
The current bilateral trade volume tells that this is exciting time in the history of UAE-India economic relations. According to government of India figures UAE is India’s top trading partner for the financial year 2008-09, simultaneously The UAE government figures shows India as their top trading partner in 2008.
According to government of India figures, the bilateral trade between India – UAE for the financial year April 2008 – March 2009 was US$ 44.53 billion compared to US$ 29.11 billion during the same period in April 2007– March 2008, an increase by 52.95 %. According to UAE government figures, in 2008 the UAE – India bilateral trade rose 48 per cent from 2007 to reach around USD 32 billion, accounting for 15 per cent of the Emirates’ total foreign trade.
Indian exports to UAE mainly include gems and jewelry, vegetables, fruit, spices, engineering goods, tea, meat and its preparations, rice, textiles and apparel and chemicals. Indian imports from UAE mainly include crude & petroleum products, gold & silver, pearls, precious and semiprecious stones, metal ores & metal scrap, electronics goods and transport equipment.
UAE investment in India is also witnessed a significant growth in recent years. UAE has invested over USD 5 billion in India through FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) and FII (Foreign Institutional Investors) routes which makes UAE is one of the top investor in India. The major UAE companies invested in India are DP world, Emaar Group, Al Nakheel, ETA Star Group, SS Lootah Group, Emirates Techno Casting FZE, RAK Investment Authority, Damas Jewellery and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
India is also a third largest investor in UAE. Indian companies like L&T, Punj Lloyd, Hinduja Group, Pioneer Cement, Oberoi Group of Hotels, have bagged projects in the UAE. Following the emergence of UAE as a major re-export centre, Indian companies have emerged as important investors in the free trade zones such as Jebel Ali FTZ, Sharjah Airport, Hamariya Free Zones and Abu Dhbai Industrial City.
The notable reason of strong Indo-UAE economic ties is huge expatriate Indian population in UAE. Almost 2 million Indian expatriates currently live and work in the UAE, comprising more than 30 per cent of the national population and constituting the Emirates’ largest expatriate group. The expatriate community also contributes to Indian economy. The total remittances to India from the UAE in 2008-09 were about USD 10 -12 billion, which is around one third of all the total remittances from the GCC countries to India which is around USD 32-25 billion.
There are over 475 flights per week between various destinations in India and UAE, shared by Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia, Kingfisher, Jet Airways, Air India and Air India Express. Out of this three UAE national airlines (Emirates, Etihad and Air Arabia) operate about 304 flights per week which represents approximately 64% of total flights operated in this sector.
India and the United Arab Emirates also have an Air Services Agreement (ASA). The Agreement allows both the countries to designate any number of airlines for the operation of mutually agreed services for which the respective country shall grant appropriate authorization and permission.
Strengthen cooperation between UAE’s increasingly sophisticated educational institutions and India’s universities and higher research institutions. Promote scientific collaboration, including in the areas of renewable energy, sustainable development, arid agriculture, desert ecology, urban development and advanced healthcare.
His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, the founder of the United Arab Emirates, was born in 1918 in Abu Dhabi. He was the youngest of the four sons of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed, who ruled Abu Dhabi from 1922 – 1926. Sheikh Zayed moved with his family from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain, where he received his religious education and learned the principles of Islam and studied the Holy Qur’an. Sheikh Zayed was fond of falconry and enjoyed hunting and other traditional sports like camel and horse racing.
In 1946, Sheikh Zayed was appointed a ruler to the Eastern area of Abu Dhabi (Al Ain) and during those 20 years he spent as a ruler of Al Ain, he spared no efforts developing and modernizing the villages of the area.
In 1966, Sheikh Zayed became the Ruler of Abu Dhabi and while working on developing the emirate, building schools, hospitals and roads, his political sense and his futuristic vision turned his attention to forming a unity with the neighboring emirates of the Arabian Gulf. He was the first to call for the formation of the United Arab Emirates immediately after Britain announced it would withdraw from the region. On December 2 nd , 1971, Sheikh Zayed and the rulers of the six neighboring emirates formally announced the United Arab Emirates and Sheikh Zayed’s dream came true.
