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Saudi Arabia vs. United Arab Emirates

Introduction

Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
Background

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. US troops returned to the Kingdom in October 2019 after attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure.

From 2005 to 2015, King ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud 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. These reforms have accelerated under King SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz, who ascended to the throne in 2015, and has since lifted the Kingdom's ban on women driving and allowed cinemas to operate for the first time in decades. Saudi Arabia saw some 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. After King SALMAN ascended to the throne in 2015, he placed the first next-generation prince, MUHAMMAD BIN NAYIF 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 legitimate government of Yemen, which had been ousted by Huthi forces allied with former president ALI ABDULLAH al-Salih. The war in Yemen has drawn international criticism for civilian casualties and its effect on the country’s dire humanitarian situation. In December 2015, then 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 May 2017, Saudi Arabia inaugurated the Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology (also known as "Etidal") as part of its ongoing efforts to counter violent extremism. In June 2017, King SALMAN elevated MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN to Crown Prince.

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.

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. 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 did not experience the "Arab Spring" unrest seen elsewhere in the Middle East in 2010-11, partly because of the government's multi-year, $1.6-billion infrastructure investment plan for the poorer northern emirates, and its aggressive pursuit of advocates of political reform. The UAE in recent years has played a growing role in regional affairs. In addition to donating billions of dollars in economic aid to help stabilize Egypt, the UAE was one of the first countries to join the Defeat-ISIS coalition, and to participate as a key partner in a Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. On 15 September 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed a peace accord with Israel – brokered by the US – in Washington DC. Referred to as the Abraham Accords, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are the two latest Middle Eastern countries, along with Egypt and Jordan, to recognize Israel.

Geography

Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
Location
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen
Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates
25 00 N, 45 00 E
24 00 N, 54 00 E
Map references
Middle East
Middle East
Area
total: 2,149,690 sq km
land: 2,149,690 sq km
water: 0 sq km
total: 83,600 sq km
land: 83,600 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US
slightly larger than South Carolina; slightly smaller than Maine
Land boundaries
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 1307 km
total: 1,066 km
border countries (2): Oman 609 km, Saudi Arabia 457 km
Coastline
2,640 km
1,318 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: not specified
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate
harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes
desert; cooler in eastern mountains
Terrain
mostly sandy desert
flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert; mountains in east
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 665 m
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m
mean elevation: 149 m
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Yibir 1,527 m
Natural resources
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper
petroleum, natural gas
Land use
agricultural land: 80.7% (2011 est.)
arable land: 1.5% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.1% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 79.1% (2011 est.)
forest: 0.5% (2011 est.)
other: 18.8% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 4.6% (2011 est.)
arable land: 0.5% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.5% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 3.6% (2011 est.)
forest: 3.8% (2011 est.)
other: 91.6% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
16,200 sq km (2012)
923 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards

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

frequent sand and dust storms
Environment - current issues
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; air pollution; waste management
air pollution; rapid population growth and high energy demand contribute to water scarcity; lack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; land degradation and desertification; waste generation, beach pollution from oil spills
Environment - international agreements
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
party 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
Geography - note
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river; extensive coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea allow for considerable shipping (especially of crude oil) through the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal
strategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
Population distribution
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
population 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

Demographics

Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
Population
34,173,498 (July 2020 est.)

note: immigrants make up 38.3% of the total population, according to UN data (2019)

9,992,083 (July 2020 est.)

note: the UN estimated the country's total population was 9,771,000 as of mid-year 2019; immigrants make up 87.9% of the total population, according to UN data (2019)

Age structure
0-14 years: 24.84% (male 4,327,830/female 4,159,242)
15-24 years: 15.38% (male 2,741,371/female 2,515,188)
25-54 years: 50.2% (male 10,350,028/female 6,804,479)
55-64 years: 5.95% (male 1,254,921/female 778,467)
65 years and over: 3.63% (male 657,395/female 584,577) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 14.45% (male 745,492/female 698,330)
15-24 years: 7.94% (male 431,751/female 361,804)
25-54 years: 68.03% (male 5,204,618/female 1,592,987)
55-64 years: 7.68% (male 658,892/female 108,850)
65 years and over: 1.9% (male 146,221/female 43,138) (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 30.8 years
male: 33 years
female: 27.9 years (2020 est.)
total: 38.4 years
male: 40.4 years
female: 31.5 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
1.6% (2020 est.)
1.49% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
14.7 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
9.5 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
3.4 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
2 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
4.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
7.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.52 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.61 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.12 male(s)/female
total population: 130.2 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.19 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 3.27 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 6.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 3.39 male(s)/female
total population: 256.2 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 11.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
total: 5.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 76.2 years
male: 74.6 years
female: 77.8 years (2020 est.)
total population: 79 years
male: 77.6 years
female: 80.5 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
1.95 children born/woman (2020 est.)
1.73 children born/woman (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
<.1% (2016 est.)
NA
Nationality
noun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian
noun: Emirati(s)
adjective: Emirati
Ethnic groups
Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%
Emirati 11.6%, South Asian 59.4% (includes Indian 38.2%, Bangladeshi 9.5%, Pakistani 9.4%, other 2.3%), Egyptian 10.2%, Filipino 6.1%, other 12.8% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
8,200 (2016 est.)
NA
Religions
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)

