How Is The United Arab Emirates Economy?

The UAE is an elected monarchy federation of seven sovereign states: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain and Sharjah. The economy of the UAE is the 4th largest in the Middle East. The UAE’s income per capita is with USD 51,305.69 in 2022, among the highest in the world. 

Founded on the abundant oil reserves and the traditional pearl trade, the UAE’s economy has evolved to incorporate a wide range of non-oil sectors, transitioning from a hydrocarbon-dependent economy to a diversified, dynamic hub for global trade and finance. Oil and gas still remain the most important sector directly contributing over 30% to its GDP followed by wholesale and retail trade accounting for (13.6%), financial and insurance activities (9.8%) and manufacturing (9.7%) among others. Among the seven emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have achieved global recognition for their robust economies. While Abu Dhabi, holding 94% of the UAE’s oil reserves, has maintained a steady stream of oil revenue, Dubai has primarily propelled its economy through trade, tourism, real estate, and financial services.

The UAE is a major player in international trade, with considerable ports, airports and roads that serve as critical transit points for goods traveling between Europe, Africa, and Asia. The UAE export is dominated by oil and gas (54%), followed by pearls, precious stones, metals, and coins with 14%. Given the higher export growth compared to imports, the trade balance in the UAE is consistently surplus. 

The country’s strategic geographic location, advanced infrastructure, business-friendly environment, and political stability have also helped to shape it into an attractive destination for foreign direct investment. In 2022, the UNCTAD investment report ranked the UAE as the 19th most competitive region in the world regarding attracting FDI. The UAE also emerged as the 12th most competitive country in the world, according to the IMD’s World Competitiveness Report in 2022 illustrating the nation’s continued efforts towards enhancing its economic capabilities and competitiveness on a global scale.

An integral part of the UAE’s economic structure is its extensive network of 46 economic free trade zones, offering unique advantages to expatriates, foreign investors, and businesses, such as 100% tax and customs duty exemptions, 100% foreign ownership, zero restrictions on repatriation of profits, straightforward business set-up, and sophisticated infrastructure. This has not only additionally encouraged international investment inflow, but also prompted the establishment of various industry-specific hubs (cryptocurrency hubs, investment hubs), fostering innovation and trade across sectors. 

Below is a detailed breakdown of the national income of the UAE, followed by an in-depth assessment of the four major sectors of the UAE economy (real, financial, public and external sector).

What is The United Arab Emirates National Income?

What Is the UAE‘s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?

The gross domestic product (GDP) in the UAE in 2022 was worth $503 billion (AED 1.84 trillion). The UAE’s GDP is projected to grow by 3.9% in 2023. Factors affecting the slower economic growth of the UAE in 2023 include inflation shocks, OPEC production cuts (the UAE has cut oil production by 144,000 barrels per day) and the rise of interest rates (these increase the cost of funds, preventing the non-oil sector from receiving greater credit access, leading to lower production and consumption and, thus, slower economic growth).

What is the UAE’s Gross National Income (GNI)?

Gross national income is a metric that refers to national income that measures the total income brought by a country’s citizens into the country, including foreign investment. 

The gross national income (GNI) in the UAE in 2023 is expected to be around USD 427.91 billion and to reach US$0.45tn by 2025. The UAE was ranked 13th globally in its GNI per capita in 2022. This positive GNI trend signals the future growth of the region’s economy. 

What is the UAE’s Gross National Product (GNP)?

Gross national product refers to the total net income of a country including income produced by its citizens living abroad ( including income that has not been transferred). 

The gross national product of the United Arab Emirates in 2020 was USD 387.96 billion. 

How Large is The UAE Economy Compared To The World’s

The UAE was ranked as the 32nd largest economy globally in 2022 and 4th largest in the Middle East. Furthermore, the UAE is ranked 34th globally in terms of constant GDP. Due to abundant oil rents and a relatively small population, the GDP per capita is one of the highest in the world. Additionally, the 2023 World Citizenship Report ranked the UAE as the region with the biggest potential for economic opportunities and investments in the Arab world. This is a result of the UAE government’s consistent reforms of various sectors to enhance the region’s GDP including, long-term visas, free income tax policy, low corporate tax, and full foreign ownership policy.

