The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a small Middle Eastern Arab country made of seven emirates. Dubai is the business centre of the region and is one of the most modern and exciting cities in the Middle East. The city is multi-cultural and only about 10% of the inhabitants are considered indigenous. The remaining 90% come from over 100 countries and this has generated a vibrant fusion of cultures.
However, distinct traditions of each culture remain, which lends character and produces vivid ethnic contrasts. It has an energetic cosmopolitan lifestyle and an entrepreneurial spirit and is the home of many iconic tourist attractions such as the design masterpieces, Burj Al Arab hotel, the wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the twin Emirate Towers and Palm Jumeirah.
In 2000, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum drew up a plan that articulated the initiation of a knowledge-based economy through Dubai’s Vision 2010. This vision was facilitated by the fact that the UAE has one of the most advanced telecommunication infrastructures in the developing world.
Because it is a vital component of the knowledge-based economy, it has to be one of its critical strengths. In 2006 the Internet and mobile penetration rates were 40% and 96%,
respectively, and the PC penetration is 26% and rising. The UAE also ranked 29 th globally for Networked Readiness Index 2006-2007 and the first Arab country to obtain this position according to the World Economic Forum.
The government of Dubai has initiated mega projects to transform the economy into knowledge based economy. These projects include the Dubai Internet City, Dubai Knowledge village,
Dubai Media City and other initiatives such as e-government, e-learning and e-commerce that are targeted at building an information society. The most significant of these projects is Dubai Internet City which provides a Knowledge Economy Ecosystem that is designed to support the business development of ICT companies.
It is the Middle East's biggest IT infrastructure, built inside a free trade zone, and has the largest commercial Internet Protocol telephony system in the world. Dubai Internet City is the Middle East Silicon Oasis and is home to over 1000 multinational and regional ICT companies and employ over 10,000 knowledge workers
Originally a small fishing settlement, Dubai was taken over in about 1830 by a branch of the Bani Yas tribe from the Liwa oasis led by the Maktoum family who still rule the emirate today.
Traditional activities included herding sheep and goats, cultivating dates, fishing and pearling, but the inhabitants built up trade too. By the turn of the century, Dubai was reputed to have the largest souks on the Gulf coast, with 350 shops in the Deira district alone.
Commercial success allied to the liberal attitudes of Dubai's rulers, made the emirate attractive to traders from India and Iran, who began to settle in the growing town. But, while trade developed, Dubai remained politically a protectorate of Britain as part of the Trucial States extending along the northern coast of the Arabian peninsula
On the British withdrawal in 1971, Dubai came together with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah to create the federation of the United Arab Emirates.
This was shortly after the discovery of oil in 1966, which was soon to transform the emirate and its way of life. Dubai's first oil exports in 1969 were followed by a period of rapid development that laid the foundations for today's modern society. Much of the credit for this development can be traced to the vision of the late Ruler, HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who ensured that Dubai's oil revenues, despite being relatively modest by the standards of the region, were deployed to maximum effect.
His work has been continued by the present Ruler, HH Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and his brother, Their Highnesses Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry. The result is that Dubai is constantly building up its infrastructure of transport facilities, schools, hospitals, tourism developments and other amenities of an advanced society.
The UAE has a sub-tropical, arid climate. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular. Falling mainly in winter, it amounts to some 13 centimeters a year.
Temperatures range from a low of about 10 degrees Celsius to a high of 48 degrees Celsius. The mean daily maximum is 24 degrees in January rising to 41 degrees in July.
The official language is Arabic. English is widely understood and ranks alongside Arabic as the language of commerce.
The UAE became a member of the United Nations and the Arab League in 1971. It is a member of the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), World Trade Organisation and other international and Arab organisations, including the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council (AGCC), whose other members are Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.
In its foreign relations, the UAE's stance is one of non-alignment but it is committed to the support of Arab unity.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) comprises seven members: Abu Dhabi (the capital city), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
The total area of the country is about 83,600 square kilometers, much of it in Abu Dhabi emirate. Dubai, with an area of 3,885 square kilometers, is the second largest emirate. Situated on the banks of the Dubai Creek, a natural inlet from the Gulf, which divides the city into the Deira district to its north, and Bur Dubai on its south, the city ranks as the UAE's most important port and commercial centre.
The UAE has 700 kilometers of coastline, of which 100 kilometers are on the Gulf of Oman. Along the Arabian Gulf coast, there are offshore islands, coral reefs and sabkha, or salt marshes. Stretches of gravel plain and sandy desert characterise the inland region.
To the east, a range of mountains lies close to the Gulf of Oman and forms a backbone through the Mussandam Peninsula. The western interior of the country, most of it in Abu Dhabi, consists mainly of desert interspersed with oases.
According to the Ministry of Planning, the population of the U.A.E. expanded from 2,411,041 (census results) in 1995 to 3,488,000 (estimated) in 2001. Dubai's population is approximately 1,029,000 in 2001.
The Supreme Council of the UAE, comprising the hereditary rulers of the seven emirates, is the highest federal authority. It is responsible for general policy matters involving communications, education, defense, foreign affairs and development, and for ratifying federal laws. The President, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who is also Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and the Vice-President, HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum,who is also Ruler of Dubai, are elected by the Supreme Council from among its members.
The Federal Council of Ministers, responsible to the Supreme Council, has executive authority to initiate and implement laws. The Federal National Council is a consultative assembly of 40 representatives who are appointed for two years by the individual emirates. The council monitors and debates government policy but has no power of veto.
While Abu Dhabi is the centre of federal government activities, most ministerial departments also maintain offices in Dubai.
In matters unrelated to diplomacy and defense, each emirate enjoys considerable autonomy in managing its own affairs.
In business, the government of Dubai is committed to liberal, free market policies and to the creation of a business environment conducive to commercial activity.
This approach is well illustrated by the incentives available to investors in the Jebel Ali and Airport Free Zones and by the continuing high level of public sector investment in the infrastructure.
More information on Dubai please visit the official website of Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing