Formed in 1971, the United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven states or emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah, and Fujairah. A member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, it is situated along the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, with an extensive coastline and more than 200 islands.
Abu Dhabi is the country's capital and political centre as well as the largest of the emirates, with significant oil reserves. The UAE's commercial capital is Dubai, which has also developed globally-recognised tourism and retail destination.
The UAE has a world-class infrastructure, as well as a number of free zones, allowing foreign countries to set up tax free bases and operations.
With a population of around nine million, the UAE is a diverse and cosmopolitan nation. Around 80 per cent of the population is expatriate.