UAE at Glance
HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan 6 May 1918 – 2 November 2004) was the founding father and the principal driving force behind the formation of the UAE, uniting seven emirates and becoming the Union’s first President a post which he held for a period of almost 33 years (1971 until his death in 2004). He was also the ruler of Abu Dhabi for more than 30 years (6 August 1966– 2 November 2004). He is commonly referred to in the UAE as the Father of the Nation.
Zayed oversaw the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Arab Economic Development; some of its oil riches were channeled to some forty less fortunate Islamic nations in Asia and Africa during the decades that followed.
Using the country’s enormous oil revenues, Zayed built institutions such as hospitals, schools and universities and made it possible for UAE citizens to enjoy free access to them. He was also known for making donations to the tune of millions [pounds sterling] for worthy causes around the Arab World as well as in the neighbouring countries and in the world at large. For a country that’s only 50 years old, the UAE has accomplished a great many things. From a population of just over half a million in 1975 to almost 10 million in 2020, the growth of the UAE has been unprecedented. But did you know that it’s home to a tower that leans more than the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa, or that the national animal, the Arabian Oryx, was brought back from the brink of extinction?
The UAE population is made up of over 200 nationalities
In a population of 10 million, more than 80% of UAE residents are expats, originating from more than 200 countries around the world. Citizens from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Philippines make up the largest portion of expats in the UAE.
ADIA manages a substantial amount of capital, and is one of the world’s largest investment funds. Due to its size, the fund has been influential in international finance. In 2008, ADIA co-chaired the International Working Group of 26 sovereign wealth funds that produced the “Generally Accepted Principles and Practices of sovereign wealth funds” (known as the Santiago Principles). These principles were created to demonstrate to home and recipient countries and the international financial markets that sovereign wealth funds had robust internal frameworks and governance practices and that their investments were made only on an economic and financial basis.
The UAE was the first country in the world to appoint a minister for artificial intelligence. Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama while Abu Dhabi’s Capital Gate building leans more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
In 2010, the mixed use hotel and office building was certified as the World’s Furthest Leaning Manmade Tower by Guinness World Records. The Capital Gate building leans at 18 degrees – that’s over four times that of Italy’s famous leaning Tower of Pisa.
The Arabian Oryx is the national animal of the UAE
A species of antelope native to the Arabian desert, it is also the national animal of Oman, Bahrain and Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. By 1972, there were no Arabian oryx left in the wild, but thanks to conservation and breeding efforts, by 1980 a number of those in captivity were released back into the wild and in 2011 the species went from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’. It’s the first species in the world to have done so, having previously been regarded as extinct in the wild.
Six of the world’s tallest hotels are in the UAE
Dubai International Airport
The biggest is Dubai International Airport ranked as the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic. It’s held the title for six consecutive years. It holds some pretty unusual world records Of the many, many Guinness World Records the UAE holds there are well-known feats such as the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower and largest picture frame for Dubai Frame, but there are also some more obscure ones. For example, the UAE holds the record for the most dominoes toppled in a circle field (it was 89,995 in case you were curious), the heaviest vehicle pulled by hair and the fastest 10 meters completed by a horse on its hind legs It’s home to the safest city in the world
Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, has been ranked as the safest city in the world four years running. In 2020, both Sharjah and Dubai also ranked in the top 10, coming in at fifth and seventh place respectively.