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State structure

The Head of State of Abu Dhabi is the federal head of state of the United Arab Emirates. He chairs the Supreme Council, which is made up of the heads of state of the seven emirates and is the highest authority of the federation under the 1971 constitution, which was finally adopted in 1996. The centre of power lies in Abu Dhabi. The country has two female ministers: for economic affairs and for social affairs. At the federal level, government policy is also largely influenced by the ruler of Abu Dhabi and his family. Foreign policy and education in particular are federal affairs. Many of the other policy areas have shared responsibility. The Federal Council of Ministers consists of representatives from the various emirates. This also applies to the Supreme Court and the Federal National Council (FNC). The officials are appointed by the local authorities.


The UAE is a country where Islam and Arab identity are in the foreground. However, the country is averse to fundamentalism and tries to establish a tolerant and liberal society. It is to the personal credit of President Sheikh Zayed that the federation has remained politically united and has become an economic success. Traditionally, there has been stiff political competition between the different tribal societies, while the economic differences between oil-rich Abu Dhabi and the smaller dependent emirates have only grown in recent decades. Currently, however, there is a trend towards further economic and also political integration. For the current political situation, see the history section.


Although Dubai's economy was originally built on income from the oil industry, that income from oil and natural gas is no longer the emirates' main source of income. Dubai's oil reserves have been significantly reduced and are expected to be depleted in 20 years. The construction (22.6%), trade (16%), warehouse (15%) and financial services (11%) sectors are the largest contributors to Dubai's economy.


Elmar Landeninformatie

United Arab Emirates

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated June 2024
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