Since its establishment, Sheikh Zayed worked with his brothers, the rulers of the emirates, on modernizing the country and turning it into one of the most prosperous nations in the region. He wisely managed the country’s oil revenues to raise the standard of living of the citizens and residents of the UAE and provide them with a better quality of life. Sheikh Zayed’s political wisdom and rational views were felt inside and outside the country. He received unprecedented regional and international recognition and respect.
Sheikh Zayed passed away on November 2 nd 2004, but he remains alive in the world’s memory of great leaders and in the hearts and minds of his people for generations to come.
The United Arab Emirates is an independent federal state, which was established in 1971. The concerted efforts of its government are made for the sake of enhancing the UAE prosperity and progress in all areas and to provide the best life for all UAE citizens.
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan was elected as the president of the United Arab Emirates on the 3rd of November, 2004 after the passing of his late father H.H Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was the first president of the UAE.
Head the supreme council and manage its discussions.
Call upon the supreme council for meetings and adjourn them as per the procedural rules approved by the council in its internal decree . The council must be called upon to have a meeting whenever it is requested by any of its members.
Call for a joint meeting with the supreme council and federal cabinet whenever necessary .
Sign and issue federal laws, decrees, and decisions endorsed by the supreme council.
Appoint the prime minister, accept his resignation, and let him resign from his position with the approval of the supreme council, appoint the deputy prime minister and the ministers, accept their resignation and ask them to resign from their positions upon the suggestion of the prime minister.
Appoint the diplomatic representatives for the federation in the foreign countries and other senior federal civil, and military staff except for the president and the judges of the supreme federal court, accept their resignations and ask them to resign upon the approval of the cabinet. Such appointment, acceptance of resignation or dismissal shall be carried out According to decrees and in compliance with federal laws.
Signing of letters of credence of diplomatic representatives of the Union to foreign states and organizations and accepting the credentials of diplomatic and consular representatives of foreign states to the Union and receiving their letters of credence. He shall similarly sign documents of appointment and credence of representatives.
Supervise the execution of federal laws, decrees and decisions through the federal cabinet and competent ministers.
Represent the federation inside the country and abroad and in all international relations.
Exercise the right of amnesty or reduction of penalty and approve the capital sentences in accordance with provisions of the constitution and federal laws.
Conferring decorations and medals of honor, both civil and military, in accordance with the laws relating to such decorations and medals.
Any other power vested in him by the Supreme Council or vested in him in conformity with this Constitution or the federal laws.
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the second president of the United Arab Emirates, whose establishment was declared on the 2 nd of December, 1971. He is the sixteenth ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which is the largest one of the seven emirates constituting the federation.
His Highness assumed the federal constitutional authority as a president of the UAE and became a ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi on the 3 rd of November of 2004, succeeding his late father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan who passed away on the 2 nd of November of 2004.
His Highness was born in 1948 in the eastern region of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and received his primary education in the city of Al Ain, which is the administrative hub for the region. He is the biggest son of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his mother is Her Highness Sheikha Hissa Bint Mohammed Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
His Highness kinship belongs to the tribe of Bani Yas, which is considered to be the mother tribe for the most of Arab tribes that settled in what is known nowadays to be the United Arab Emirates. This tribe led an alliance from the Arab tribes, which is historically known as “Bani Yas Alliance”.
His Highness followed suit his late father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan throughout all the stages of his entire life. The first post he served was “ruler representative in the eastern region, and chief of courts there” on the 18 th of September, 1966. This position was of a great significance in his life. While His Highness was staying in city of Al Ain, he was given a great opportunity to contact with UAE national citizens on daily basis, be fully aware of their conditions and identify their aspirations and hopes.
His Highness was appointed as crown prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi on the 1 st of February, 1969 and head of defense department. Due to this position, he assumed leadership of defense force in the emirate and played a key role in its development and turning it from a small security guard force into a multifunction force that is equipped with modern equipment.