Below is a detailed breakdown of the four major sectors of the UAE economy, starting with the real sector.

How Is The Real Sector Of The United Arab Emirates Economy?

What is The UAE’s Consumer Spending?

According to Trading Economics analysts, consumer spending in the UAE is expected to reach 501896.00 AED Million in 2023. Sources of spending are evenly distributed across economic sectors, including entertainment (29%), retail (11%), fashion (25%) and hypermarkets (11%). Despite the inflation shock in the economy, the consistent increase in consumption spending indicates robust domestic demand and strong economic fundamentals in the UAE. 

What Is The UAE’s Investment Spending?

The UAE’s Investment spending accounted for 22.8 % of its GDP in 2020. The investment share of nominal GDP of the UAE has an average ratio of 20.2%. The Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) in the United Arab Emirates increased from 270277.44 AED Million in 2019 to 286073.90 AED Million in 2020, which indicates greater investment during the period. Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) is composed of investments from resident producers, deducting disposals, given in terms of fixed assets in a certain period.

What Is The UAE’s Consumer and Business Confidence?

Consumer confidence index in the UAE increased for 19.46%, from June 2019 to January 2022. Consumer confidence reflects a household’s expectation regarding future economic conditions. The higher the score, the higher optimism of the consumers, and vice versa. 

Business confidence index in the UAE was 54.1 in January 2023. It shows a small decline compared to 2022 when the confidence index was 56.1. Business confidence in the UAE is less stable than consumer confidence. Business confidence reflects firm’s expectations toward future economic conditions. It is measured using the purchasing manager’s index. 

What is The UAE’s Competitiveness Rank?

The economy of the UAE was ranked 10th on the global competitiveness index in 2022. The World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness report shows that the UAE’s competitiveness ranking has been consistently under the top 15 since 2000. 

The competitiveness index is created by IMD, considering 15 economy key areas. The UAE’s strongest indicators include a business-friendly environment, dynamism of the economy, reliable infrastructure, competitive tax regime, and government competency. The areas of the economy that require improvement include effective labor relations, legal environment, R&D culture, quality of corporate governance, and high educational level.

What Is The Unemployment Rate in the UAE?

The unemployment rate in the UAE was 2.75% in 2022. The UAE is among countries with the lowest unemployment rates globally. 

The labor force in the region is dominated by expatriate workers, with the majority being from South Asia and Egypt. Regarding job vacancy rate, the number of available job positions in the UAE has increased by 20% in the first quarter of 2023. Banking and financial services dominate the vacancy, followed by the technology and human sectors, which increased by slightly less than 20% and 10%, respectively. 

What Is The UAE’s Average and Minimum Wage Income?

The average monthly salary in the UAE was AED 16,500 in 2022. However, the salary amount can vary from 4,370 AED (lowest average) to up to 90,100 AED (highest average) depending on various factors, such as working location, educational degree, experience, and even gender. Among the emirates, Dubai has the highest average monthly salary with AED 16,500, followed by Abu Dhabi with AED 15,357. 

The minimum wage in the UAE is not specifically regulated, but only requires that wage to cover employees’ basic needs.

How Is The Financial Sector Of The United Arab Emirates Economy?

How is the UAE Currency market?

The official currency of the UAE is the Emirati Dirham, abbreviated as AED. The Dirham was adopted in 1973 and exchanged on par with Dinar in Bahrain and Riyal in Qatar and Dubai.

In 1997 the AED was pegged to the US dollar at USD 1 to AED 3.67. with the aim to maintain the stability of oil prices and trade between the two nations. Based on the exchange rate peg, the UAE dirham (AED) remains a strong and stable currency.

What Is UAE’s Inflation Rate?

The inflation rate in UAE was 3.5% in May 2023. Inflation has been manageable since the beginning of 2023, declining from 4.58% in January 2023 to 3.05% in May. The 2023 World Economic Forum estimates that the global living cost crisis will adversely impact the UAE’s businesses in the coming two years. The declining pattern of inflation is a result of contractionary monetary policy from the central bank. 

What is UAE’s Interest rate?

