The United Arab Emirates also known as ( U.A.E.) is a alliance of seven states formed in 1971 by the then Trucial States, after the truce came independence from Great Britain. Since then it has gone from a quiet corner in the Middle East to one of the main monetary centres of the Gulf. Although each state - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al Qaiwain - maintains a high degree of self-rule, the UAE is governed by a Supreme Council of Sovereigns, which consists of seven Emirates, who appoint the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Before crude oil was discovered in the 1950`s the financial system of the United Arab Emirates had relied on the fishing and pearling industry which was then in decline. But since 1962, when Abu Dhabi became the first of the emirates to begin exporting oil, the country's economy and culture have changed dramatically. The late Sheikh Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the UAE at its commencement, was quick to make use of the potential within the oil industry. He overlooked the development of all the Emirates and directed oil revenues into healthcare, education and national infrastructure such as roads and buildings. The oil industry has attracted a large influx of foreign workers, together with expatriates, who now account for more than three-quarters of its residents. However, the authorities in the U.A.E. also tried to reduce its dependence on oil exports through diversification of the economy, creating booming markets of tourism, construction and real estate.
Although Abu Dhabi has remained relatively conventional in its approach, Dubai, which has far less oil reserves, has been bolder in its diversification policies. Especially in the credit boom that was built after 2000, Dubai has sought to make itself the financial gateway and the cosmopolitan centre of the Middle East and arguably the World. It also began to attract huge foreign investment and construction projects, the most famous skyscraper Burj Dubai now Burj Khalifa - starting in 2006, the highest artificial structure ever built - and futuristic projects for rehabilitation of land, shaped like a palm namely Palm Jumeirah. The freezing of credit markets around the world seemed ready to hit Dubai harder than oil-rich Abu Dhabi, prompting speculation that the UAE`s balance of power could be transferred back to the centre of the traditional policy, which we have yet to see.
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