United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

Kaushal Shah

Country Expert

United Arab Emirates Statistics

The UAE is an active leading country in the field of clean and renewable energy worldwide. Its immense efforts culminated by choosing Abu Dhabi to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy (Irena).The UAE produces 2.7 million barrels of oil per day and has the seventh-largest oil reserves in the world.
In 2018 United Arab Emirates was the number 28 economy in the world in terms of GDP (current US$), the number 26 in total exports, the number 21 in total imports, and the number 55 most complex economy according to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI). In 2018, United Arab Emirates exported $242B and imported $232B, resulting in a positive trade balance of $9.67B. In 2018, United Arab Emirates’s exports per capita were $25.1k and its imports per capita were $24.1k.
$ 1 billion
GDP in USD trillion
Population (2019)
Area ( km. sq. )
Import Of United Arab Emirates

In 2018 United Arab Emirates imported $232B, making it the number 21 trade destination in the world.
Main Import Countries

Export Of United Arab Emirates

In 2018 United Arab Emirates exported a total of $242B, making it the number 26 exporter in the world.
Main Export Countries

Major Sectors

Tourism Oil Industry Agriculture E-commerce Industry

The United Arab Emirates has promoted tourism in the recent past in trying to diversify the economy of the country. Some of the attractions of tourist are mainly based on shopping, and there are other ancient and modern attractions spread across the country. In 2018, Dubai was ranked as the world’s leading most visited City by foreign tourists. In 2009, the country signed an agreement of cooperation in tourism with Lebanon, and the country has witnessed a growth in tourism ever since. In 2014, Dubai attracted about 13.2 million visitors, and most of them were particularly from the neighboring Arab States, and others were from different countries around the world. According to the tourism board of Dubai, there were 15.79 million visitors in 2017 to Dubai, and the government estimates that by 2020, the visitors to Dubai would be about 20 million people. The country has a modest dressing code which is part of the country’s criminal law, and short dresses and sleeveless tops may not be allowed in public.

According to the government of the UAE, the country has oil reserves estimated to be about 98.6 3 billion barrels, and most of these are located in Abu Dhabi which is estimated to be about 92 billion barrels while Dubai has approximately 4 billion barrels, and the Emirates of Sharjah is believed to have 1.5 billion barrels. Zakum oil field contains most of the oil in the country and is the 3rd largest oil field in the Middle East hosting about 66 billion barrels of oil. The country produces an average of 2.9 billion barrels of oil every day, and the country is planning to raise oil production to 5 million barrels a day by 2030. The state-owned, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is the 12th largest company in the world and is responsible for much of the oil produced in the UAE. The company has 16 subsidiaries, and all are involved in different stages of oil production, and it works in different oil and gas fields located in offshore and onshore. ADNOC also has two major Oil refineries, which are found at Umm Al Nar and Ruwais.

Agriculture in UAE account for a small part of the country's economy, and as of the early 1990s, it accounted for less than 4% of the GDP. Some of the main farming areas in the country include Digdagah in Ras al-Khaimah. Other areas in Umm al Qawain, Al awir in Dubai, Wadi Adh Dhayd in Sharjah and other coastal areas around al-Fujairah like Haribo are suitable for agriculture. The total arable land in the United Arab Emirates is about 160,000 hectares. Some of the main crops cultivated in the country include date palms, which by the 1990s were about four million plants. The crops are cultivated mainly in small Oasis, and both the Emirates on the federal government provide farmers with incentives. The government gives about 50% subsidy on pesticides, seeds, and fertilizers. The government also gives loans on machinery and other technical assistance. The country has about 41 agricultural extension units and numerous other agricultural research stations and experimental farms. The number of farmers in the UAE increased from 4,000 in the 1970s to standard 18,265 in 1988. Some of the challenges facing the development of Agriculture in the country include limited arable land, occasional swarms of locusts, intense heat, and limited supplies of water.

Emirati e-commerce has one of the highest growths in recent years, and is the most dynamic market across the MENA region, as well as the e-commerce leader among GCC states. Between 2013 and 2017, online retail sales are believed to have grown from US$ 490 million to US$ 1.6 billion. The total value of the e-commerce market is expected to rise exponentially in 2018, ranging between US$ 8.98 billion and US$ 10 billion according to forecasts. Overall, the market is expected to grow at an average rate of 25% per year by 2020. Growth in the e-commerce market is forecast to be fuelled to a large extent by mobile, as the UAE have the highest smartphone penetration rate in the world (81% in 2017 according to a Newzoo survey). Smartphone usage is reported to be even higher among millennials (over 90% according to a Google survey). The share of mobile use in regular online purchases is already higher than laptops and desk computers (47% as opposed to 39% - Hootsuite). Cross-border shopping is extremely popular in the UAE, with 46% of consumers saying they have purchased from foreign websites in 2017 (PayPal 2018). American websites were by far the most visited e-commerce platforms, followed by Indian and Chinese websites. Souq.com, Cobone.com and Sukar.com are the largest locally-based e-commerce websites. The acquisition of Souq.com by Amazon, and the launch of Noon.com by Emaar Group in 2017 are believed to further invigorate the Emirati e-commerce market.

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