The interest rate in the UAE was 5.15% in June 2023. From 2019 to 2022, the interest rate was declining as a consequence of the AED being pegged to the US dollar.The interest rate reached its lowest level in late 2022 (close to zero), before its gradual hike to its highest level at 5.15% in May 2023. The decline of interest rate was taken to stimulate the economy during COVID pandemic through the reduction of funding cost and hence increased credit growth. 

How Is UAE’s Stock Market?

The UAE stock markets (DFM and ADX) ranked second globally in terms of performance in 2022. Measured in US dollar terms, they ranked 1st with a substantial increase of 37 per cent. The market indexes of the DFM and ADX in 2022 were 3336.07 and 10,481.9 respectively. However, the UAE stock market closed in red numbers in May 2023. The ADX index fell by -0.40%, while the DFM index fell by -0.30%. The fall was triggered by the fear of the US banking sector since the peg between AED and USD created a tight economic connection between the two nations.

There are three main stock exchanges in the UAE: Dubai Financial Market (DFM), Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange (ADX), and NASDAQ Dubai. The DFM and ADX are regulated and supervised by the Securities and Commodities Authorities (SAC), while NASDAQ Dubai is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

How Is The UAE’s Domestic Credit to Private Sector Growth?

The domestic credit to private sector growth in UAE was 6.50% in October 2022. It has been weakening since then and fell to 4.4% in April 2023. Domestic credit to private sector in the UAE was 77.53% GDP in 2021.

Domestic credit to the private sector is a key indicator of the banking sector’s health. A healthy economy corresponds to the growth of credit, as it indicates that the banking sector is fully functional in intermediating funds from depositors to banking customers (firms and households). From the supply side, the fear of recession, followed by persistent tightening monetary policy, has made the UAE banking sector more risk-averse in intermediating credit to households and firms. From the demand side, the fear of recession also reduces credit demand, which is expected to lower the UAE’s economic growth in the future.

How Is The Public Sector Of The United Arab Emirates Economy?

What Is The UAE’s Government Spending?

The UAE government spending for 2023 is AED 63.06 billion. Total revenue in 2023 is estimated at 63.6 billion, which is a surplus of AED 0.54 billion. Government budget allocation in the UAE has increased in the last four years except during the pandemic in 2020. The consistent increase in budget allocation reflects the government’s strong commitment to the UAE’s social and economic development. 

What Is UAE’s Government Debt to GDP Ratio?

The government debt to GDP ratio in UAE in 2022 was 29.96%. The ratio is estimated to decline and fall to 25.16% by 2028. This level of debt makes the UAE market less risky compared to economies in the West. The ratio in the United States was 128% and 80.3% in the United Kingdom in 2023. 

What Is UAE’s Credit Rating?

Fitch’s credit rating for UAE in 2022 stands at AA-. The ranking indicates stable public debt management, stable outlook, and high GDP per capita. The AA- rating also demonstrates the region’s creditworthiness and its ability to reduce its public debt-to-GDP ratio. In the last four years, the credit rating of the UAE has been considered stable.

What Is UAE’s Government Budget Balance?

The UAE’s government budget balance in relation with its GDP in 2022 was 10.50%.The budget balance is estimated to decrease to 2.8% by 2028.  Besides reflecting the government’s increased prudentialism in managing spending, the surplus also reflects the rising public trust in the government through the increased tax revenue. In 2022, total government revenue grew by 28.7%, which was dominated by the rise of tax revenue of more than 60%. 

How Is The External Sector Of The United Arab Emirates Economy?

What Is UAE’s Trade Balance and Current Account?

The UAE’s current account balance surplus is 11.70% GDP in 2022. Its trade balance shows a consistent surplus over the last two decades. Based on the projection of the IMF, the export growth of the UAE will decline to -1.2% in 2023, while import is projected to grow by 0.60%. The recovery is predicted to be seen in 2024.

The trade balance is an external indicator that measures a country’s competitiveness through the difference between export and import. The current account refers to the total trade balance and interest services. 

What Is UAE’s Export?