Muslim (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% (2005 est.)

note: data represent the total population; as of 2019, immigrants make up about 87.9% of the total population, according to UN data

HIV/AIDS - deaths
<500 (2016 est.)
NA
Languages
Arabic (official)
Arabic (official), English, Hindi, Malayam, Urdu, Pashto, Tagalog, Persian
Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.3%
male: 97.1%
female: 92.7% (2017)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.8%
male: 93.1%
female: 95.8% (2015)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 17 years
male: 16 years
female: 16 years (2019)
total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2017)
Education expenditures
NA
NA
Urbanization
urban population: 84.3% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 2.17% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 87% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 1.71% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: total: 100% of population
unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
improved: total: 100% of population
unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: total: 100% of population
unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
improved: total: 98.6% of population
unimproved: total: 1.4% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population
7.231 million RIYADH (capital), 4.610 million Jeddah, 2.042 million Mecca, 1.489 million Medina, 1.253 million Ad Dammam (2020)
2.878 million Dubai, 1.685 million Sharjah, 1.483 million ABU DHABI (capital) (2020)
Maternal mortality rate
17 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
3 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Health expenditures
5.2% (2017)
3.3% (2017)
Physicians density
2.54 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
2.44 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density
2.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)
1.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
35.4% (2016)
31.7% (2016)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 39.3
youth dependency ratio: 34.4
elderly dependency ratio: 4.9
potential support ratio: 20.5 (2020 est.)
total dependency ratio: 19.2
youth dependency ratio: 17.7
elderly dependency ratio: 1.5
potential support ratio: 66.4 (2020 est.)

Government

Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
Country name
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"
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"
Government type
absolute monarchy
federation of monarchies
Capital
name: Riyadh
geographic coordinates: 24 39 N, 46 42 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: the name derives from the Arabic word "riyadh," meaning "gardens," and refers to various oasis towns in the area that merged to form the city
name: Abu Dhabi
geographic coordinates: 24 28 N, 54 22 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: in Arabic, "abu" means "father" and "dhabi" refers to "gazelle"; the name may derive from an abundance of gazelles that used to live in the area, as well as a folk tale involving the "Father of the Gazelle," Shakhbut bin Dhiyab al Nahyan, whose hunting party tracked a gazelle to a spring on the island where Abu Dhabi was founded
Administrative divisions
13 regions (manatiq, singular - mintaqah); Al Bahah, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah (Northern Border), Al Jawf, Al Madinah al Munawwarah (Medina), Al Qasim, Ar Riyad (Riyadh), Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern), 'Asir, Ha'il, Jazan, Makkah al Mukarramah (Mecca), Najran, Tabuk
7 emirates (imarat, singular - imarah); Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi), 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah (Sharjah), Dubayy (Dubai), Ra's al Khaymah, Umm al Qaywayn
Independence
23 September 1932 (unification of the kingdom)
2 December 1971 (from the UK)
National holiday
Saudi National Day (Unification of the Kingdom), 23 September (1932)
Independence Day (National Day), 2 December (1971)
Constitution
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 2017
history: 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 of the Supreme Council president; amended 2009
Legal system
Suffrage
18 years of age; restricted to males; universal for municipal elections
limited; 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
Executive branch
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; an Allegiance Council created by royal decree in October 2006 established a committee of Saudi princes for a voice in selecting future Saudi kings
chief of state: President KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 2 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