On the 1 st of May, 1971, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa held the position of “president of the first local cabinet for the emirate of Abu Dhabi” and assumed portfolios of defense and finance at this cabinet.
Following the declaration of the federal state, His Highness occupied in addition to his local responsibilities the post of “vice president of the cabinet of the federal government, which was formed in December of 1973.
In February of 1974, and following the annulment of the local cabinet, His Highness became the first president of the executive council that replaced the cabinet of the emirate including all its responsibilities .
During the tenure of his presidency of the executive council, His Highness supervised and followed up development projects witnessed across all parts of the emirate of Abu Dhabi . Moreover, His Highness has given a great attention to the development and modernization of the infrastructure projects as well as facilities of the various services. He has also strived to build a modern administrative apparatus, and fully integrated legislative regulations, as this is the solid foundation for the social and economic development process.
In addition to his responsibilities as president of the executive council, His Highness was in charge of establishment and presidency of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in 1976. This authority supervises management of financial investments of the emirate as part of a strategic vision for the development of the financial resources and conservation of a stable source of income for the generations to come.
One of the major development initiatives of profound social impact made by His Highness is establishment of social services and commercial buildings department, which is commonly known as “Sheikh Khalifa Committee”. Activities of the department helped in achieving prosperity of construction development in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
His Highness also assumed the post of deputy supreme commander of UAE Armed Forces of federal government, where he has given special attention and increasing interest in the armed forces. During that period, a great leap occurred on the level of supply, training and ability to absorb modern technologies and advanced techniques that His Highness strived to provide to all sectors of such forces.
A significant contribution is made by His Highness in the area of formulating a military creed, which is based on constants of the supreme policy of the state. This supreme policy is based on adoption of moderate approach, non-intervention of others affairs and respect of mutual interests as well. In light of these constants, His Highness saved no effort in drafting a defense policy that maintains independence, sovereignty and interest of the state. This policy has contributed to placing the UAE Armed Forces in an advanced position that gained the respect of the entire world.
After His Highness assumed office, the first strategic plan for the government of the UAE was launched under his reign. In addition, His Highness also launched an initiative for developing legislative authority experience in order to modify the technique of selecting members of the federal national council in such a manner that would combine election and appointment as a first step. By so doing, this would provide by the end of the day the opportunity to select members of the council via direct elections.
His Highness is interested in sports activities carried out in the UAE, especially football. He strives to sponsor them and honor the local sports teams that attain local, regional and international achievements and championships.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has assumed his federal constitutional authority as Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE on January 5 th , 2006 after being elected by Members of the Federal Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates. Ever since his appointment, the federal government of the UAE has witnessed a remarkable acceleration of the rate of achievement as well as a huge growth in the number of local and international government initiatives in light of His Highness’s focus on investing federal resources more efficiently and effectively.
Moreover, His Highness has launched the first Federal Government Strategy in the UAE on April 17 th , 2007, which aims primarily at achieving sustainable and balanced development of the nation, while monitoring the performance of federal government entities and ensuring accountability in a transparent manner for the good of the nation and its citizens.
The UAE Vice President performs all responsibilities of the UAE president in the latter’s absence for any reason.
On January 4th, 2006, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum became the Ruler of Dubai following the death of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Since becoming the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, groundbreaking initiatives have been rolled out at an astonishing rate.
The year 2007 witnessed unique achievements for Sheikh Mohammed both locally and regionally. On April 17th, 2007, Sheikh Mohammed unveiled the UAE Government Strategy Plan with the aim of achieving sustainable development throughout the country, investing federal resources more efficiently and ensuring due diligence, accountability and transparency across federal bodies.
The foundation’s aim is to promote human development by investing in education and the development of knowledge in the region by cultivating future leaders in both the private and public sectors, promoting scientific research, spreading knowledge, encouraging business leadership, empowering youth, renewing the concept of culture, preserving heritage and promoting platforms of understanding among various cultures.