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Country data

Iran 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015f
Nominal GDP ($bn) 253.5 286.0 347.5 372.3 402.3* 416.4 440.2
GDP per capita ($) 30.921 34.612 40.817* 42.464 44.552 44.771 45.944
Real GDP growth (annual change, %) -5.2 1.6 4.9 4.7 5.2* 4.3 4.5
Government revenue (% of GDP) 27.1 29.9 34.6 36.2 34.6* 33.3 32.4
Government total expenditure (% of GDP) 27.0 25.3 23.4 22.5 24.0* 22.8 22.2
General government gross debt 24.1 22.2 17.6 17.1 11.7* 11.4 11.4
Current account balance (% of GDP) 3.1 2.5 14.7 18.5 16.1* 11.1 11.8
Inflation (%) 1.2 0.9 0.8 0.9 1.7* 2.4 2.8
Population (millions) 8.2 8.3 8.5* 8.8 9.0 9.3 9.6
Unemployment (%) na na na na na na na
Click to see full economic data (2005 - 2019 forecast)
Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database; Last updated: February 2015

Doing business in...

A guide to doing business in the UAE

MEED’s guide to doing business in the UAE

An essential companion for anybody seeking to do business in or with the federation of the United Arab Emirates

Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi

Doing business in Abu Dhabi Subscription

Abu Dhabi is the largest of the UAE’s seven emirates

Burj Khalifa

Doing business in Dubai Subscription

Sandwiched between Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, Dubai is the second largest emirate in the UAE in terms of economy

Sharjah Blue Souk

Doing business in Sharjah Subscription

Sharjah is the third largest economy in the UAE, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Umm al-Quwain

Doing business in Umm al-Quwain Subscription

Umm al-Quwain is located between Ras al-Khaimah and Ajman and has a reputation as a quiet, tranquil emirate, where fishing and date farming remain key contributors to the economy


Doing business in Ajman Subscription

Covering about 259 square kilometres, Ajman is the smallest of the UAE’s emirates in terms of land area, occupying the stretch of coast between Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain


Doing business in Fujairah Subscription

Fujairah is the only one of the UAE’s seven emirates located on the Gulf of Oman

Ras al-Khaimah

Doing business in Ras al-Khaimah Subscription

Ras al-Khaimah, often known simply as Rak, was the last of the emirates to join the UAE and forms the most northerly part of the country

Basic information about the UAE Subscription

An overview of the UAE

Abu Dhabi

UAE economy Subscription

Few countries have experienced such a dramatic rise as the UAE over the past 50 years

UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan

History of the UAE Subscription

The origins of the UAE lie in a truce signed in 1820 between nine Arab sheikhdoms in the area

Useful contacts in the UAE Subscription

Information providers, UAE legal contacts and municipalities

The steps to setting up a business in the UAE Subscription

Leading experts in business incorporation talk to MEED about establishing a company in the UAE

Tax in the UAE Subscription

John Belsey, head of international tax practice for the Middle East branch of professional services firm Deloitte, outlines the UAE tax regime and discusses its future development

Hiring clause: Provisions in free zone rules may differ to the Labour Law

UAE employment law Subscription

For any company in the UAE, onshore or in a free zone (with the exception of Dubai International Financial Centre), the requirements of Federal Law number 8 of 1980 and its amendments, otherwise known as the Labour Law, are compulsory

Free trade zones in the UAE Subscription

Free trade zones enable international companies to set up in the UAE without a local sponsor


Types of company in the UAE Subscription

Federal law in the UAE sets out the legal forms of an onshore company that can be established

Doing business in the UAE Subscription

Leading experts in business incorporation talk to MEED about establishing a company in the UAE

UAE trends

UAE oil and gas contract awards with oil prices

Counter-cyclical oil spending unlikely to return in Abu Dhabi Subscription

2 March 2015 | By

Boom in contract awards during 2009 recession-led oil slump will not be repeated

Gulf projects index

Middle East contracts awarded: February 2015 Subscription

1 March 2015

Over $8bn of contracts awarded in February in the Middle East

China year of ram

China diversifies Gulf spending Subscription

17 February 2015 | By

China is expanding its spending in the Gulf beyond the oil and gas industry

Dubai hotels

Mixed start to 2015 for Dubai hotels Subscription

17 February 2015 | By

New supply will present challenges for hotel sector in first quarter

Biofuels refinery process chart

UAE backs use of biofuels Subscription

16 February 2015 | By

Government support is driving the growth of a biofuels industry, made from used cooking oil from Dubai’s many restaurants

