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Dynamic location in the dynamic Arabian market
05. October 2010

Once a desert oasis, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are today a trendy metropolis, a commercial and cultural hotspot where the concepts of modernity, luxury and development are constantly redefined. 30 years ago the south coast of the lower Gulf region was a barren, scarcely populated piece of land, yet today it is one of the most vibrant and dynamic nations on Earth. Ammann has a long history of activity in the Gulf region and, for the past four years, has operated a subsidiary, Ammann NME, based in the Dubai Airport Free Zone. The office has a fully equipped service team and is able to provide spare parts to the markets of the Middle East, the Gulf region and North Africa with greater speed and efficiency.

The UAE is a confederation of seven Emirates in the south-east region of the Arabian peninsula in the Persian Gulf. Bordering with Oman and Saudi Arabia, the confederation measures 83,600 square kilometres and consists of the seven states of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah.
Prior to the establishment of the oil industry in the early 1960s, the traditional culture of the Emirates was characterised by two main directions. One of these was the oasis-cultivating, nomadic culture of desert-oriented Bedouins; the other was a culture of the sea that centred around pearl fishing and maritime trade. The resources generated from the discovery of oil in the region enabled modernisation on a huge scale. Towns were transformed from clay-hut societies to capitals of commerce. Urbanisation went hand in hand with a unique level of growth.
Today, Dubai and Abu Dhabi count among the most modern and progressive cities in the world. They can be justly proud of some of the most magnificent architectural masterpieces of all time. After all, Dubai is home to the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building standing at 828 metres, whilst Abu Dhabi boasts the largest mosque in the UAE, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Not to mention the shopping paradises both cities have to offer.

Multi-cultural population and nutrition

According to recent reports the population of the UAE has meanwhile reached 8 million, of which slightly less than 20% are nationals or Emiratis; 50% stem from South Asia and 23% are non-Emirati Arabs and Persians. Close to 1.75 million Indians live in the UAE. Dubai has a headcount of 1.6 million and is the region's most densely populated city. Legislation in the UAE is relatively liberal in comparison to other Arab states. The country has a civil code, although the Sharia or Islamic law still prevail with regard to certain aspects.
The heartland consists mainly of desert with a few oases, with the scraggy Hajar mountain range running through the country. The climate in the UAE is generally very hot and dry. The hottest months are July and August when average peak temperatures in the coastal plain exceed 50°C during the day.
Rice, fish and meat were always the traditional food of the Emirates. The people of the United Arab Emirates have adopted a large part of their nutrition from neighbouring countries, namely from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Fish and seafood have for centuries been the mainstay of the Emirate diet. Coffee and tea are popular beverages, to which cardamom, saffron or mint are often added to achieve a more distinct taste.

The way ahead
The economy of the UAE will probably continue to centre around the giant oil and gas reserves that are responsible for around one-third of the country's GDP, two-thirds of all exports and a large portion of public revenue. At the same time some Emirates, namely Abu Dhabi and Dubai, are undertaking significant endeavours to provide wide-spread support for their respective  economies with regard to securing long-term development and broad-based employment.
Abu Dhabi has invested heavily in aviation, defence and information technology (micro-processors) as well as in petro-chemical and clean-tech industries. The latter are best represented by the billion-dollar initiative to construct "Masdar Future City", a CO2 neutral eco-city outside of Abu Dhabi. Dubai has diversified by investing in tourism, information and communication technology, export and the financial sector. The country wants to utilise its geographical location at the head of the Gulf to revitalise and expand its historic reputation as a transshipment port.