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United Arab Emirates vs. Saudi Arabia

Introduction

United Arab EmiratesSaudi Arabia
Background"The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control of their defense and foreign affairs in 19th century treaties. In 1971, six of these states - Abu Dhabi, 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn - merged to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They were joined in 1972 by Ra's al Khaymah. The UAE's per capita GDP is on par with those of leading West European nations. For more than three decades, oil and global finance drove the UAE's economy. However, in 2008-09, the confluence of falling oil prices, collapsing real estate prices, and the international banking crisis hit the UAE especially hard. The UAE essentially avoided the ""Arab Spring"" unrest seen elsewhere in the Middle East in 2010-11 and in an effort to stem potential unrest, the government announced a multi-year, $1.6-billion infrastructure investment plan for the poorer northern emirates and aggressively pursued advocates of political reform. The UAE in recent years has played a vital role in regional affairs. In addition to donating billions of dollars in economic aid to help stabilize Egypt, the UAE is a member of a US-led global coalition to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and a coalition partner in a Saudi-led military campaign to restore the government of Yemen.
"
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded in 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman Al SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. One of his male descendants rules the country today, as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwait became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country in 2003. Major terrorist attacks in May and November 2003 spurred a strong ongoing campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism.
From 2005 to 2015, King ABDALLAH incrementally modernized the Kingdom. Driven by personal ideology and political pragmatism, he introduced a series of social and economic initiatives, including expanding employment and social opportunities for women, attracting foreign investment, increasing the role of the private sector in the economy, and discouraging businesses from hiring foreign workers. Saudi Arabia saw protests during the 2011 Arab Spring but not the level of bloodshed seen in protests elsewhere in the region. Shia Muslims in the Eastern Province protested primarily against the detention of political prisoners, endemic discrimination, and Bahraini and Saudi Government actions in Bahrain. Riyadh took a cautious but firm approach by arresting some protesters but releasing most of them quickly and by using its state-sponsored clerics to counter political and Islamist activism.
The government held its first-ever elections in 2005 and 2011, when Saudis went to the polls to elect municipal councilors. In December 2015, women were allowed to vote and stand as candidates for the first time in municipal council elections, with 19 women winning seats. King SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud ascended to the throne in 2015 and placed the first next-generation prince, MUHAMMAD BIN NAIF bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, in the line of succession as Crown Prince. He designated his son, MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, as the Deputy Crown Prince. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia led a coalition of 10 countries in a military campaign to restore the government of Yemen, which had been ousted by Huthi forces allied with former president ALI ABDULLAH al-Salih. The war in Yemen has led to civilian casualties and shortages of basic supplies, which has drawn considerable international criticism. In December 2015, Deputy Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN announced Saudi Arabia would lead a 34-nation Islamic Coalition to fight terrorism (it has since grown to 41 nations). In January 2016, Saudi Arabia executed 47 people on charges of terrorism, including Shia Muslim cleric NIMR al-Nimr. Iranian protesters overran Saudi diplomatic facilities in Iran to protest al-NIMR’s execution and the Saudi government responded by cutting off diplomatic ties with Iran.
The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds about 16% of the world's proven oil reserves as of 2015. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification, particularly since Saudi Arabia's accession to the WTO in 2005, and promotes foreign investment in the Kingdom. In April 2016, the Saudi government announced a broad set of socio-economic reforms, known as Vision 2030. Low global oil prices throughout 2015 and 2016 significantly lowered Saudi Arabia’s governmental revenue. In response, the government cut subsidies on water, electricity, and gasoline; reduced government employee compensation packages; and announced limited new land taxes. In coordination with OPEC and some key non-OPEC countries, Saudi Arabia agreed cut oil output in early 2017 to regulate supply and help elevate global prices.

