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Emirate of Abu Dhabi

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Title: Emirate of Abu Dhabi  
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Emirate of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi
أبو ظبي
Emirate of Abu Dhabi
Flag of Abu  Dhabi
Location of Abu Dhabi in the UAE, with regions
Location of Abu Dhabi in the UAE, with regions
Country  United Arab Emirates
Emirate  Abu Dhabi
Independence from UK 2 December 1971
Seat Abu Dhabi
 • Type Constitutional monarchy[1]
 • Emir Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
 • Total 67,340 km2 (26,000 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 2,210,700[2]
 • Density 35.7/km2 (92/sq mi)
Time zone UAE standard time (UTC+4)

Abu Dhabi, officially the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (Arabic: إمارة أبو ظبيImārat Abū Ẓaby), is one of seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates (UAE). "Dhabi" is the Arabic name of a particular species of native Arabian gazelle that was once common in the region. Abu Dhabi means the place rich in "Dhabi" (gazelle).[3] It is the capital of the UAE and is the largest emirate by area (67,340 km²), accounting for approximately 87 per cent of the total land area of the UAE. Abu Dhabi also has the largest population of the seven emirates. In June 2011, it was estimated to be 2,120,700 people, of which, 439,100 people (less than 21%) were Emirati citizens.,[2] which has risen to 2.3 million in 2012.[4]

The seat of the President of the United Arab Emirates is located in Abu Dhabi city, which also hosts many oil companies, foreign embassies and the federal cabinet.

Abu Dhabi’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates, in 2011, amounted to AED 806,031 million at current prices. Mining and quarrying (includes crude oil and natural gas) accounts for the largest contribution to GDP (58.5 per cent in 2011). Construction related industries are the next largest contributor (10.1 per cent in 2011).[2] GDP grew to AED 911.6 billion in 2012, or over 100,000 USD per capita.[4]

In recent times, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has continuously contributed around 60 per cent of the GDP of the United Arab Emirates, while its population constitutes only 34 per cent of the total UAE population according to the 2005 census.[5]

In the early 1970s, two important developments helped the Emirate of Abu Dhabi achieve leaps on the path of development. The first was the establishment of the United Arab Emirates in December 1971 with Abu Dhabi as its political and administrative capital. The second was the sharp increase in oil prices following the October 1973 War, which accompanied a change in the relationship between the oil countries and foreign oil companies, leading to a dramatic rise in oil revenues.[5]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Climate 3
  • Demographics 4
  • Economy 5
  • Postage stamps 6
  • Sub-Divisions 7
  • Towns and cities 8
    • Main cities and towns 8.1
  • Transport 9
  • Schools and universities 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13
    • UAE-based newspapers 13.1


The current emir (ruler) of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Parts of Abu Dhabi were settled as far back as the 3rd millennium BC and its early history fits the nomadic herding and fishing pattern typical of the broader region. Modern Abu Dhabi traces its origins to the rise of an important tribal confederation, the Bani Yas, in the late 18th century, which also assumed control of Dubai. In the 19th century the Dubai and Abu Dhabi branches parted ways.

Into the mid-20th century, the economy of Abu Dhabi continued to be sustained mainly by camel herding, production of dates and vegetables at the inland oases of Al-`Ain and Liwa, and fishing and pearl diving off the coast of Abu Dhabi city, which was occupied mainly during the summer months. Most dwellings in Abu Dhabi city were, at this time, constructed of palm fronds (barasti), with the wealthier families occupying mud huts. The growth of the cultured pearl industry in the first half of the twentieth century created hardship for residents of Abu Dhabi as pearls represented the largest export and main source of cash earnings.

In 1939, Sheikh Shakhbut Bin-Sultan Al Nahyan granted petroleum concessions, and oil was first found in 1958. At first, oil money had a marginal impact. A few lowrise concrete buildings were erected, and the first paved road was completed in 1961, but Sheikh Shakbut, uncertain whether the new oil royalties would last, took a cautious approach, preferring to save the revenue rather than investing it in development. His brother, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, saw that oil wealth had the potential to transform Abu Dhabi. The ruling Al Nahyan family decided that Sheikh Zayed should replace his brother as ruler and carry out his vision of developing the country. On August 6, 1966, with the assistance of the British, Sheikh Zayed became the new ruler.[6]

With the announcement by the UK in 1968 that it would withdraw from the Persian Gulf area by 1971, Sheikh Zayed became the main driving force behind the formation of the United Arab Emirates.

