United Arab Emirates

The UAE Armed Forces have grown significantly over the years and currently are equipped with some of the most modern and sophisticated weapon systems. In order to achieve this, the UAE has allocated significant amounts of funds in the directions of defence and security in recent years. According to a report published by Center for Strategic Studies and International Studies (CSIS), UAE’s defence expenditure in 2017 was estimated to reach 30 billion US dollars according to IISS and 19,76 billion dollars according to Jane's. 


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) are located in the Middle East. They declared their independence and were established on 2 December 1971, immediately following the British withdrawal from its British-Trucial Sheikhdoms treaty obligations.

The country shares land borders to the east and southeast with Oman, to the south with Saudi Arabia and Iran across the Persian Gulf, while it has a coastline extending on both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Six emirates, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah,  Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain joined the UAE in 1971, the seventh, Ras Al Khaimah, joined the federation on 10 February 1972.

Six of the seven emirates lie on the coast of the Persian Gulf, while the seventh, Fujayrah, is situated on the eastern coast of the peninsula and has direct access to the Gulf of Oman.
Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second most populous city and the capital of the Abu Dhabi emirate, the largest of the UAE's seven member emirates. The most populous city of the UAE is Dubai.

The total surface area of the country is 83,600 km² of which 77,700 km² is the mainland surface area, where the population lives and has 1,318 kilometers of coastline on the Persian Gulf. The total area of the islands is about 5,900 km2 

According to the official government data the total population of the UAE in 2017 was 9,304,277 (Males: 6,415,942 Females: 2,888,335), increased by 2% compared to 2016 and it had 111 inhabitants per km² 

According to the data from World Population review for the year 2019 the estimated population was 9,805,736 of which only 10% are UAE nationals (approximately 1 million people) and the remainder is made up of expatriates. 

The largest group of non-UAE nationals are from South Asia (58%), followed by other Asians (17%) and Western expatriates (8.5%). As of 2015, the official government statistical estimates stand at Emirati nationals make up approximately 11.6% of the total population of the country, South Asian make up 59.4% (Indian 38.2%, Bangladeshi 9.5%, Pakistani 9.4%, other 2.3%), Egyptian 10.2%, Philippine 6.1%, and from other origin at 12.8%. 

The UAE has a constitution, which explains the main roles of the federal political and economic organisations and it also demonstrates the main purposes and objectives of the federation. 
The UAE’s Federal Authorities are the following:
•    Federal Supreme Council
•    President and Vice President
•    The Cabinet
•    Federal National Council
•    Federal Judicial Authority

UAE occupies a critical strategic position on the Persian Gulf and together with Iran and Oman controls the straits of Hormuz, an important sea corridor that connects the Persian Gulf with the Arabian Sea. Through the straits, oil and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) from Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates is transported to the rest of the world.

Like many countries in the Middle East, the UAE is dependent on the oil and gas sector. Oil transformed the country from being a region of small desert principalities, to a modern state with a significant economic status. 
The UAE's Federal budget increased from United Arab Emirates Dirhams (AED) 200 million (54.4 million US Dollars) in 1972 to AED 60.3 billion (16.42 billion US Dollars) in 2019 increased by 301.5% compared to 1972 and the most important of all without a deficit.  

Federal budget expenses and allocations are distributed to the six following sectors: 
•    Social development, 
•    social benefits, 
•    infrastructure and economic resources, 
•    government affairs, 
•    financial assets and investments, and 
•    other federal expenses. 

Furthermore, it is worth noting that every year large portion of the Federal Budget is allocated to ameliorate Emirati nationals’ standards of welfare.   

The 2016 annual UAE Federal Budget, dedicated 49.1% of the total AED 48.57 billion budget to sectors affecting the lives of UAE citizens, such as social development (41% of the Budget), education (13.44% of the Budget) and health (8% of the Budget), while the 2017 annual UAE Federal Budget dedicated, 51.7% of the total AED 48.7 billion budget to social development (26.7%), education (20.5%) and health (8.6%). 

The last two years the UAE Federal Government kept spending a lot of money for the financing of the sectors that affect the lives of the UAE citizens. 
The 2018 annual UAE Federal Budget, dedicated 47.6% of the total AED 51.4 billion budget to social development (18.5% of the Budget), education (20.4% of the Budget) and health (8.7% of the Budget). 

Finally the 2019 annual UAE Federal Budget, dedicated 42.2% of the total AED 60.3 billion budget to social development (21.55% of the Budget), education (16.81% of the Budget) and health (8.64% of the Budget). 

The amelioration of the economic situation of the UAE in recent times, has also lead to the improvement of the welfare of its citizens. It is indicative that the UAE’s Human Development Index value for 2017 was 0.863 while in 2016 it was 0.862, ranking the country as 34st among 189 countries considered. Specifically, the country’s HDI value increased from 0.727 in 1990, to 0.863 in 2017. 

Furthermore the life expectancy at birth of the population was improved since the beginning of the 90’s. According to the UNDP in 1990 the life expectancy at birth of the population of the UAE was 71.5 years and in 2017 it was 77.4 years marking an increase by 8.2%.    

According to the Oil and Gas Journal as of January 2017 the UAE holds the world’s seventh-largest proven crude oil reserves about 97.8 billion barrels and approximately 29.5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is directly based on Extractive Industries, including Crude Oil and Natural Gas.

However, the country’s authorities continue pursuing the diversification of the national economy away from oil & gas production, something that is reaffirmed in the nation’s “2021 Vision”, a roadmap for the country's socioeconomic goals, up to 2021. 
In order to achieve these goals, federal and individual Emirate authorities have invested heavily in sectors such as tourism, aviation, telecommunications, renewable energy and space. 

This effort is also reflected in the country’s annual national budgets, in which a fair amount of funds are allocated to a number of ambitious strategic projects, such as the Etihad Rail project, the UAE Space Program, the World Expo 2020 (with AED 30 billion budget being spent on infrastructure at the Expo site and the city), major infrastructure developments across the country (with AED 6 billion budget), the Sheikh Khalifa Initiative in the Northern Emirates which included the construction of ports, houses, hospital, highways, intersections and tunnels so that the inhabitants of these Emirates enjoy the same facilities as those living in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Notably, the UAE is a member of several prestigious international organizations, such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Banque Arabe pour le Développement Economique en Afrique (BADEA), the League of Arab States (LAS), the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).