Geography

United Arab EmiratesSaudi Arabia
LocationMiddle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen
Geographic coordinates24 00 N, 54 00 E
25 00 N, 45 00 E
Map referencesMiddle East
Middle East
Areatotal: 83,600 sq km
land: 83,600 sq km
water: 0 sq km
total: 2,149,690 sq km
land: 2,149,690 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly larger than South Carolina; slightly smaller than Maine
slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US
Land boundariestotal: 1,066 km
border countries (2): Oman 609 km, Saudi Arabia 457 km
total: 4,272 km
border countries (7): Iraq 811 km, Jordan 731 km, Kuwait 221 km, Oman 658 km, Qatar 87 km, UAE 457 km, Yemen 1,307 km
Coastline1,318 km
2,640 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climatedesert; cooler in eastern mountains
harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes
Terrainflat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert; mountains in east
mostly sandy desert
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 149 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Yibir 1,527 m
mean elevation: 665 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper
Land useagricultural land: 4.6%
arable land 0.5%; permanent crops 0.5%; permanent pasture 3.6%
forest: 3.8%
other: 91.6% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 80.7%
arable land 1.5%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 79.1%
forest: 0.5%
other: 18.8% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land923 sq km (2012)
16,200 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsfrequent sand and dust storms
frequent sand and dust storms
volcanism: despite many volcanic formations, there has been little activity in the past few centuries; volcanoes include Harrat Rahat, Harrat Khaybar, Harrat Lunayyir, and Jabal Yar
Environment - current issueslack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills
desertification; depletion of underground water resources; the lack of perennial rivers or permanent water bodies has prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notestrategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river; extensive coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal
Population distributionpopulation is heavily concentrated to the northeast on the Musandam Peninsula; the three largest emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah - are home to nearly 85% of the population
historically a population that was mostly nomadic or semi-nomadic, the Saudi population has become more settled since petroleum was discovered in the 1930s; most of the economic activities - and with it the country's population - is concentrated in a wide area across the middle of the peninsula, from Ad Dammam in the east, through Riyadh in the interior, to Mecca-Medina in the west near the Red Sea

Demographics

United Arab EmiratesSaudi Arabia
Population5,927,482 (July 2016 est.)
note: the UN estimated the country's total population was 9,267,000 as of mid-year 2016; immigrants make up about 88% of the total population, according to 2015 UN data (2016)
28,160,273 (July 2016 est.)
note: immigrants make up more than 30% of the total population, according to UN data (2015)
Age structure0-14 years: 20.94% (male 634,996/female 605,985)
15-24 years: 13.53% (male 476,813/female 324,982)
25-54 years: 61.27% (male 2,767,886/female 863,816)
55-64 years: 3.23% (male 142,661/female 48,715)
65 years and over: 1.04% (male 38,444/female 23,184) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 26.56% (male 3,835,472/female 3,644,041)
15-24 years: 18.85% (male 2,843,422/female 2,465,027)
25-54 years: 46.4% (male 7,401,654/female 5,663,769)
55-64 years: 4.86% (male 747,307/female 620,100)
65 years and over: 3.34% (male 478,244/female 461,237) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 30.3 years
male: 32.1 years
female: 25.1 years (2016 est.)
total: 27.2 years
male: 27.9 years
female: 26.2 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.47% (2016 est.)
1.46% (2016 est.)
Birth rate15.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
18.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
