The United Arab Emirates, located on the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, showing strength in areas such as oil, construction, commerce and tourism.
This economic success has led to vast improvements in life expectancy, health and education for the UAE's citizens and it has led to substantial declines in the rate of infant and child mortality.
The UAE ranked 39th among 177 countries on the United Nations' latest human development index, which is based on life expectancy, education and standard of living. The UAE ranked 27th in the world in gross domestic product per capita.
Established in 1971, the country is a constitutional federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah.
It has a population of about 4.5 million, with most of the people living in or near the cities of Abu Dhabi or Dubai. The country's population has doubled during the past 15 years, primarily because of people moving to the UAE from around the world.
The UAE is about 32,000 square miles, or 84,000 square kilometers -- about the size of Maine. Most of the area outside Abu Dhabi and Dubai is desert, but there is a varied landscape of dunes, oases, rocky mountains and fertile plains.
Much of the country's wealth comes from oil and gas revenues, but in recognition of the emerging global energy crisis, the country's leadership is taking steps to diversify the economy and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
|Last updated December 30, 2008|