The UAE currently possesses an open economy that boasts a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Economic diversification in recent years has reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas to 25%.
The discovery of oil in the UAE 25 years ago has led to a substantial transformation. The Emirates have grown from a number of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. Job creation and infrastructure have increased substantially, and private sector involvement has grown.
The global financial crisis constricted the economy in 2009, with Dubai being hit the hardest as a result of depressed real estate prices. The UAEs strategic economic plan for the next five years will be based around further diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through both improved education and increased private sector employment.
Composition of GDP (2013)