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Abu Dhabi - Overview
Abu Dhabi, or 'Abu Zabi' in Arabic, occupies 86.7% of the area of the emirate of the same name. An expatriate community comprises more than 80% of its 850,000 strong population. Resting on a terrain that is largely desert, the city is known for its large expanses of greenery, sprawling boulevards, towering commercial and residential buildings and wide tree lined streets.
With a spurt in economic activity over the last decade, Abu Dhabi has faced a severe housing crunch, as well as problems of car parking and traffic congestion. Abu Dhabi lacks a public transport system, though the acute traffic and parking problem has necessitated a plan for a light railway network that would ply initially between the airport and the city center, and ultimately up to Dubai. Better linkages to the islands around Abu Dhabi where large scale projects are already underway would expand the city's population to almost 3 million by 2030.
Abu Dhabi is a prosperous city with the highest Gross Domestic Product and per capita income within the UAE The ruling family of the emirate has successfully veered the economy towards tourism and financial services, decreasing dependence on its large reserves of crude oil.
The lack of local human resources in its initial phases of growth attracted a large expatriate population from the Philippines and the Indian sub-continent. These comprise almost 70% of the expatriate community. Citizens of the UK, Africa and other countries of the Middle East account for rest of the expat population.
Tax-free salaries and a better standard of living attract expats to the city. The government of UAE, however, is pursuing a policy of Emiratisation, and urging the private sector to induct nationals into service. UAE nationals are now being absorbed in the insurance, banking and trade sectors where almost a 300% increase has been registered.
Working hours vary from straight shifts to split shifts. Split shift timings are from 8.00 AM to 1.00PM and again from 4.00 PM to 7 PM. The five day working week lasts Sunday to Thursday.
Weather-wise, Abu Dhabi is pleasant enough between October and April, as temperatures range between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius. Summer months between May and September are hot and sticky, and the outdoors is best avoided.
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