3.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate11.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-0.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.47 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 3.2 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 2.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.69 male(s)/female
total population: 2.18 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.31 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.21 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.05 male(s)/female
total population: 1.19 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 10.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 13.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 15.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 77.5 years
male: 74.8 years
female: 80.2 years (2016 est.)
total population: 75.3 years
male: 73.2 years
female: 77.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.33 children born/woman (2016 est.)
2.11 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rateNA
NA
Nationalitynoun: Emirati(s)
adjective: Emirati
noun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian
Ethnic groupsEmirati 11.6%, South Asian 59.4% (includes Indian 38.2%, Bangladeshi 9.5%, Pakistani 9.4%, other 2.3%), Egyptian 10.2%, Philippine 6.1%, other 12.8% (2015 est.)
Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA
NA
ReligionsMuslim (official) 76%, Christian 9%, other (primarily Hindu and Buddhist, less than 5% of the population consists of Parsi, Baha'i, Druze, Sikh, Ahmadi, Ismaili, Dawoodi Bohra Muslim, and Jewish) 15%
note: represents the total population; about 85% of the population consists of noncitizens (2005 est.)
Muslim (official; citizens are 85-90% Sunni and 10-15% Shia), other (includes Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh) (2012 est.)
note: despite having a large expatriate community of various faiths (more than 30% of the population), most forms of public religious expression inconsistent with the government-sanctioned interpretation of Sunni Islam are restricted; non-Muslims are not allowed to have Saudi citizenship and non-Muslim places of worship are not permitted (2013)
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
NA
LanguagesArabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
Arabic (official)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.8%
male: 93.1%
female: 95.8% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.7%
male: 97%
female: 91.1% (2015 est.)
Education expendituresNA
5.1% of GDP (2008)
Urbanizationurban population: 85.5% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.87% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 83.1% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 99.6% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 99.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.4% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0.4% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 97% of population
rural: 97% of population
total: 97% of population
unimproved: urban: 3% of population
rural: 3% of population
total: 3% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 95.2% of population
total: 97.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2% of population
rural: 4.8% of population
total: 2.4% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationDubai 2.415 million; Sharjah 1.279 million; ABU DHABI (capital) 1.145 million (2015)
RIYADH (capital) 6.195 million; Jeddah 4.076 million; Mecca 1.771 million; Medina 1.28 million; Ad Dammam 1.064 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate6 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
12 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures3.6% of GDP (2014)
4.7% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.56 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
2.57 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density1.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
2.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate34.5% (2014)
33.7% (2014)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 17.8
youth dependency ratio: 16.4
elderly dependency ratio: 1.3
potential support ratio: 74.6 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 45.9
youth dependency ratio: 41.7
elderly dependency ratio: 4.2
potential support ratio: 24 (2015 est.)

