After only 34 years in existence, the UAE ranks as the second largest economic power in the Arab world, second only to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This year, the country's gross domestic product will reportedly grow by an additional ten percent, maintaining its phenomenal regional economic power.
The country's economy has come a long way, though is was considered negligible upon establishment. However, it ranked 11th in the Arab world four years after the federation, and by 1990, its economy ranked fifth in the region. By 2000, it ranked third after Saudi Arabia and Egypt, according to WAM.
Several factors led to such an impressive growth, including a rise in oil prices, an increase in the UAE's crude oil and gas production, as well as a steady growth in the non-oil sector, especially in the services and manufacturing sectors.
In addition, a massive government economic diversification drive also led to economic growth for the country.
The International Monetary Fund, which has lauded the country for its economic achievements, has urged the emirates to implement reforms that will minimize the impact of oil on the economy and widen the non-oil sector.
In 2004, the UAE's GDP hit a record Dh328.7 billion, an increase of nearly 19.7 percent over the 2003 GDP of Dh274.8 billion. Real GDP growth stands at around 10 percent and officials expect similar growth for 2005.
Investment also grew in the country, increasing to a record Dh81.2 billion in 2004 from Dh73.1 billion in 2003 and Dh62.4 billion in 2002.
Exports reached Dh303 billion last year while the balance of payment stood at Dh12.8 billion in 2004 compared with Dh4.7 billion in 2003.