Legislative branch
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
note: composition as of 2013 - men 121, women 30, percent of women 19.9%
description: unicameral Federal National Council (FNC) or Majlis al-Ittihad al-Watani (40 seats; 20 members indirectly elected using single non-transferable vote by an electoral college whose members are selected by each emirate ruler proportional to its FNC membership, and 20 members appointed by the rulers of the 7 constituent states; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held for indirectly elected members on 5 October 2019 (next to be held in October 2023)
election results: all candidates ran as independents; seats by emirate - Abu Dhabi 4, Dubai 4, Sharjah 3, Ras al-Khaimah 3, Ajman 2, Fujairah 2, Umm al-Quwain 2; composition (preliminary) - 13 men, 7 women, percent of elected women 35%; note - to attain overall FNC gender parity, 13 women and 7 men will be appointed; overall FNC percent of women 50%
Judicial branch
highest courts: High Court (consists of the court chief and organized into circuits with 3-judge panels, except for 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 upon 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
highest courts: 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, the highest executive and legislative authority consisting of the 7 emirate rulers; judges serve until retirement age or the expiry of their appointment terms
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 4 emirates have incorporated their courts into the federal system; note - the Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts and the Dubai International Financial Center Courts, the country’s two largest financial free zones, both adjudicate civil and commercial disputes.
Political parties and leaders
none
none; political parties are banned
International organization participation
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
ABEDA, 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
Diplomatic representation in the US
Ambassador Princess REEMA bint Bandar Al Saud (since 8 July 2019)
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
Ambassador Yusif bin Mani bin Said al-UTAYBA (since 28 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
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador John P. ABIZAID (since 8 May 2019)
telephone: [966] (11) 488-3800
embassy: P.O. Box 94309, Riyadh 11693
mailing address: American Embassy, Unit 61307, APO AE 09803-1307; International Mail: P. O. Box 94309, Riyadh 11693
FAX: [966] (11) 488-7360
consulate(s) general: Dhahran, Jiddah (Jeddah)
chief of mission: Ambassador John RAKOLTA Jr. (since 27 October 2019)
telephone: [971] (2) 414-2200
embassy: Embassies District, Plot 38, Sector W59-02, Street No. 4, Abu Dhabi
mailing address: P. O. Box 4009, Abu Dhabi
FAX: [971] (2) 414-2603
consulate(s) general: Dubai
Flag description
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

three 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
National anthem
name: "Aash Al Maleek" (Long Live Our Beloved King)
lyrics/music: Ibrahim KHAFAJI/Abdul Rahman al-KHATEEB

note: music adopted 1947, lyrics adopted 1984

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

International law organization participation
has 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)
palm tree surmounting two crossed swords; national colors: green, white
golden falcon; national colors: green, white, black, red
Citizenship
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
citizenship 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

Economy

Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
Economy - overview

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. Approximately 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.

In 2017, the Kingdom incurred a budget deficit estimated at 8.3% 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 and reduced subsidies on electricity, water, and petroleum products and recently introduced a value-added tax of 5%. 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 health care, 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.

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 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, although the UAE is one of the most diversified countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council. 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 introduced excise taxes (50% on sweetened carbonated beverages and 100% on energy drinks and tobacco) in October 2017. A five-percent value-added tax was introduced in January 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$1.775 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.79 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.761 trillion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$696 billion (2017 est.)
$690.5 billion (2016 est.)
$670.5 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
-0.9% (2017 est.)
1.7% (2016 est.)
4.1% (2015 est.)
0.8% (2017 est.)
3% (2016 est.)
5.1% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$54,500 (2017 est.)
$56,400 (2016 est.)
$56,800 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$68,600 (2017 est.)
$70,100 (2016 est.)
$70,000 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 2.6% (2017 est.)
industry: 44.2% (2017 est.)
services: 53.2% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 0.9% (2017 est.)
industry: 49.8% (2017 est.)
services: 49.2% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
NA
19.5% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
-0.9% (2017 est.)
2% (2016 est.)
2% (2017 est.)
1.6% (2016 est.)
Labor force
13.8 million (2017 est.)

note: comprised of 3.1 million Saudis and 10.7 million non-Saudis

5.344 million (2017 est.)

note: expatriates account for about 85% of the workforce

Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 21.4%
services: 71.9% (2005 est.)
agriculture: 7%
industry: 15%
services: 78% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate
6% (2017 est.)
5.6% (2016 est.)

note: data are for total population; unemployment among Saudi nationals is more than double

1.6% (2016 est.)
3.6% (2014 est.)
Budget
revenues: 181 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 241.8 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 110.2 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 111.1 billion (2017 est.)