Government

United Arab EmiratesSaudi Arabia
Country name"conventional long form: United Arab Emirates
conventional short form: none
local long form: Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah
local short form: none
former: Trucial Oman, Trucial States
abbreviation: UAE
etymology: self-descriptive country name; the name ""Arabia"" can be traced back many centuries B.C., the ancient Egyptians referred to the region as ""Ar Rabi""; ""emirates"" derives from ""amir"" the Arabic word for ""commander,"" ""lord,"" or ""prince""
"
"conventional long form: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
conventional short form: Saudi Arabia
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Arabiyah as Suudiyah
local short form: Al Arabiyah as Suudiyah
etymology: named after the ruling dynasty of the country, the House of Saud; the name ""Arabia"" can be traced back many centuries B.C., the ancient Egyptians referred to the region as ""Ar Rabi""
"
Government typefederation of monarchies
absolute monarchy
Capitalname: Abu Dhabi
geographic coordinates: 24 28 N, 54 22 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Riyadh
geographic coordinates: 24 39 N, 46 42 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions7 emirates (imarat, singular - imarah); Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi), 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah (Sharjah), Dubayy (Dubai), Ra's al Khaymah, Umm al Qaywayn
13 provinces (mintaqat, singular - mintaqah); Al Bahah, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah (Northern Border), Al Jawf, Al Madinah (Medina), Al Qasim, Ar Riyad (Riyadh), Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern), 'Asir, Ha'il, Jazan, Makkah (Mecca), Najran, Tabuk
Independence2 December 1971 (from the UK)
23 September 1932 (unification of the kingdom)
National holidayIndependence Day (National Day), 2 December (1971)
Saudi National Day (Unification of the Kingdom), 23 September (1932)
Constitutionhistory: previous 1971 (provisional); latest drafted in 1979, became permanent May 1996
amendments: proposed by the Supreme Council and submitted to the Federal National Council; passage requires at least a two-thirds majority vote of Federal National Council members present, and approval by the Supreme Council president; amended 2009 (2016)
history: 1 March 1992 - Basic Law of Government, issued by royal decree, serves as the constitutional framework and is based on the Qur'an and the life and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad
amendments: proposed by the king directly or proposed to the king by the Consultative Assembly or by the Council of Ministers; passage by the king through royal decree; Basic Law amended many times, last in 2005 (2016)
Legal systemmixed legal system of Islamic law and civil law
Islamic (sharia) legal system with some elements of Egyptian, French, and customary law; note - several secular codes have been introduced; commercial disputes handled by special committees
Suffragelimited; note - rulers of the seven emirates each select a proportion of voters for the Federal National Council (FNC) that together account for about 12 percent of Emirati citizens
21 years of age; male; male and female for municipal elections
Executive branchchief of state: President KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 3 November 2004), ruler of Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) (since 4 November 2004); Vice President and Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Vice President MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers SAIF bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan, MANSUR bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (both since 11 May 2009)
cabinet: Council of Ministers announced by the prime minister and approved by the president
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the Federal Supreme Council - composed of the rulers of the 7 emirates - for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held 3 November 2009 (next election NA); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president
election results: KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan reelected president; FSC vote NA
note: there is also a Federal Supreme Council (FSC) composed of the 7 emirate rulers; the FSC is the highest constitutional authority in the UAE; establishes general policies and sanctions federal legislation; meets 4 times a year; Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) and Dubayy (Dubai) rulers have effective veto power
chief of state: King and Prime Minister SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 23 January 2015); Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 31 August 1985); note - the monarch is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: King and Prime Minister SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 23 January 2015); Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 31 August 1985)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch every 4 years and includes many royal family members
elections/appointments: none; the monarchy is hereditary; note - an Allegiance Council created by royal decree in October 2006 established a committee of Saudi princes for a role in selecting future Saudi kings
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Federal National Council (FNC) or Majlis al-Ittihad al-Watani (40 seats; 20 members appointed by the rulers of the 7 constituent states and 20 indirectly elected by an electoral college whose members are selected by each emirate ruler proportional to its FNC membership; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 3 October 2015 (next to be held in 2019); note - the electoral college was expanded from 129,274 electors in the December 2011 election to 224,279 in the October 2015 election; elections for candidates rather than political parties; 347 candidates including 78 women ran for 20 contested seats in the 40-member FNC; 80,000 voters, or 35% of eligible voters, turned out to vote and 19 men and one woman were elected