The UAE’s total export was recorded at AED 2.06 trillion in 2022, which is the highest export value in the country’s history. The IMF projects the UAE export to be weakened in 2023 with a small decline of -1.2%. The total export of goods was 79.33%, and the export of  services was 20.66%. Mineral fuels, oils, and distillation products dominated the export in the region, accounting for 51% of the total export on average, followed by pearls, precious stones, metals, and coins which accounted (14%), electrical and electronic equipment (8%), machinery, nuclear reactors and boilers (4.4%), among others. In 2021, the UAE was the world’s biggest exporter of Sulphur (USD 937 million), Limestone (USD 553 million), and Gravel and Crushed Stone (USD 371 million). The UAE’s export spans over 180 countries. The top trading partners of the UAE are Saudi Arabia (12%), India (11%), Iraq (6.6%), Hong Kong (5%), and Oman (4.70%).

What Is UAE’s Import?

The UAE was ranked 12th in imports of goods and 18th globally in services imports in 2022. The UAE’s total import value was recorded at AED 1.90 trillion in 2022. Imports consisted of goods (81.73%) and imported services (18.26%). Pearls, precious stones, metals and coins represent 21% of the imports, followed by commodities (15%), electrical and electronic equipment (12%), mineral fuels, oils and distillation products (11%), and machinery, nuclear reactors, and boilers (8.2%). In 2021, United Arab Emirates was the world’s biggest importer of Tugboats (USD 1.02 billion) and Pitch Coke (USD 136 million). The majority of imports come from China (19%), followed by India (7.8%), the United States (6.3%), Japan (4.0%) and Turkey (3.6%). The IMF projects the UAE imports to be weakened by -0.6% in 2023.

What Are Foreign Direct Investments in UAE?

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United Arab Emirates saw a surged of 80% compared to the previous year, 2021.The UAE was ranked 19th in the world and 1st in the MENA region by the UNCTAD in attracting FDI in 2022. The sectors with the biggest inflow were oil and energy, accounting for 59% of the total investment, followed by the ICT sector (10%), the financial sector (7%), and real estate (7%). Most inflow investments come from West Asia, MENA countries, and the Arab world. 

The outflow FDI to GDP ratio in UAE was 3.5% in 2018 and 5.4% in 2021. In terms of monetary value, the UAE’s outflow investment was recorded at USD 215 billion in 2021, an 11.7% increase compared to the previous years. The largest country recipient of the outflow investment was the United States, which increased by 143% in 2021 compared to 2020.

What Are The Main Sectors Of The United Arab Emirates National Income?

Oil and Gas Sector

The oil and gas sector (hydrocarbon) is the biggest in the UAE, contributing over 50% to the national income of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is, with 3.2 million barrels of oil per day, the world’s seventh-greatest oil and gas producer. Among the UAE emirates, Abu Dhabi produces 94%, followed by Dubai with 4%, Ras-Alkhaimah 1.5%, and Sharjah 0.5%. Despite its major economic role, oil’s ability to produce profits relative to GDP over the last four years has declined. The ratio of oil rents to GDP was 17.1% in 2018, which fell to 10.49% in 2020 and started rebounding to 15.67% in 2021. 

Real Estate Sector

The real estate sector accounts for 5.5% of the UAE’s national income. The real estate market in the UAE showed significant progress between 2022 and 2023 with an average increase of residential sales prices In Dubai and Abu Dhabi by 10% and 3% respectively. The occupancy rate also increased by 72% in Dubai and 69% in Abu Dhabi from January to November 2022. Furthermore, in the first quarter of 2023, the average apartment rents increased by 11.7% in Dubai and 1.1% in Abu Dhabi. 

Major factors that contributed to the rise of the UAE real estate market include resilient fundamentals of the UAE economy, reforms in tax laws and business procedures. Despite the progressive recovery, future challenges that threaten the UAE real estate market include rising interest rates because of higher mortgage costs. 

Tourism Sector

According to The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the tourism sector contributed AED 117.6 billion (9% GDP) to the national income of the UAE in 2022. International arrivals slightly increased in 2022 to 14.36 million after a significant decline of over 68.03% between 2020 and 2021. The WTTC expects the UAE travel and tourism sector contribution to grow to AED 180.6 billion in 2023 and match its all-time peak of 2019. 