After the Emirates gained independence in 1971, oil wealth continued to flow to the area and traditional mud-brick huts were rapidly replaced with banks, boutiques and modern highrises.

At present, Abu Dhabi boasts what is estimated to be the world's highest absolute and per-capita level of sovereign wealth funds, calculated at USD 1,000,000 per a local national inhabitant.


Abu Dhabi is bordered by the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Average temperatures in Abu Dhabi regions.
Growing construction at Abu Dhabi as work cranes are often seen in the downtown areas.
Waterfront park in Abu Dhabi.

The United Arab Emirates is located in the oil-rich and strategic Persian Gulf region. It adjoins the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman.

Abu Dhabi is located in the far west and southwest part of the United Arab Emirates along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf between latitudes 22°40’ and around 25° north and longitudes 51° and around 56° east.[2] The emirate borders the emirate of Dubai and Sharjah to its north.

The total area of the Emirate is 67,340 square kilometres, occupying about 87% of the total area of the UAE, excluding islands. The territorial waters of the Emirate embrace about 200 islands off its 700 kilometres coastline. The topography of the Emirate is dominated by low-lying sandy terrain dotted with sand dunes exceeding 300 metres in height in some areas southwards. The eastern part of the Emirate borders the western fringes of Al-Hajar Mountains. Hafeet Mountain, Abu Dhabi’s highest elevation, rising about 1,300 metres, is located south of Al Ain city.[2]


The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is located in the tropical dry region. The Tropic of Cancer runs through the southern part of the Emirate, giving its climate an arid nature characterised by high temperatures throughout the year, and a very hot summer. The Emirate’s high summer (June to August) temperatures are associated with high relative humidity, especially in coastal areas. Abu Dhabi has warm winters with occasionally low temperatures. The air temperatures show variations between the coastal strip, the desert interior and areas of higher elevation, which together make up the topography of the Emirate.

Abu Dhabi receives scant rainfall but totals vary greatly from year to year. Seasonal northerly winds blow across the country, helping to ameliorate the weather, when they are not laden with dust, in addition to the brief moisture laden south-easterly winds. The winds often vary between southerly, southeasterly, westerly, northerly and north westerly. Another characteristic of the Emirate’s weather is the high rate of evaporation of water due to several factors, namely high temperature, wind speed, and low rainfall.[2]


The extraordinary increase in population in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi during the past half century has made the size, structure and distribution of the population a key concern for future development.

The population of Abu Dhabi reached 1.968 million in mid-2010, with an average annual growth rate of 9.6% since 1960 - among the highest in the world. The total population has increased 99 times in 50 years. The number of citizens increased 39 times and Non-citizens 173 times in the half century from 1960 to 2010. The most important reason behind the increase in the population growth of citizens is the increase in naturalization, while immigration constitutes the main factor in increasing the population overall.[5]

The resident population of the Abu Dhabi Emirate exceeded 2 million people in 2011. In mid-year 2011 the estimated population in Abu Dhabi Region was 1.31 million (61.8%), Al Ain Region 0.58 million (27.6%), and Al Gharbia 0.23 million (10.6%), making the total mid-year population for the Abu Dhabi Emirate 2.12 million.[2]

In Abu Dhabi, fertility is higher than most developed regions of the world, and mortality remains extremely low. In 2011, Crude Birth Rates and Crude Death Rates among Citizens were 15.1 births per 1,000 people and 1.4 deaths per 1,000 people respectively.[2]

Selected demographic indicators 2011 [2]
Total population ( mid-year estimate) 2,120,700
Males 1,499,800
Females 620,900
Age dependency ratio 22.4
Age dependency ratio, old 1.1
Age dependency ratio, young 21.3
Urban population 1,292,800
Rural population 827,900
Percentage of the population residing in rural areas (%) 39.0
Average annual population growth rate (2005- 2011) (%) 7.7
General fertility rate (births per 1000 women aged 15 – 49 years) 80.3
Crude birth rate (per 1000 population) 15.1
Crude death rate (per 1000 population) 1.4
Infant mortality rate (per 1000 live births) 6.3
Under 5 mortality rate (per 1000 live births) 8.5
Life expectancy at birth for females (years) 78.2
Life expectancy at birth for males (years) 77.1
Singulate median age at first marriage for males (years) 27.7
Singulate median age at first marriage for females (years) 26.1


Abu Dhabi GDP estimates in 2011 amounted to AED 806,031 million at current prices, compared with AED 620,316 million at current prices in 2010. This represents an annual growth rate of 29.9 per cent in 2011.