election results: elected FNC seats by emirate - Abu Dhabi 4, Dubai 4, Sharjah 3, Ras al-Khaimah 3, Ajman 2, Fujairah 2, Umm al-Quwain 2; note - only 1 woman (from Ras Al Khaimah) won an FNC seat
description: unicameral Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (150 seats; members appointed by the monarch to serve 4-year terms); note - in early 2013, the monarch granted women 30 seats on the Council
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Federal Supreme Court (consists of the court president and 4 judges; jurisdiction limited to federal cases)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the federal president following approval by the Federal Supreme Council, which includes the rulers of the 7 emirates; judges serve until retirement age or the expiry of their appointment term
subordinate courts: Federal Court of Cassation (determines the constitutionality of laws promulgated at the federal and emirate level; federal level courts of first instance and appeals courts; the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Ra's al Khaymah have parallel court systems; the other four emirates have incorporated their courts into the federal system; note - the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Courts and the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Courts both adjudicate civil and commercial disputes.
highest court(s): High Court (consists of the court chief and organized into circuits with 3-judge panels except the criminal circuit, which has a 5-judge panel for cases involving major punishments)
judge selection and term of office: High Court chief and chiefs of the High Court Circuits appointed by royal decree following the recommendation of the Supreme Judiciary Council, a 10-member body of high-level judges and other judicial heads; new judges and assistant judges serve 1- and 2-year probations, respectively, before permanent assignment
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; Specialized Criminal Court, first-degree courts composed of general, criminal, personal status, and commercial courts; Labor Court; a hierarchy of administrative courts
Political parties and leadersnone; political parties are banned
none
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
other: gas companies; religious groups
International organization participationABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BIS, CAEU, CICA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OIF (observer), OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
ABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BIS, CAEU, CP, FAO, G-20, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Yusif bin Mani bin Said al-UTAYBA (since 25 July 2008)
chancery: 3522 International Court NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 243-2400
FAX: [1] (202) 243-2432
consulate(s) general: Boston, Los Angeles, New York
chief of mission: Ambassador KHALID BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since April 2017)
chancery: 601 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 342-3800
FAX: [1] (202) 944-5983
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Barbara A. LEAF (since 30 December 2014)
embassy: Embassies District, Plot 38 Sector W59-02, Street No. 4, Abu Dhabi
mailing address: P. O. Box 4009, Abu Dhabi
telephone: [971] (2) 414-2200
FAX: [971] (2) 414-2603
consulate(s) general: Dubai
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Christopher HENZEL (since 20 January 2017)
embassy: P.O.Box 94309, Riyadh 4693
mailing address: American Embassy, Unit 61307, APO AE 09803-1307; International Mail: P. O. Box 94309, Riyadh 11693
telephone: [966] (11) 488-3800
FAX: [966] (11) 488-7360
consulate(s) general: Dhahran, Jiddah (Jeddah)
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and black with a wider vertical red band on the hoist side; the flag incorporates all four Pan-Arab colors, which in this case represent fertility (green), neutrality (white), petroleum resources (black), and unity (red); red was the traditional color incorporated into all flags of the emirates before their unification
"green, a traditional color in Islamic flags, with the Shahada or Muslim creed in large white Arabic script (translated as ""There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God"") above a white horizontal saber (the tip points to the hoist side); design dates to the early twentieth century and is closely associated with the Al Saud family which established the kingdom in 1932; the flag is manufactured with differing obverse and reverse sides so that the Shahada reads - and the sword points - correctly from right to left on both sides
note: the only national flag to display an inscription as its principal design; one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides - the others are Moldova and Paraguay
"
National anthem"name: ""Nashid al-watani al-imarati"" (National Anthem of the UAE)
lyrics/music: AREF Al Sheikh Abdullah Al Hassan/Mohamad Abdel WAHAB
note: music adopted 1971, lyrics adopted 1996; Mohamad Abdel WAHAB also composed the music for the anthem of Tunisia
"
"name: ""Aash Al Maleek"" (Long Live Our Beloved King)
lyrics/music: Ibrahim KHAFAJI/Abdul Rahman al-KHATEEB
note: music adopted 1947, lyrics adopted 1984
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)golden falcon; national colors: green, white, black, red
palm tree surmounting two crossed swords; national colors: green, white
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of the United Arab Emirates; if the father is unknown, the mother must be a citizen
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 30 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Saudi Arabia; a child born out of wedlock in Saudi Arabia to a Saudi mother and unknown father
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