Most tourists travel to the UAE from India (13%), followed by Oman (8%), Saudi Arabia (8%), and the UK (7%). The number of tourist arrivals is expected to grow to 27.26 million by 2028. The UAE government is currently adopting 25 initiatives to support tourism development in the region, including improving transportation and aviation, hospitality, developing tourist data centers, and inviting foreign companies to invest in the sector. Their goal is to reach 40 million tourist arrivals across the next seven years. 

Manufacturing Sector

The manufacturing sector contributed AED 180 billion (10.67% GDP) to the national income of the UAE in 2022. It is expected that the manufacturing sector will reach 11.77% GDP in 2023. The manufacturing sector has demonstrated an increasing trend in the last four years, considering its value ratio to GDP. The ratio was 9% GDP in 2018, 8.85% in 2019, 10.28% in 2020 and 10.37% in 2021. 

The UAE government plans to increase the manufacturing sector’s contribution to USD 81 billion over the next decade. It has signed multiple initiatives, including the agreement with Emirates Development Bank to improve the manufacturing sector in the region, the “Operation 300bn”, which is the government strategy to develop the UAE’s industrial sector through joint forces with local, private, and federal institutions and a program named “Industrialist Program” to train national labors with skills in the manufacturing sector. 

Jewellery Sector

The UAE jewellery sector contributed USD 7.28 billion to the national income of the UAE in 2021, with luxury goods representing 55%. The jewellery sector is expected to grow by 6.53% annually (CAGR) and reach USD 7.76 billion in 2022 and 8.26 billion in 2023. The share of luxury goods is estimated to increase and reach 58% by 2025. 

Pearls, precious stones, metals, and coins dominate both export and import activity in the UAE. Jewellery is the second largest exported commodity after oil and gas, accounting for 14%. It is also the largest imported commodity accounting for 21% of the total import. 

Gold price in the UAE increased by 52.59% from AED 4701.30 in January 2019 per oz to AED 7170.80 per oz in June 2023.

Financial Trading and Investing Service Sector

Financial trading and investing services in the UAE are considered resilient. The DFM market index shows an increasing pattern with a slow pace over the last four years. The market index grew to 3195.91 and 3336.07 in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Similarly, the market index of ADX shows an increasing trend with 10,481.9 in November 2022. 

The financial market of UAE is open to traditional markets including stocks, bonds, forex and commodities but also to cryptocurrency trading. As of January 2022, there were 157,077 crypto owners in the UAE, which accounted for 1.54% of the population in the region. The revenue generated from cryptocurrency in the region increased from only USD 7.7 million in 2019 to an estimated USD 120.60 million in 2022. The revenue is projected to reach USD 239.90 million in 2023, with the expected annual growth rate at 11.50%. 

United Arab Emirates International Trade Policy

What is UAE’s Export Policy?

The UAE is an open trade region, supporting free international trade. The UAE was listed as a member of the World Trade Organization in 1996 and became a contracting party to the GATT in 1994. The UAE government regulates export activities in the UAE through multiple regulations. Major regulations include the Gulf Cooperation Council Common Customers law, Federal Law No. 13 of 2007 (Subject to Monitoring Imports and Exports), and The Cabinet Resolution No. 50 of 2020 regarding the Table of Strategic Goods. In 2009, the UAE government also established The Committee for Goods and Material Subject to Import and Export Control, which, together with customs and judicial authorities, oversees the export control law. 

A business must have an export license approved by the UAE Ministry of Economy to legally export goods and services from the UAE. Authorities can reject the exported commodities if they are considered dangerous to national security, natural resources, public health, the environment, or foreign policy. Violation of compliance rules can be fined with up to AED 500,000- or one-year imprisonment.

What is UAE’s Import Policy?

The UAE’s import is regulated through several agreements, including the Gulf Cooperation Council Commercial Agreement, Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), GCC-EFTA Free Trade Agreement, GCC-Singapore Agreement Free Trade Agreement (GSFTA), and Information Technology Agreement (ITA). In addition, the UAE adopted bilateral agreements between the UAE and GCC, including the GCC Common Customs Law, Federal Law No. 2 of 1989, and Federal Law No. 168/9 of 2004. 

