In the year 2008, UAE economy realized a growth of 7.4% and a GDP at current prices of Dh 929.4 billion the same year compared to 5.5% growth and GDP of Dh 729.7 billion according to preliminary data from the Central Statistics Department of the Ministry of Economy. The growth was attributed to higher prices in oil and rise in the GDP for the non-oil from Dh 467.9 billion in 2007 to Dh 577.5 billion in 2008 (UAE GDP grew by 7.4% in 2008, 2009).
The population growth for UAE was estimated to be 4.0% for 2007. The country has people from various ethnic groups including Filipino, Iranian, Jordanian, Egyptian and the rest. Persian, English, Urdu and Hindi are the spoken languages with Arabic being the official language. The population enjoys high standards of social services like education and health, thanks to the oil revenues. Inward massive migration as well as high natural rates of increase among the indigenous populations has been cited for the increase in population in UAE since the discovery and export of oil. Social and political unrest has been minimal probably due to this scenario (Shibab, n.d.).
The labor force constitutes of indigenous and foreign according to the author. The culture of the UAE which is enriched Islamic heritage and tradition has been attracting tourism in the region. The culture of the UAE citizens has evolved from their belief in Muslim religion and cuts across the dressing code, behavior, and manners on a strict guideline. The culture is of traditional Arab as well as the Islamic and Bedouin cultures. Apart from the Islamic influence, there is presence of European centers, restaurants and schools and Asian-influenced schools; indicating presence of cosmopolitan atmosphere (UAE Culture, n.d.).
The region depended on fishing, seafaring, pearl trade, nomadic animal husbandry and subsistence agriculture before oil discovery and export. The diversification of the Economy in the Middle East has been helped by the growing domestic population and good relationship of the UAE with Asian communities. UAE mainly depends on oil revenues, with Abu Dhabi the capital contributing 80% of the UAE income. Multinational corporations have also been indicated to favor UAE because of the non-oil finance and service sectors in Dubai. The non-oil sector has indicated potential for growth realizing 18.6% growth in 2006.
The tourist, financial and trading activities are mostly based in Dubai while Abu Dhabi is the main producer of hydrocarbon and industrial power (United Arab Emirates Energy Data, Statistics and Analysis-Oil, Gas, Electricity, Coal, 2007). The federation is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and therefore participates in economic activities including development of common policies for trade and commerce (U.S. Department of State, 2009).
The complex has steel fabrication, aluminum smelter and desalination units, free trade zones and deep water port. At least a 51% owner in all business by the local citizens in the UAE except the free trade zone is a requirement for the businesses to help Emiratis be in leadership positions. UAE has a number of factors that could help spur its economic growth which includes availability of cheap energy, readily available financial capital and the abundance of natural mineral resources while limited domestic market and raw materials may hamper industrial development (Shibab, n.d.).
Most of the citizens in the UAE are Sunni Muslims and a minority is Shi’a. There are Hindus, Christians and Muslims also in the population, either locals and/or foreigners. UAE is formed of 7 Trucial States (as formerly known) as a federation. The political system in the UAE is a federal system and the Federal National Council (FNC) performs the role of giving advice and making recommendations. The examination and the amendment of the federal legislation is in the hands of the FNC as provided in the federal constitution but the FNC lacks the real power to legislate. The election of the 40 FNC members is left to the members of the AUE.
Political liberalization in the United Arab Emirates was hampered by the continuing stability in the country. The continuation of economic stability was not likely to influence those ruled and the rulers to initiate or demand any liberalization. Political wealth gain for the wealthy ruling families and its delivery of prosperity for the people was not likely to cause a need for change of the current federal system (APS Diplomat Fate of the Arabian Peninsula, 2000). The federation has no political parties and this probably may deter political liberalization in the region.
Changes were introduced so that the members in the FNC and the UAE parliament could be indirectly elected rather than appointed by rulers. Each of the states has their own local government. Majlis (majalis) is an open council which has maintained relevance, held by rulers, where the people could raise issues of personal interests or broader concerns. The traditional government ensures building of consensus, discussion and direct democracy (UAE Interact, n.d.).
APS Diplomat Fate of the Arabian Peninsula. (2000). UAE – Political Liberalisation. Web.
Shihab Mohamed. Economic Development in the UAE. Web.
UAE Culture. Web.
UAE GDP grew by 7.4% in 2008. (2009). Web.
UAE Interact. Government-Political System. Web.
United Arab Emirates Energy Data, Statistics and Analysis-Oil, Gas, Electricity, Coal. (2007). Web.
U.S. Department of State. United Arab Emirates. Web.