Hotel performance in major markets around the world

Changing dynamics in the tourism industry Subscription

16 February 2015 | By

The tourism industry is feeling the impact of the devaluation of the Russian currency,which is seeing holidaymakers switch from Dubai to Egypt. But a boom in Chinese travellers is compensating

Non-performing loan volumes in decline

UAE banks to weather difficult 2015 Subscription

16 February 2015 | By

New report says sector is well-equipped to deal with slowdown

Ethylene production costs

Oil price drop will lower GCC petrochemicals margins Subscription

15 February 2015 | By

Regional producers will face stronger competition from naphtha-based crackers in Asia and Europe

Abu Dhabi securities exchange

Oil price plunge spooks market Subscription

10 February 2015 | By

Abu Dhabi’s capital markets face an uncertain year, with the first initial public offering of 2015 postponed due to muted investor appetite


SMEs await boost from new UAE legislation Subscription

10 February 2015 | By James Gavin

The UAE’s small and medium-sized enterprises are an important contributor to economic growth, and new legislation aims to foster local initiatives

Filter UAE analysis by sector

MEED comment

Egypt housing

Egypt property plans threaten to overpromise

26 February 2015 | By

Fears of overambitious real estate plans as general confidence remains high in the lead up to Egypt Economic Development conference


New vision for GCC construction workforce

22 February 2015 | By Sachin Kerur

Development of a regional policy for hiring workers is under discussion

UAE upstream market set for quiet year

UAE upstream market set for quiet year

17 February 2015 | By

Fewer large projects set to be awarded in Abu Dhabi after three-year spending spree

Dubai finance

Dubai World debt restructure good for banks

16 February 2015 | By

Creditor approval of debt restructuring deal will help to lower bad loan volumes

Crude export

Abu Dhabi well placed to ride out low crude

10 February 2015 | By

Emirate remains undiversified but strong asset position lessens need for economic reforms

The tender for Abu Dhabi’s onshore oil concession has been called the biggest upstream prize available for international oil companies in the Middle East

The Middle East’s biggest oil prize

3 February 2015 | By

The Abu Dhabi onshore concession is one of the only major regional assets up for grabs for international oil companies

Dubai real estate

Market slowdown for Dubai real estate

3 February 2015 | By

Minimum 10 per cent drop in prices expected

UAE banking sector set for tough 2015

UAE banking sector set for tough 2015

3 February 2015 | By

Lenders posted record profits last year

More MEED commentary

Special Reports

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: Difficult times ahead

11 February 2015

While Abu Dhabi has substantial reserves built up from several years of fiscal surpluses, another period of efficiency savings can be expected

Opec secretary-general Abdullah al-Badri

Opec sets the tone for 2015

15 December 2014 | By

Regional producers are not about to cut oil production and the assumptions that have underpinned forecasting in recent years have to be revisited

The Burj al-Arab, in Dubai

UAE: Funding Dubai's new building boom

4 December 2014

Economic diversification is essential to the future of the UAE

Abu Dhabi, capital city of the UAE

UAE: Abu Dhabi adopts more assertive foreign policy Subscription

10 September 2014

Rapid development over the past 20 years has turned the UAE into an economic powerhouse in the Middle East

More UAE special reports

Market presentations

Dubai creek

Managing the Boom: The Outlook for the Middle East Subscription

23 July 2014

Opportunities and challenges for businesses in the region created by the new projects boom


Webinar: Impact of Expo 2020 on Dubai construction Subscription

4 February 2014

Dubai is expected to spend more than $7bn on infrastructure in preparation for the World Expo