Accordingly, the annual per capita gross domestic product amounted to AED 380.1 thousand in 2011. The total fixed capital formation was AED 199,001 million in 2011, while compensation of employees amounted to AED 124,960 million in the same year.

The main activities contributing to economic growth (GDP at constant prices) in 2011 were “Mining and quarrying” (including crude oil and natural gas), “Financial and insurance” and “Manufacturing” with increases of 9.4 per cent, 10.5 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively.

Commodity imports through the ports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi were valued at AED 116.4 billion in 2011 compared with AED 86.6 billion in 2010. The main imports during 2011 were machinery and base metals, which accounted for 50.7 per cent of the total value of imports. The United States of America was the main country for imports, from which the Emirate received imports worth AED 13.4 billion.

Non-oil exports were valued at AED 11.5 billion, with transport equipment and base metals contributing 61.5 per cent of the total. Canada was the top destination of Abu Dhabi non-oil exports, receiving goods worth AED 2.6 billion from the Emirate in 2011.[2]

Foreign Trade Statistics through the ports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (Million AED)[2]
Item 2005 2009 2010 2011
Total trade 226,339.5 308,699.4 387,275.7* 532,858.0*
Total exports 191,125.2 214,827.2 300,702.1* 416,484.0*
Oil, gas and oil products 184,711.7 196,632.2 278,105.4* 393,439.0*
Non-oil exports 3,186.4 9,500.8 11,610.8 11,478.0
Re-exports 3,227.1 8,694.2 10,985.9 11,567.0
Imports 35,214.3 93,872.2 86,573.7 116,374.0
Net trade in goods 155,910.9 120,955.0 214,128.4* 300,110.0*
* Preliminary estimates
Inflation rates for Abu Dhabi

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi exported 747.2 million barrels of crude oil in 2010. Japan, the top importer, received around 35.6 per cent of the Emirate’s total crude oil exports. In 2011, the Emirate exported 10.0 million metric tons of refined petroleum products, of which Holland bought 16.9 per cent, followed by Japan, which purchased 13.9 per cent.

Emirate of Abu Dhabi LNG exports increased by AED 2,973.0 million in 2011 compared with 2010, reaching AED 17,128.2 million. Japan topped the list of importers by 98.4 per cent of the LNG exports value, followed by India by 1.0 per cent in 2011. The Emirate imported 828,093.9 million cubic feet of natural gas in 2011, at a daily average of 2,268.8 million cubic feet.

Inflation rate in 2011 was 1.9 per cent. This was a result of an increase in the CPI from 119.3 points in 2010 to 121.6 points in 2011.[2]

Postage stamps


Abu Dhabi is divided into 3 Municipal Regions:

Towns and cities

Abu Dhabi city is a modern city with broad boulevards, tall office and apartment buildings, and busy shops.

Other urban centers in the Abu Dhabi emirate are Al 'Ain, Baniyas and Ruwais. Al-`Ain is an agglomeration of several villages scattered around a valuable desert oasis; today it is the site of the national university, UAEU. Al-`Ain is billed as the Garden City of the UAE. Other work includes the 1st prize international competition of the Abu Dhabi Library and Cultural Center won by the Architects Collaborative, designed by Hisham N. Ashkouri of Boston, Massachusetts and New York, NY.

Main cities and towns


Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and Al Ain International Airport (AAN) serve the emirate. The local time is GMT + 4 hours. Private vehicles and taxis are the primary means of transportation in the city, although public buses, run by the Abu Dhabi Municipality, are available, but mostly used by the lower-income population. There are bus routes to nearby towns such as Baniyas, Habashan and the garden city of the UAE, Al-`Ain, among others. There is a newer service started in 2005 between Abu Dhabi and the commercial city of Dubai (about 160 km away).

Schools and universities

All private and public schools in the emirate come under the authority of the Abu Dhabi Education Council, while other emirates continue to work under the federal Ministry of Education.

Schools and universities in Abu Dhabi:

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Statistical Yearbook of Abu Dhabi 2,012". Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD). 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b c "Abu Dhabi Over a Half Century". Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD). 
  6. ^ See Al-Fahim, M, From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu Dhabi, Chapter Six (London Centre of Arab Studies, 1995), ISBN 1-900404-00-1.

External links

  • Abu Dhabi Police
  • Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Universities in Abu Dhabi

UAE-based newspapers

  • Gulf News
  • Khaleej Times
  • Emirates Today
  • 7 Days
  • Emirates Evening Post
  • The National

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