Dubai is situated on the Arabian Peninsula’s eastern coast and in the Arabian Gulf’s southwest corner. The Sultanate of Oman is to its southeast. After the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which is located to the south, Dubai is the second largest emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Sharjah, the UAE’s third largest city, is 18 kilometers to the northeast.
The city of Dubai is around 35 square kilometers in size within the Emirate of Dubai, but it is planned to quadruple in size with the addition of five man-made islands and the completion of desert building work.
Dubai Geographical Location
The UAE is bordered on the north by the Arabian Sea, on the west and south by Saudi Arabia, and on the east by the Sultanate of Oman and the Gulf of Oman. There are roughly 83,000 km2 of surface area, with 1,318 km of coastline. The total coastline of Dubai is 60 kilometers but planned offshore projects will add more than 1,000 kilometers.
There are over 200 islands off the coast, the majority of which are uninhabited. Much of the country’s interior is desert, though there is a mountain range known as the Hajar Mountains that runs from the Gulf of Oman to Oman and forms the country’s backbone.
While the emirates do not yet have trains connecting them, they do have good highways and ports, making it a significant gateway to the rest of the Middle East.
The History of the Dubai
The Arabian Gulf’s southwest coast has always been a major trading hub, with records dating back to 3,000 BC indicating that there was commercial activity in the area. The area was conquered by many conquering powers over time, including the Portuguese and, more recently, the British.
After many pirate raids, Dubai and the other emirates agreed to the establishment of a British protectorate in 1892. The Trucial Coast, or the Trucial States, acquired the name for the area.
In 1968, the United Kingdom withdrew from the region, and the United Arab Emirates was formed three years later. Each emirate was given some autonomy under the agreement. The ruler of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, was voted president by the leaders of each emirate. His son, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was elected to succeed him after he died in 2004.
Dubai Politics and Government
The Supreme Council of Rulers, which is made up of the hereditary rulers of the seven emirates, governs the UAE. There is little difference between the royal families and the administration because the country is controlled by hereditary authority.
Education, defense, international affairs, communications, development, and ratification of federal legislation are all responsibilities of the Supreme Council of Rulers. It convenes four times a year, with the rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai having veto authority over decisions.
The President, or chief of state, and his Vice-President, now HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, are both elected from among the seven members. HH Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan are the President’s choices for Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, respectively. Each of them is elected for a five-year term.
The Federal National Council (FNC), a 40-member assembly below the Supreme Council, has the power to initiate and enforce laws. It can monitor and debate government policy but has no veto authority. The remaining members are elected after half of the members are appointed.
In 1971, the UAE became a member of the United Nations and the Arab League. It is also a Gulf Cooperation Council member (GCC).
The discovery of oil in the United Arab Emirates in the 1950s ushered in a massive economic boom for the country. Before it, the region’s economy was based on fishing and pearling. The country’s economy has changed dramatically since 1962 when Abu Dhabi became the first of the emirates to begin exporting oil. After Qatar, it is presently the second richest Arab country per capita. In 2008, the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita was US$26,210, according to UNICEF.
The UAE’s oil industry is still booming, and the country holds just under 10% of the world’s proven oil reserves. It is also home to the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves.
However, the UAE has worked hard to minimize its reliance on oil exports and has succeeded in developing thriving commercial, tourist, and construction industries.
The region has been hammered hard by the worldwide credit crunch in recent years, with Dubai being particularly hard hit. The property market has been badly affected, and jobs have been lost.
The climate in the UAE is subtropical and desert, with sunny blue skies and hot temperatures for most of the year. Rainfall is uncommon, falling on average 25 days per year, primarily during the winter months of December to March.
Temperatures range from roughly 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter to 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer. In January, the average daily temperature is 24°C (75°F), whereas, in August, the average daily temperature is 41°C (106°F).
The humidity level in the country ranges from 50 to 65 percent, with the optimum time to visit being in the cooler winter months when the temperatures are less oppressive and the humidity is lower.
The UAE has a low crime rate. Serious crime is estimated to be between 0.5 and one par 100,000 people in Dubai, compared to the international average of four to six per 100,000 people. Violent crimes and property crimes are uncommon, yet they do happen.
One of the most serious issues is traffic safety, with roughly 24 road deaths per 100,000 persons in the UAE. Every year, about 600 people die as a result of this. Driving is frequently dangerous, and drivers regularly drive too quickly.
Foreigners Living in the Dubai
Expats make up a major section of the population of the UAE, with over 80% of Dubai’s population hailing from outside the country. India has the largest expatriate group, accounting for more than 40% of the population. Americans, Australians, British, Bangladeshis, and Pakistanis are among the other big expatriate communities. Abu Dhabi has a similar situation, with nearly the same percentage of foreign residents.
As a result, the government is prepared to assist people in relocating to the UAE and settling in. Once sponsored by a local company or resident, visas are easy to get, and there are numerous companies set up to assist with the migration process.
Apart from lodging, the cost of living is low. The cost of renting an apartment or a house is prohibitively expensive. However, there is a wide range of lodging options available.
Although citizens are encouraged to have complete health insurance, health care is excellent and can be inexpensive. For expatriate children, there is no government-funded education, but there are several foreign schools, most of which are of a good grade.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a popular tourism destination in the Middle East. The majority of visitors to the United Arab Emirates stay in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, which both have over 60,000 hotel rooms or vacation apartments. In 2010, it is expected that 15 million visitors will visit Dubai.