note: the UAE federal budget does not account for emirate-level spending in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Industries
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
petroleum and petrochemicals; fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizer, commercial ship repair, construction materials, handicrafts, textiles
Industrial production growth rate
-2.4% (2017 est.)
1.8% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk
dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish
Exports
$221.1 billion (2017 est.)
$183.6 billion (2016 est.)
$308.5 billion (2017 est.)
$298.6 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
petroleum and petroleum products 90% (2012 est.)
crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates (2012 est.)
Exports - partners
Japan 12.2%, China 11.7%, South Korea 9%, India 8.9%, US 8.3%, UAE 6.7%, Singapore 4.2% (2017)
India 10.1%, Iran 9.9%, Japan 9.3%, China 5.4%, Oman 5%, Switzerland 4.4%, South Korea 4.1% (2017)
Imports
$119.3 billion (2017 est.)
$127.8 billion (2016 est.)
$229.2 billion (2017 est.)
$226.5 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food
Imports - partners
China 15.4%, US 13.6%, UAE 6.5%, Germany 5.8%, Japan 4.1%, India 4.1%, South Korea 4% (2017)
China 8.5%, US 6.8%, India 6.6% (2017)
Debt - external
$205.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$189.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$237.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$218.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
Saudi riyals (SAR) per US dollar -
3.75 (2017 est.)
3.75 (2016 est.)
3.75 (2015 est.)
3.75 (2014 est.)
3.75 (2013 est.)
Emirati dirhams (AED) per US dollar -
3.673 (2017 est.)
3.673 (2016 est.)
3.673 (2015 est.)
3.673 (2014 est.)
3.673 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
Public debt
17.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
13.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
19.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
20.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$496.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$535.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$95.37 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$85.39 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
$15.23 billion (2017 est.)
-$23.87 billion (2016 est.)
$26.47 billion (2017 est.)
$13.23 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$686.7 billion (2017 est.)
$382.6 billion (2017 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$264.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$258.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$129.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$134.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$56.09 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$46.45 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$124.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$114.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$421.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$483.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$467.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$195.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$201.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$180.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Central bank discount rate
2.5% (31 December 2008)

NA

Commercial bank prime lending rate
8.3% (31 December 2017 est.)
7.1% (31 December 2016 est.)
6% (31 December 2017 est.)
5.7% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$267.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$219.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$395.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$396 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$312.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$305.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$134 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$129.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$312.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$305.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$134 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$129.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
26.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
28.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-8.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-0.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 28.8%
male: 19.9%
female: 62.6% (2018 est.)
total: 6.9%
male: 5%
female: 12.8% (2018 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 41.3% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 24.5% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 23.2% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 4.7% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 34.8% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -28.6% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 34.9% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 12.3% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 23% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 1.8% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 100.4% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -72.4% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
30.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
27.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
26.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
28.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
30.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
30.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
Electricity - production
324.1 billion kWh (2016 est.)
121.8 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption
296.2 billion kWh (2016 est.)
113.2 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
1.141 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production
10.425 million bbl/day (2018 est.)
3.216 million bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - exports
7.341 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
2.552 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - proved reserves
266.2 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
97.8 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves
8.619 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
6.091 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - production
109.3 billion cu m (2017 est.)
62.01 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
109.3 billion cu m (2017 est.)
74.48 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
7.504 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
20.22 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity
82.94 million kW (2016 est.)
28.91 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels
100% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
99% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production
2.476 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
943,500 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption
3.287 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
896,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports
1.784 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
817,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports
609,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
392,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy
657.1 million Mt (2017 est.)
289.4 million Mt (2017 est.)
Electricity access
electrification - total population: 100% (2020)
electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Telecommunications

Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
Telephones - main lines in use
total subscriptions: 5,276,773
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15.69 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 2,380,238
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 24.18 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular
total subscriptions: 40,532,610
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 120.52 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 19,749,674
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 200.63 (2019 est.)
Internet country code
.sa
.ae
Internet users
total: 30,877,318
percent of population: 93.31% (July 2018 est.)
total: 9,550,945
percent of population: 98.45% (July 2018 est.)
Telecommunication systems
general assessment: one of the most progressive telecom markets in the Middle East; mobile penetration high, with a saturated market; mobile operators competitive and meeting the demand for workers, students and citizens working from home; 5G launched, partners include Chinese company Huawei; broadband is available with DSL, fiber, and wireless; mobile penetration is steep in Saudi Arabia (2020)
domestic: fixed-line 16 per 100 and mobile-cellular subscribership has been increasing rapidly to 121 per 100 persons (2019)
international: country code - 966; landing points for the SeaMeWe-3, -4, -5, AAE-1, EIG, FALCON, FEA, IMEWE, MENA/Gulf Bridge International, SEACOM, SAS-1, -2, GBICS/MENA, and the Tata TGN-Gulf submarine cables providing connectivity to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia; 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) (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
general assessment: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile-cellular telephones; key centers are Abu Dhabi and Dubai; 5G capabilities launched in 2019; two operators are competitive, but majority owned by the government; HSPA (high speed packet access) + LTE networks cover most of the population; low cost smart phones readily available; mobile penetration levels among the world's highest; well-established fiber-broadband network provides future growth (2020)
domestic: microwave radio relay, fiber-optic and coaxial cable; fixed-line 24 per 100 and mobile-cellular 201 per 100 (2019)
international: country code - 971; landing points for the FLAG, SEA-ME-WE-3 ,-4 & -5, Qater UAE Submarine Cable System, FALCON, FOG, Tat TGN-Gulf, OMRAN/EPEG Cable System, AAE-1, BBG, EIG, FEA, GBICS/MENA, IMEWE, Orient Express, TEAMS, TW1 and the UAE-Iran submarine cables, linking to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian) (2020)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
Broadband - fixed subscriptions
total: 6,821,873
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 21 (2018 est.)
total: 3,024,565
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 31 (2018 est.)
Broadcast media
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
except 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; restrictions since June 2017 on some satellite channels and websites originating from or otherwise linked to Qatar (2018)

