The United Arab Emirates is a constitutional federation of seven emirates; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. In 2009, UAE’s population stood at about 4.8 million of which approximately 21.9% were nationals and the rest were foreigners. UAE currently has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The GDP per capita is currently the 14th in the world and 3rd in the Middle East after Qatar and Kuwait.
The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. The country’s Free Trade Zones – offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes and are helping to attract foreign investors.