United Arab EmiratesSaudi Arabia
Economy - overviewThe 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 from the oil and gas sector to 30%.

Since the discovery of oil in the UAE nearly 60 years ago, the country 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 - are helping to attract foreign investors.

The global financial crisis of 2008-09, tight international credit, and deflated asset prices constricted the economy in 2009. UAE authorities tried to blunt the crisis by increasing spending and boosting liquidity in the banking sector. The crisis hit Dubai hardest, as it was heavily exposed to depressed real estate prices. Dubai lacked sufficient cash to meet its debt obligations, prompting global concern about its solvency and ultimately a $20 billion bailout from the UAE Central Bank and Abu Dhabi Government that was refinanced in March 2014.

The UAE’s dependence on oil is a significant long-term challenge. Low oil prices have prompted the UAE to cut expenditures, including on some social programs, but the UAE has sufficient assets in its sovereign investment funds to cover its deficits. The government reduced fuel subsidies in August 2015, and has announced plans to introduce excise and Value Added Taxes by January 1, 2018. The UAE's strategic plan for the next few years focuses on economic diversification, promoting the UAE as a global trade and tourism hub, developing industry, and creating more job opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.
Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. It possesses about 16% of the world's proven petroleum reserves, ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 87% of budget revenues, 42% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings.

Saudi Arabia is encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. Over 6 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, particularly in the oil and service sectors; at the same time, however, Riyadh is struggling to reduce unemployment among its own nationals. Saudi officials are particularly focused on employing its large youth population, which generally lacks the education and technical skills the private sector needs.

In 2016, the Kingdom incurred a budget deficit estimated at 13.6% of GDP, which was financed by bond sales and drawing down reserves. Although the Kingdom can finance high deficits for several years by drawing down its considerable foreign assets or by borrowing, it has cut capital spending. Plans to cut deficits include introducing a value-added tax and reducing subsidies on electricity, water, and petroleum products. In January 2016, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN announced that Saudi Arabia intends to list shares of its state-owned petroleum company, ARAMCO - another move to increase revenue and outside investment. The government has also looked at privatization and diversification of the economy more closely in the wake of a diminished oil market. Historically, Saudi Arabia has focused diversification efforts on power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemical sectors. More recently, the government has approached investors about expanding the role of the private sector in the healthcare, education and tourism industries. While Saudi Arabia has emphasized their goals of diversification for some time, current low oil prices may force the government to make more drastic changes ahead of their long-run timeline.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$667.2 billion (2016 est.)
$652.4 billion (2015 est.)
$627.6 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$1.731 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.711 trillion (2015 est.)
$1.653 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate2.3% (2016 est.)
4% (2015 est.)
3.1% (2014 est.)
1.2% (2016 est.)
3.5% (2015 est.)
3.6% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$67,700 (2016 est.)
$68,100 (2015 est.)
$67,500 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$54,100 (2016 est.)
$54,500 (2015 est.)
$53,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 0.7%
industry: 44.6%
services: 54.7% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 2.4%
industry: 42.9%
services: 54.7% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line19.5% (2003 est.)
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.4% (2016 est.)
4.1% (2015 est.)
4.4% (2016 est.)
2.2% (2015 est.)
Labor force5.242 million
note: expatriates account for about 85% of the workforce (2016 est.)
12.02 million
note: about 80% of the labor force is non-national (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 7%
industry: 15%
services: 78% (2000 est.)
agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 21.4%
services: 71.9% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate3.6% (2014 est.)
2.4% (2001 est.)
11.2% (2016 est.)
11.4% (2015 est.)
note: data are for Saudi males only (local bank estimates; some estimates are as high as 25%)
Budgetrevenues: $98.15 billion
expenditures: $112.6 billion
note: the UAE federal budget does not account for emirate-level spending in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (2016 est.)
revenues: $149.7 billion
expenditures: $236.7 billion (2016 est.)
Industriespetroleum and petrochemicals; fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, construction materials, handicrafts, textiles
crude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals, ammonia, industrial gases, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), cement, fertilizer, plastics, metals, commercial ship repair, commercial aircraft repair, construction
Industrial production growth rate1.8% (2016 est.)
0.6% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsdates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish
wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk
Exports$316 billion (2016 est.)
$333.3 billion (2015 est.)
$205.3 billion (2016 est.)
$202.3 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiescrude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates (2012 est.)
petroleum and petroleum products 90% (2012 est.)
Exports - partnersIran 13.6%, Oman 11.3%, Japan 9.2%, India 8%, China 4.4% (2015)
China 13.2%, Japan 10.9%, US 9.6%, India 9.3%, South Korea 8.5% (2015)
Imports$246.9 billion (2016 est.)
$243.9 billion (2015 est.)
$157.7 billion (2016 est.)
$155 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
Imports - partnersChina 15.4%, India 12.6%, US 9.6%, Germany 6.7%, Oman 4.5%, UK 4.3% (2015)
China 13.8%, US 12.5%, Germany 7%, South Korea 6%, India 4.4%, Japan 4.3%, UK 4.3% (2015)
Debt - external$220.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$204.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$200.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$169.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesEmirati dirhams (AED) per US dollar -
3.673 (2016 est.)
3.673 (2015 est.)
3.673 (2014 est.)
3.673 (2013 est.)
3.67 (2012 est.)
Saudi riyals (SAR) per US dollar -
3.75 (2016 est.)
3.75 (2015 est.)
3.75 (2014 est.)
3.75 (2013 est.)
3.75 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt60.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
51.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
31% of GDP (2016 est.)
15% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$84.93 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$93.93 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$553.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$616.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$8.782 billion (2016 est.)
$12.31 billion (2015 est.)
-$24.91 billion (2016 est.)
-$56.72 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$375 billion (2016 est.)
$637.8 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$132.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$126.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$258.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$250.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$94.36 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$90.86 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$42.95 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$37.98 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$195.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$201.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$180.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$421.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$483.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$467.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Central bank discount rateNA%
2.5% (31 December 2008)