Transportation

Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
Roadways
total: 221,372 km (2006)
paved: 47,529 km (includes 3,891 km of expressways) (2006)
unpaved: 173,843 km (2006)
total: 4,080 km (2008)
paved: 4,080 km (includes 253 km of expressways) (2008)
Pipelines
209 km condensate, 2940 km gas, 1183 km liquid petroleum gas, 5117 km oil, 1151 km refined products (2013)
533 km condensate, 3277 km gas, 300 km liquid petroleum gas, 3287 km oil, 24 km oil/gas/water, 218 km refined products, 99 km water (2013)
Ports and terminals
major seaport(s): Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jeddah, King Abdulla, Yanbu'
container port(s) (TEUs): Ad Dammam (1,582,388), Jeddah (4,150,000), King Abdulla (1,695,322) (2017)
major 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 (15,368,000), Khor Fakkan (Khawr Fakkan) (Sharjah) (2,321,000) (2017)
LNG terminal(s) (export): Das Island
Merchant marine
total: 374
by type: bulk carrier 5, container ship 1, general cargo 20, oil tanker 57, other 291 (2019)
total: 637
by type: bulk carrier 2, general cargo 113, oil tanker 17, other 505 (2019)
Airports
total: 214 (2013)
total: 43 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways
total: 82 (2017)
over 3,047 m: 33 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 27 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2017)
under 914 m: 4 (2017)
total: 25 (2013)
over 3,047 m: 12 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 132 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 72 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 37 (2013)
under 914 m: 16 (2013)
total: 18 (2013)
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2013)
under 914 m: 6 (2013)
Heliports
10 (2013)
5 (2013)
National air transport system
number of registered air carriers: 12 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 230
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 39,141,660 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,085,470,000 mt-km (2018)
number of registered air carriers: 10 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 497
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 95,533,069 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 15,962,900,000 mt-km (2018)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix
HZ (2016)
A6 (2016)

Military

Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
Military branches
Ministry of Defense: Royal Saudi Land Forces, Royal Saudi Naval Forces (includes marines, special forces, naval aviation), Royal Saudi Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, Royal Saudi Strategic Missiles Force; Ministry of the National Guard (SANG); Ministry of Interior: Border Guard, Facilities Security Force (2020)
note: SANG (also known as the White Army) is a land force separate from the Ministry of Defense that is responsible for internal security, protecting the royal family, and external defense
United Arab Emirates Armed Forces: Land Forces, Navy, Air Force, Presidential Guard, Joint Aviation Command; Ministry of Interior: Critical Infrastructure Coastal Patrol Agency (CICPA) (2020)
Military service age and obligation
17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription; in 2018, women were allowed to serve as soldiers in the internal security services under certain requirements (2018)
18-30 years of age for compulsory military service for men; 17 years of age for male volunteers with parental approval; 24-month general service obligation, 16 months for secondary school graduates; women can volunteer to serve for 9 months regardless of education (2018)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP
8% of GDP (2019)
9.5% of GDP (2018)
10.2% of GDP (2017)
10% of GDP (2016)
13% of GDP (2015)
5.7% of GDP (2016)
5.6% of GDP (2014)
6% of GDP (2013)
5.1% of GDP (2012)
5.5% of GDP (2011)
no public data available for 2015 or after 2016

Transnational Issues

Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
Disputes - international

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

boundary 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

Illicit drugs
regularly enforces the death penalty for drug traffickers, with foreigners being convicted and executed disproportionately; improving anti-money-laundering legislation and enforcement
the 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

Source: CIA Factbook