The United Arab Emirates (UAE), located in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, is bordered by the Persian Gulf to the north, Oman to the east, and Saudi Arabia to the south and west. It is a constitutional federation of seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Qaiwain, Ras Al-Khaimah, and Fujairah. The federation was formally established on 2 December 1971, and the capital is Abu Dhabi. Arabic is the official language of the United Arab Emirates, with English widely spoken and used in business.
The currency is the Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). There are AED 4.52 = £1.00 or AED 3.67 = $US1.00. UAE time is 4 hours ahead of GMT.
Federation of seven autonomous emirates. The highest federal authority is the Supreme Council of Rulers comprising the absolute rulers of the seven emirates. Decisions reached by the council must have the agreement of at least five members, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the two largest members. The council appoints a president to act as head of state. There are no political parties.
The Emirates are bordered to the north by the Gulf and the Musandam Peninsula, to the east by Oman, to the south and west by Saudi Arabia and to the northwest by Qatar. They comprise a federation of seven small former sheikhdoms. Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate, and the remainder (Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaiwain) are known collectively as the Northern States. The land is mountainous and mostly desert.
Abu Dhabi is flat and sandy, and within its boundaries is the Buraimi Oasis. Dubai has a 16km (10-mile) deep-water creek, giving it the popular name of ‘Pearl of the Gulf'. Sharjah has a deep-water port on the Batinah coast at Khor Fakkan, facing the Indian Ocean. Ras al-Khaimah is the fourth emirate in size. Fujairah, one of the three smaller sheikhdoms on the Batinah coast, has agricultural potential, while Ajman and Umm al-Qaiwain were once small coastal fishing villages.
The United Arab Emirates has a well-established infrastructure, stable political system, and one of the most liberal trade regimes in the Gulf region. It continues to be increasingly important, relevant, and attractive to businesses from around the world as a place to do business and as a hub for the region and beyond. The United Arab Emirates is also one of the best examples in the region of an economy that has successfully moved away from reliance on the energy sector. A significant proportion of the gross domestic product (GDP) is being derived from non-oil revenues.