Stock of domestic credit$387.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$370.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$221.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$134.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$129.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$124.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$295.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$305.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$337.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$327.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$513.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$461.2 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues26.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
-13.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 12.1%
male: 7.9%
female: 21.8% (2008 est.)
total: 30.4%
male: 21.4%
female: 57.9% (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 61.1%
government consumption: 9.3%
investment in fixed capital: 29.7%
investment in inventories: 0.7%
exports of goods and services: 81.5%
imports of goods and services: -82.3% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 42.3%
government consumption: 29.6%
investment in fixed capital: 29.5%
investment in inventories: 5.9%
exports of goods and services: 30.7%
imports of goods and services: -38% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving20.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
25.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
38.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
25% of GDP (2016 est.)
26.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
38.3% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

United Arab EmiratesSaudi Arabia
Electricity - production110 billion kWh (2014 est.)
293 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption95.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)
272 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Oil - production2.82 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
10.05 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports2.637 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
7.416 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves98 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
269 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves6.091 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
8.489 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production54.24 billion cu m (2014 est.)
102.4 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption66.32 billion cu m (2014 est.)
102.4 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports8.066 billion cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - imports20.14 billion cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2014 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity28 million kW (2014 est.)
66 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels99.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
99.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production503,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
1.884 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption744,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
3.141 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports384,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)
1.45 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports365,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
497,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy245 million Mt (2013 est.)
594 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 177,824
electrification - total population: 98%
electrification - urban areas: 99%
electrification - rural areas: 93% (2012)
population without electricity: 200,000
electrification - total population: 98%
electrification - urban areas: 99%
electrification - rural areas: 93% (2013)

Telecommunications

United Arab EmiratesSaudi Arabia
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 2,208,425
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 3,746,906
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 17.943 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 310 (July 2015 est.)
total: 52.796 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 190 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile-cellular telephones; key centers are Abu Dhabi and Dubai
domestic: microwave radio relay, fiber-optic and coaxial cable
international: country code - 971; linked to the international submarine cable FLAG (Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe); landing point for both the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable networks; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian (2015)
general assessment: modern system including a combination of extensive microwave radio relays, coaxial cables, and fiber-optic cables
domestic: mobile-cellular subscribership has been increasing rapidly
international: country code - 966; landing point for the international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and for both the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable networks providing connectivity to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and US; microwave radio relay to Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, and Sudan; coaxial cable to Kuwait and Jordan; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (3 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region) (2015)
Internet country code.ae
.sa
Internet userstotal: 5.274 million
percent of population: 91.2% (July 2015 est.)
total: 19.32 million
percent of population: 69.6% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediaexcept for the many organizations now operating in media free zones in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, most TV and radio stations remain government-owned; widespread use of satellite dishes provides access to pan-Arab and other international broadcasts (2017)
broadcast media are state-controlled; state-run TV operates 4 networks; Saudi Arabia is a major market for pan-Arab satellite TV broadcasters; state-run radio operates several networks; multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)

