The Emirates are bordered to the north by the Gulf and the Musandam Peninsula, to the east by Oman, to the south and west by Saudi Arabia and to the northwest by Qatar. They comprise a federation of seven small former sheikhdoms. Abu Dhabi is the largest Emirate, and the remainder (Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al Qaiwain) are known collectively as the Northern States. The land is mountainous and mostly desert. Abu Dhabi is flat and sandy, and within its boundaries is the Buraimi Oasis. Dubai has a 16km (10 mile) deep-water creek, giving it the popular name of ‘Pearl of the Gulf’. Sharjah has a deep-water port on the Batinah coast at Khor Fakkan, facing the Indian Ocean. Ras al-Khaimah is the fourth emirate in size. Fujairah, one of the three smaller sheikhdoms located on the Batinah coast, has agricultural potential, while Ajman and Umm al Qaiwain were once small coastal fishing villages.
Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken and used as a second language in commerce. Mostly Muslim, of which 16 per cent are Shiite and the remainder Sunni.
Social Conventions: Muslim religious laws should be observed. Women are expected to dress modestly and men should dress formally for most occasions. Alcohol is tolerated, with non-Muslims allowed to drink alcohol in the city's bars, restaurants, clubs and hotels. Smoking is the same as in Europe and in most cases it is obvious where not to smoke, except during Ramadan when it is illegal to eat, drink or smoke in public.
Oil and gas are the Emirates’ main industries, and underpin the country’s considerable prosperity. Outside the oil and gas sector, which includes refining and the production of oil-derived chemicals, most economic activity is government sponsored, and designed to diversify the economy and reduce dependence on oil. This strategy has been reasonably successful and the oil sector’s contribution to GDP is now down to about 45 per cent. Chemicals, aluminium and steel production are the most important of the new industries. Other newly established industries produce consumer goods for the domestic market. There is some agriculture, mostly livestock rearing, in what is an unfavourable climate; fishing is also significant.
The economy has boomed in recent years. GDP growth for 2005 was estimated to be 28.5 per cent. At the end of 2005, the International Monetary Fund predicted the UAE's economy would become the third largest in East and Central Asia. By 2006, the GDP is expected to reach US$150.9 billion. Most of the country’s economic development has been concentrated in the two richest and most powerful of the seven Emirates, Abu Dhabi and Dubai; the remainder are relatively underdeveloped. Today UAE is the destination of worlds oil and gas based industries center where hundres of MNC’s move their employees in to set up their units. Moving companies in UAE and international movers from all over the world offered excellent service to their customers as employers wanted only the quality international movers service. UAE is a member of OPEC, and of the Gulf Co-operation Council which is increasingly concerning itself with regional economic collaboration. Plans to establish a customs union among the six member states are well advanced, and the GCC has sought advice from the EU on the creation of a single currency.