United Arab Emirates (UAE) also known as Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah comprises seven emirates, namely Dubai, Sharja, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Umm al Qaywayn, Fajayrah, Ras al Khaymah. The citizens of the UAE refer to it as Emirati(s). It is located on the Arabian Peninsula between Saudi Arabia and Oman neighboring the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. The UAE borders Oman to the East and North by 410 kilometers and Saudi Arabia to the South and West by 457 kilometers (Al Abed and Hellyer 10-25). However, there exists a disputed area which is in between the border of the UAE and Iran. This is evident due to the three islands which Iran unilaterally took full control without any consultations or agreements. The three islands are the Greater and Lesser Tunbs and the island of Abu Musa.
The UAE has a number of major cities. These include: Al Ayn, which is the capital of the Eastern section, Madinat Zayid, the capital of the Western section (both are located in the Abu Dhabi Emirate, which is the biggest and heavily populated emirate), and Dubai City situated in the Dubai Emirate (which is the second largest emirate). Khawr Fakkan and Sharjah City are the main cities of Sharja (which is the third largest emirate). However, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates is Abu Dhabi. The map below indicates the borders of UAE together with individual emirates and their corresponding capital cities. Moreover, it indicates the disputed region, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman (Historical Atlas of UAE).
The United Arab Emirates has been under the British rule since 1820 to 1971 when it attained its independence. In 1968 the UK proclaimed its decision, and later reaffirmed in the March, 1971, to finally end the treaty connections with the seven Trucial Coast states. Moreover, the decision was to withdraw British military forces from the region. On December 1, 1971, the UK ended all obtainable treaties with the Trucial Coast states, and the state of independence was affirmed the following day, December 2, 1971. In the same year, the UAE espoused an interim constitution that was projected to expire after five years. However, it was actually renewed in anticipation of the implementation of a permanent constitution in 1996. The government of UAE was further centralized in 1976, when the federal government managed power over intelligence services, defense, immigration, border control and public security (Al Abed and Hellyer 69).
The United Arab Emirates is one of the world’s highly developing countries. For a country to be considered developing there is a number of major aspects that are to be considered. These include: healthcare, the state of economy, education and literacy levels, political status and other minor aspects. Study shows that the standards of health care are generally elevated in the UAE (King 13-39). This is as a result of improved government expenditure throughout the sturdy economic years. According to the United Arab Emirates government, overall expenditures on health care from the year 1996 to 2003 were 436 million US Dollars (“UNDP”). This clearly shows the effort that the UAE government has put on the health of the citizens. In terms of education and literacy levels, the country is one of the leading literate nations all over the world. Records from the UAE government indicate that the overall literacy level is 91 percent. The UAE government has set an objective to achieve full literacy before 2015. Study indicates that the UAE presently devotes roughly 25% of the total central government expenditure to education. Education in public schools is free for both male and female children through to the university level (King 13-39).
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From the time oil was first discovered and exported in the UAE, the region has been transformed from an area of low economic levels (fishing and small scale agriculture) to a contemporary state with an elevated per capita income and extensive trade surplus. Research shows that the largest and wealthiest emirate among the seven is Abu Dhabi. It is the major petroleum manufacturer and financier of the confederation. On the other hand, Dubai, which is the second largest emirate, prospers on assets resulting from a service-based economy. The major sectors involved in this case are, tourism, media, real estate, construction, telecommunications and fiscal/banking services. It is estimated that the two emirates give more than 80% of the UAE’s per capita income (“UNDP”).
The United Arab Emirates economy remains profoundly reliant on oil and natural gas. The two are considered as some of the main assets of the region. It should also be noted that tourism also runs the economy of the region especially in Dubai. Moreover, according to the UAE government records, Dubai’s tourism revenue surpasses its oil revenue by far. The revenue received from oil exports particularly allows the government to fund infrastructure for the non-oil (oil independent) economy. The non-oil sector is mainly run by investment in manufacturing and energy-intensive segments. These include petrochemicals and metals which will drive the oil independent sector through aids by exports made more viable by the unsteadiness of the U.S. dollar. Despite prominence in the economy (oil and tourism), UAE faces a number of major challenges, if not problems. First of all, the lower class is poverty stricken and most of the middle aged citizens are jobless. The state of insecurity and unrest in the region has majorly contributed to such situation. UAE was involved in the civil war between Iran and Iraq and has been affected by the same (Johnson 87). The tense situation initiated by Iran’s Nuclear Program in the region has caused a state of insecurity leading to high poverty levels.
China is one of the world’s superpowers (“UN Praise for UAE focus on Human Development”). In comparison, UAE is still far down below the standards of China. Economically, China has risen rapidly to become one of the highly developed countries all over the world. This is in terms of both technology and economy at large. Even though oil is a major asset, UAE cannot beat China’s industrial economy. As it has been noted above, the economy is usually rated considering a number of aspects. Thus, for instance, the UAE has high literacy levels compared to China. Furthermore, life expectancy in the UAE exceeds that of China by a good percentage. However, with all these advantages, UAE cannot still beat China’s economy ((“UN Praise for UAE focus on Human Development”). The figures below clearly demonstrate it all.