Excerpted from the United Arab Emirates Guide.
Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 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. Before oil was discovered, the UAE economy was dominated by pearl production, fishing, agriculture and herding. Since 1973, petroleum has been the main driver of the country’s economy, although the UAE’s efforts at economic diversification have succeeded in reducing the portion of its petroleum-based Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 25 percent. It is worth noting the country’s huge oil reserves could very well last more than 150 years.
The UAE’s relatively small local population enjoys the world's seventh-highest yearly per capita GDP of 48,158 USD, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The UAE, and particularly Dubai, is a commercial and business hub of the Middle East. It has developed a leading role in finance and created a logistics hub between east and west. It boasts the busiest man-made port in the world, Jebel Ali, where more than 6,000 companies from over 120 countries operate. The UAE is also home to two of the fastest-growing airlines in the world, Emirates and Etihad. The country has no corporate taxes (with the exception of banks and foreign oil companies that have concessions in UAE oilfields), no income taxes and a relatively low import duty of 5 percent. The UAE has an annual economy of 260.8 billion USD and excellent infrastructure.
While the country’s economic growth is not as strong as it has been in the past, the GDP is forecasted to expand at around 3 percent this year.
Key factors contributing to the UAE’s economic growth, according to Gulftalent.com, include:
· High oil prices
· Tourism growth following the Arab spring
· Dubai debt restructuring
· Financial sector weakness
This is just a sample of what you'll find in the complete United Arab Emirates Guide.