Transportation

United Arab EmiratesSaudi Arabia
Roadwaystotal: 4,080 km
paved: 4,080 km (includes 253 km of expressways) (2008)
total: 221,372 km
paved: 47,529 km (includes 3,891 km of expressways)
unpaved: 173,843 km (2006)
Pipelinescondensate 533 km; gas 3,277 km; liquid petroleum gas 300 km; oil 3,287 km; oil/gas/water 24 km; refined products 218 km; water 99 km (2013)
condensate 209 km; gas 2,940 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,183 km; oil 5,117 km; refined products 1,151 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Al Fujayrah, Mina' Jabal 'Ali (Dubai), Khor Fakkan (Khawr Fakkan) (Sharjah), Mubarraz Island (Abu Dhabi), Mina' Rashid (Dubai), Mina' Saqr (Ra's al Khaymah)
container port(s) (TEUs): Dubai Port (15,585,000), Khor Fakkan (Khawr Fakkan) (Sharjah) (3,400,000) (2015)
LNG terminal(s) (export): Das Island
major seaport(s): Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jeddah, Yanbu al Bahr
container port(s) (TEUs): Ad Dammam (1,492,315), Jeddah (4,010,448)
Merchant marinetotal: 61
by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 13, chemical tanker 8, container 7, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 24, roll on/roll off 4
foreign-owned: 13 (Greece 3, Kuwait 10)
registered in other countries: 253 (Bahamas 23, Barbados 1, Belize 3, Cambodia 2, Comoros 8, Cyprus 3, Georgia 2, Gibraltar 5, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 1, India 4, Iran 2, Jordan 2, Liberia 37, Malta 1, Marshall Islands 12, Mexico 1, Netherlands 4, North Korea 2, Panama 83, Papua New Guinea 6 (2010)
total: 72
by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 25, container 4, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 20, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 7
foreign-owned: 15 (Egypt 1, Greece 4, Kuwait 4, UAE 6)
registered in other countries: 55 (Bahamas 16, Dominica 2, Liberia 20, Malta 2, Norway 3, Panama 11, Tanzania 1) (2010)
Airports43 (2013)
214 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 25
over 3,047 m: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
total: 82
over 3,047 m: 33
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 27
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 4 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 18
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 6 (2013)
total: 132
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 72
914 to 1,523 m: 37
under 914 m: 16 (2013)
Heliports5 (2013)
10 (2013)

Military

United Arab EmiratesSaudi Arabia
Military branchesUnited Arab Emirates Armed Forces: Critical Infrastructure Coastal Patrol Agency (CICPA), Land Forces, Navy, Air Force and Air Defense, Presidential Guard (2015)
Ministry of Defense: Royal Saudi Land Forces, Royal Saudi Naval Forces (includes Marine Forces and Special Forces), Royal Saudi Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Malakiya as-Sa'udiya), Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, Royal Saudi Strategic Rocket Forces, Ministry of the National Guard (SANG) (2015)
Military service age and obligation18-30 years of age for compulsory military service for men, optional service for women; 17 years of age for male volunteers with parental approval; 2-year general obligation, 9 months for secondary school graduates; women may train for 9 months regardless of education (2014)
17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP5.66% of GDP (2014)
6.06% of GDP (2013)
5.09% of GDP (2012)
5.5% of GDP (2011)
13.5% of GDP (2015)
10.7% of GDP (2014)
9% of GDP (2013)
7.7% of GDP (2012)
7.25% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

United Arab EmiratesSaudi Arabia
Disputes - internationalboundary agreement was signed and ratified with Oman in 2003 for entire border, including Oman's Musandam Peninsula and Al Madhah enclaves, but contents of the agreement and detailed maps showing the alignment have not been published; Iran and UAE dispute Tunb Islands and Abu Musa Island, which Iran occupies
Saudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the now fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities; Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue discussions on a maritime boundary with Iran; Saudi Arabia claims Egyptian-administered islands of Tiran and Sanafir
Illicit drugsthe UAE is a drug transshipment point for traffickers given its proximity to Southwest Asian drug-producing countries; the UAE's position as a major financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering; anti-money-laundering controls improving, but informal banking remains unregulated
regularly enforces the death penalty for drug traffickers, with foreigners being convicted and executed disproportionately; improving anti-money-laundering legislation and enforcement

Source: CIA Factbook