The UAE has the second largest economy in the GCC and also the Arab world (after Saudi Arabia). In 2012 its GDP was USD 377bn — at least a third of the GDP results from oil revenues. In per capita terms, Emiratis (nationals of the UAE) are among the richest in the world.
|The UAE has a relatively high Human Development Index among the Asian continent, ranking forty-first globally. In 2011, UAE is ranked as the 14th best nation in the world for doing business based on its economy and regulatory environment, ranked by the Doing Business 2011 Report published by the World Bank Group.
Petroleum and natural gas exports play an important role in the economy, especially in Abu Dhabi. More than 85% of the UAE’s economy was based on the exports of natural resources in 2009. Since 2008 however, the UAE has tried to reduce its dependency on oil exports by diversifying the economy, particularly in the financial, tourism and construction sectors. While Abu Dhabi remained relatively conservative in its approach, Dubai, which has far smaller oil reserves, was bolder in its diversification policy, which has been in place since the early 1990s.
The UAE’s economy, particularly that of Dubai, was badly hit by the financial crisis of 2007–2010. In 2009, the country’s economy shrank by 4.00% and the property sector and construction went into decline. However, tourism, trade and the retail sector remain buoyant and these sectors, along with the UAE’s overseas investments, have now resulted in a full economic recovery.