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Government and Economy

United Arab Emirates (UAE) - Government and Economy


The Supreme Council

Budgets and fiscal matters, international agreements and treaties, federal laws and decrees are all dealt with by the Supreme Council. The Supreme Council is made up of the ruler of each of the individual emirates and it is from here the presidential elections are decided. The President and Vice-President both hold office for a term of five years after which time the Supreme Council reaffirms the existing posts or elects new presidents.

Council Of Ministers

The Council Of Ministers is headed by the Prime Minister and is the executive authority for the Federation. The 22 members manage all the foreign and internal affairs of the federation under the constitutional and federal laws.

The Federal National Council

Taking both a supervisory and legislative role the FNC is a member of the Arab Parliamentary Union and the International Parliamentary Union. Until recently the number of members an emirate had on the FNC were based on the size and population of the emirate and chosen by its ruler. The new election system that was put in place in 2006 is slightly more complex but has resulted in the election of a woman, for the first time ever, to the FNC. To be elected to the FNC members have to be literate, at least 25 years old and citizens of the emirate they represent.

The Federal Judiciary

The Supreme Court and the Courts of First Instance are included in the Federal Judiciary. The president and five judges of the Federal Judiciary are chosen by the Supreme Council of Rulers and decide if federal laws are constitutional. They mediate between emirates to solve problems and if any senior officials or cabinet ministers are involved in disputes they will be tried by the Federal Judiciary.

Local Governments

The seven emirates each have their own local government according to their size and population and all follow a general pattern of departments and municipalities. The Constitution lays down the rules between the federal and local governments but this is changing over time to meet the needs of this expanding country. Each emirate has considerable powers and is holds control over its own revenues and mineral rights, particularly where oil is concerned.

Federal Government

The list of responsibilities of the federal government is very long indeed. It includes the following; extradition of criminals and delimitation of territorial waters, air traffic control, public health, communication services, currency, education, immigration and nationality issues as well as foreign affairs and security and defence.

Foreign Policy

The UAE believe that it is better not to interfere in the affairs of other countries but if necessary they will help towards finding peaceful solutions with the help of organisations such as the United Nations. As a country with a stable economy the UAE are very keen on helping with disasters around the world and have the Red Crescent Society, The Zayed Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. Many billions of dirhams are allocated as loans and grants to help others and at the last count 52 countries had received aid from the UAE.

The President

Having learned “the need for patience and prudence in all things” from his late father, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi was elected in November 1971.

Sheikh Khalifa is a firm believer in re-structuring, not just in governmental terms but in the way his people help their own country and see their duties towards society.

Since taking up office Sheikh Khalifa has travelled extensively throughout the country and in particular the Northern Emirates. Here he has authorised the building of projects relating to social services, education and housing.

As the ruler of Abu Dhabi as well as the UAE president Sheikh Khalifa has made major changes to his own local government. A lot of time and money has been invested in his community to improve services and efficiency.

Sheikh Khalifa is also a member of the GCC, the Gulf Corporation Council and has exchanged visits with other leaders many times. He is firm believer that the GCC will enjoy success and achievement if the leaders set a good example.


The booming oil industry in the UAE has been attracting expats from all over the world for a number of years now and there are many job opportunities, not just with oil, but in banking, real estate or tourism. Many international companies have headquarters here and the income per head is one of the highest in the world.

Dubai is the most popular destination for expats with its free trading zone and international atmosphere. Outside of Dubai it is harder to get a foot in the door for companies as the law states a business must be at least 51% locally owned. The UAE is a young modern country with a strong economy and the expats and companies investing their time and money here can reap the rewards.

The UAE central bank projected 4% growth in 2012 and 2013 and despite the downturn of the economy globally the UAE is proving to be remarkably resilient.

Being the world’s seventh largest oil producer probably helps contribute to this as well a huge increase in tourism, transport and trade. The emirates have solidarity among themselves and this with the restructuring of debts from high profile companies have all played a part in keeping the UAE stable.

The UAE is still considered to be one of the most politically secure and stable countries in the region and the troubles in the Middle East and North Africa have little or no impact, therefore making it an ideal place for investment and tourism.

Read more about this country

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