How many states does the UAE have

United Arab Emirates


The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), a federal federation of seven sheikdoms, is located in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula. With an area of ​​around 82 880 km², the V.A.E. about as big as Austria. In the north the country borders over a length of about 600 km on the Persian Gulf, in the east on the Ruus Al Jibal peninsula on Oman, in the south and west on Saudi Arabia.

Over two thirds of the country's area is taken up by the foothills of the Great Arabian Desert (Ar Rub al Khali), which is mainly located in Saudi Arabia. The desert threatens to expand towards the north due to shifting dunes, and attempts are made to prevent this through large-scale planting. Between the desert and the coast there is an approximately 15 km wide salt marsh plain with salt clay pans. The coast of the Persian Gulf has numerous islands, coral reefs and sandbanks in front of it, making the water extremely difficult to navigate.

In the northeast, the U.A.E. Share in the Ruus Al Jibal peninsula, a headland between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The Strait of Hormuz lies in front of its northern end (which is on the territory of Oman). The eastern part of the peninsula is occupied by the foothills of the Omangebirge, here is the highest elevation of the UAE, the Jabal Yibir at 1,527 m.

The capital Abu Dhabi is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf.


The climate in the U.A.E. is characterized by drought and high temperatures. In the summer month of July, an average of 30 ° C is measured in the capital Abu Dhabi, and air temperatures of up to 43 ° C can be reached. In January the average temperature is around 18 ° C. The average rainfall is around 100 mm annually, and the rain often evaporates before it reaches the ground. Most of the precipitation falls in the winter months from December to March.

Flora and fauna

The vegetation in the U.A.E. is extremely sparse. The desert areas are almost devoid of vegetation, and date palms and eucalyptus species can be found in the oases. The original vegetation of the coastal plain had to give way to intensive agricultural use. In order to prevent the advance of the Great Arabian Desert, large-scale plantings were carried out in the foremost dune belt.

The animal world is also poor in species. Only a few animal species that are extremely well adapted to the drought, such as lizards and gerbils, find a suitable habitat here. The abundance of fish in coastal waters has declined sharply due to water pollution.


A good 4 million people live in the U.A.E., with over three quarters of the population being guest workers and not full citizens of the Federation. Most of the foreigners come from Egypt, Yemen, Palestine, India, Iran, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Only around 1% of the country's area is populated, so the degree of urbanization is correspondingly high (approx. 87%). The two largest cities in the U.A.E. are Dubai with almost 1.3 million inhabitants and the capital Abu Dhabi with around 585,000 citizens.

Arabs make up about 87% of the population, about 5 to 10% of them live as nomads. The second largest population group are Pakistanis and Indians with around 9%. 96% of the population are followers of Islam, the majority of them Sunnis, only around 16% are Shiites. Christians and Hindus are religious minorities. Arabic is the official language, English is used as the commercial language, and Persian, Indian and Urdu are also common among the minorities.

Due to the influx of guest workers, population growth is 3.5%, only part of which is due to natural growth. The mean life expectancy is 75 years. Due to the oil wealth of the country and the government support of the population based on it, the standard of living is very high. Social and health services are well developed, but do not include the nomadic Bedouins living in the country. Citizens are entitled to free housing, electricity, water and pension. School attendance is free, and schooling is compulsory for children between the ages of six and twelve. The literacy rate is 78%.

Political system

The United Arab Emirates is a federal federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi (Abu Zaby), Dubai (Dubayy), Sharjah (Ash Shariqah), Ajman (Ajman), Fujairah (Al Fujairah), Umm al-Quaiwan and Ras al-Khaimah . In 1971 the federation proclaimed its independence from Great Britain (Ras al-Khaimah did not join until a year later); The actually provisional constitution, which was established as the final constitution in 1996, also comes from this year.

The head of state is the president (since November 2004 the Emir of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayid Al Nahayan). He is one of the seven sheikhs of the Emirates who sit on the "Supreme Council of Rulers" and elect the president from among their own ranks. The largest and richest emirates, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, have a right of veto in the Supreme Council. Vice-President and Prime Minister is traditionally the Emir of Dubai (since January 2006 Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum). The National Federal Council (Majlis al Ittihad al Watani) has 40 members, half of whom are appointed by the emirs every two years; the second half is chosen by a cross-section of the population selected by the emir. There are no political parties or trade unions in the UAE.

The state religion is Islam. The United Arab Emirates have a dual legal system made up of secular and Islamic law (Sharia).


The United Arab Emirates have around 10% of the world's proven oil reserves. The petroleum sector (crude oil and natural gas) is the most important area of ​​the economy, the export of raw materials and the products made from them account for around 80% of the export volume. In order to make the economy independent of oil revenues in the long term, the V.A.E pursues a course of economic diversification. In recent years, the government has invested in job creation, improved infrastructure, and increasingly allowed private equity.

Just under 3% of the state's area can be used for agriculture. Mainly fruits and vegetables are grown. Livestock farming and fishing contribute to meeting the food needs of the population. The keeping of cattle is still partly practiced today by nomadic Bedouins.

Key sectors in the service sector (42% of gross domestic product, GDP) are logistics, trade, the organization of trade fairs, tourism and financial services.

Industry generates 57% of GDP. The most important are petrochemical and chemical plants. In order to reduce the dependence on the raw material oil, other areas are massively promoted by the political leadership, for example metal production and processing. Aviation is also very important, as it is already responsible for almost a fifth of economic output in the UAE.

The most important export partners are in Asia (Japan, South Korea and Thailand). When it comes to imports of goods (machinery, vehicles, chemicals, food), the USA, China, India and Japan are the main suppliers.

The UAE has a very well developed road network between the major cities. There is no railway network, but the first railway lines are under construction. The country has eight international airports. Important ports are Port Rashid and Jabal Ali.

The currency is the dirham (= 100 fils).