United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is a Western Asian country that lies along the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. This federation of seven emirates shares the same borders with Oman and Saudi Arabia and with maritime borders in the Persian Gulf. The nation’s culture is a fusion of Arabian, Persian, Indian, and East African cultures.

The nation has a diverse economy that relies on export, tourism, and fossil fuel extraction. Its high per capita income open economy makes a sizable trade surplus. UAE’s intense transformation from being an impoverished region into a modern nation with an utmost standard of living is mainly due to the discovery of oil over 30 years ago. Spending on job creation and infrastructure development has been ameliorated. In 2004, the country signed the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Washington. That same year, a Free Trade Agreement with the US was considered, however, it didn’t progress.

Due to the global recession, credit from international financial institutions, and declined asset prices, UAE’s economy went downward in 2009 and 2010. The economic crisis impacted Dubai the most as the city was exposed to decreased real estate prices and had insufficient funds to meet its obligations. The UAE Central Bank and some banks based in Abu Dhabi acquired the largest shares and in December 2009, Dubai received a $10 billion loan from Abu Dhabi. UAE’s economy is bound to continue to flourish, however, its dependency on oil, inflation pressures, and substantial expatriate manpower is the country’s long-term challenges.

The nation’s official currency, the Emirati dirham, was introduced in 1973, replacing several currencies such as the Qatar and Dubai riyals, and the Bahrain dinar. Pegged to the U.S dollar, the legal tender is among the most stable currencies in the world. Dirham banknotes feature religious sites, landmarks, falcons, and other famous buildings. None of the country’s banknotes ever feature a ruler or a significant personality. The first banknotes have a unified design on its obverse, reflecting a palm tree, a camel caravan, a sama’a dhow, and an oil derrick. The reverse of these notes shows cityscapes and buildings. The latest version of UAE banknotes is in bright colors and features traditional Arabic motifs.

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