Companies that want to import commodities into the UAE must be registered and obtain a commercial or trade license from the company registrar in UAE. Furthermore, they need to register with the customs authority of their local emirate to obtain a custom code. Commodities prohibited from import into the UAE include drugs/narcotics, pirated contents, gambling tools and machines, any artworks against Islamic values, black magic-related items, or fake currencies. Some commodities require licensing requirements, such as animals, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, food, or agricultural products. Individuals are allowed to import products valued less than AED 3,000 without declaration to the authorities. Most imported goods are subject to 5% customs duty and excise tax (alcohol is subject to 50% customs duty), except imported products from GCC countries or produced in the member of Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement 1998. The authorities can refuse the imported commodities violating the regulations.

What Are UAE’s Financial Free Zones?

The UAE has 46 multidisciplinary free zones across seven Emirates. Financial-free zones are special economic areas that offer unique advantages to expatriates, foreign investors, and businesses, such as 100% tax and customs duty exemptions, 100% foreign ownership, zero restrictions on repatriation of profits, straightforward business set-up, and sophisticated infrastructure. The 46 economic free zones in UAE and the emirates they are located in are listed below.


  • International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)
  • Dubai Auto Zone (DAZ)
  • Dubai Cars and Automotive Zone (DUCAMZ)
  • Dubai Flower Center (DFC)
  • Gold and Diamond Park (DGDP)
  • Dubai Industrial City (DIC)
  • Dubai International Academic City (DIAC)
  • Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP)
  • Dubai Logistics City (DLC)
  • Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA)
  • Dubai Outsource City (DOC)
  • Dubai Science Park (DSP)
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA)
  • Dubai Studio City (DSC)
  • Dubai Techno Park (DTP)
  • Dubai Textile City (DTC)
  • Energy and Environmental Park (Enpark)
  • International Humanitarian City (IHC)
  • Dubai Wholesale City 
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA)
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
  • Dubai Internet City (DIC)
  • Dubai Media City (DMC)
  • Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA)
  • Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC)
  • Dubai Production City (DPC)

Abu Dhabi:

  • Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)
  • Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)
  • Industrial City Of Abu Dhabi (ICAD)
  • Zonescorp
  • Masdar City Free Zone


  • Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA)
  • Sharjah Media City (Shams)
  • Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ)
  • Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP)
  • Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone)

Ras Al Khaimah:

  • Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)
  • Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ)


  • Ajman Free Zone (AFZ)
  • Ajman Media City Free Zone (AMCFZ)


  • Fujairah Free Zone (FFZ)
  • Fujairah Creative City

Umm Al Quwain:

  • Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ FTZ)

What Are The Key Economic Institutions in The United Arab Emirates?

There are four major regulatory institutions in the UAE. They are listed and explained below.

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE)

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBU) is an independent financial institution responsible for ensuring the stability and integrity of county’s financial system. The main functions of the CBUAE include formulating and implementing the UAE’s monetary policy, currency issuance of the UAE Dirham, financial supervision of all licensed banks and financial institutions in the UAE, ensuring financial stability (monitoring risks, promoting robust risk management practices) and management of the UAE’s foreign exchange reserves.

Securities Commodities Authority (SCA)

The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) is the national financial regulatory authority of the United Arab Emirates. The SCA was established by a federal decree in 2000 and was tasked with supervision and monitoring of the markets to ensure compliance with the law, to protect investors, to maintain fairness, and to ensure transparency in securities and commodities transactions. However, the SCA is not responsible for regulating financial activities in the UAE’s free zones.

Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is an independent regulatory body established in 2004. It oversees all financial activities in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC ) including forex trading, licensing and monitoring activities. The DFSA is also responsible for maintaining transparency and fairness between investors and consumers in the DIFC.

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA)

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) is an independent financial regulatory authority in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) financial free-zone. The FSRA is responsible for creating and overseeing the legal and regulatory framework for non-banking financial and ancillary services in the ADGM. Its remit includes areas such as asset management, private banking, and capital markets, as well as innovative areas like fintech and crypto assets.


Based on the described development of the four major economic sectors above (real, financial, public and external sector), the UAE economy is considered strong and stable. Although global uncertainties threaten the UAE economy in the short-term, the region’s economic outlook remains robust.


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