Middle East Outlook 2013

A region in transition: Middle East outlook 2013 and beyond Subscription

18 August 2013

Insight and analysis on the economic and projects outlook for the Middle East

Project Finance

Webinar: Middle East project finance outlook Subscription

17 June 2013

Market constraints to continue, with deals flowing to most stable markets in the region

Mena renewables 2013

Webinar: MENA Renewable Energy Subscription

12 May 2013

In this presentation, MEED discusses the trends and prospects for renewable power in the region

After the Uprisings webinar

After the Uprisings: The outlook for business in the Middle East in 2013 and beyond Subscription

4 March 2013

A webinar on the region’s business environment, providing current data and exclusive expert analysis drawn from MEED’s team of experts

Top 100 projects 2012

Top 100 projects: The Middle East market gains momentum Subscription

3 February 2013

This webinar examines projects market trends in the region and forecasts which countries and sectors will grow in 2013

More MEED webinars

Top 10 projects


Rank Project Name Sector Contract value ($m)
1 Baraka Nuclear Power Plant: Reactor 3 Power 4,000
2 Upper Zakum Full Field: Early Production Facility: Offshore: EPC 2 Oil 3,790
3 Baraka Nuclear Power Plant: Reactor 1 Power 3,100
4 Abu Dhabi Airport Expansion: Midfield Terminal Complex Transport 2,960
5 Baraka Nuclear Power Plant: Reactor 2 Power 2,500
6 Ruwais Carbon Black and Delayed Coker Project Oil 2,470
7 Dubai Pearl: Towers Construction 2,400
8 Baraka Nuclear Power Plant: Reactor 4 Power 2,000
9 Nasr: Phase 2: Full Field Development: Package 2: Platforms & Wellheads Oil 1,900
10 Umm Al Lulu Field Development: Full Field Development: Phase 2: Package 2 Oil 1,690
Click through to the full data table on the UAE's biggest projects in construction
Click through to MEED's Q3 2014 Top 100 Projects report
Source: MEED Projects; Data compiled: November 2014; All projects are in execution

Project awards

Dubai creek

Al-Futtaim Carillion wins Meraas contracts Subscription

25 February 2015 | By ,

Two deals are latest awards for local/UK contractor in Dubai

Dubai power

Siemens awarded Dubai M station contract Subscription

22 February 2015 | By

German firm had submitted low bid for expansion contract


Local firm awarded mall expansion work in RAK Subscription

16 February 2015 | By

Manar mall expansion contract awarded to local firm


NPCC and Tecnimont awarded gas packages Subscription

11 February 2015 | By

Contracts awarded on Abu Dhabi Integrated Gas Development Expansion total $1.57bn

Tecnicas Reunidas wins $700m Abu Dhabi gas deal

Tecnicas Reunidas wins $700m Abu Dhabi gas deal Subscription

5 February 2015 | By

Firm to build processing units and pipelines for Integrated Gas Development expansion

Bluewaters island

Contractors in Dubai win more Bluewaters work Subscription

4 February 2015 | By

Contracts cover the hospitality and residential components of the island

Fujairah port

MUC wins deal on Fujairah storage terminal Subscription

4 February 2015 | By

Contract awarded by Abu Dhabi’s Brooge Petroleum & Gas Investment Company


Atkins wins design contract for Mirfa IWPP Subscription

3 February 2015 | By

UK firm will provide engineering design services for power and water project

Tebodin wins Abu Dhabi gas lift contract

Tebodin wins Abu Dhabi gas lift contract Subscription

12 January 2015 | By

Dutch group wins subcontract from Galfar Engineering to add gas lifts at 30 additional oil wells

Abu Dhabi prepares to award Bab sour gas design and management deals

Abu Dhabi prepares to award Bab sour gas deals Subscription

12 January 2015 | By

Early study on estimated $10bn gas field development awarded to US engineering group Fluor

Projects trends

Gulf projects index

UAE leads Gulf index decline Subscription

24 February 2015

Region’s second-biggest projects market drops by 3 per cent

Gulf projects index

Oman leads Gulf index growth Subscription

17 February 2015

UAE and Qatar only other countries to record increases in value

Gulf projects index

Iraq conflict weighs on Gulf index Subscription

3 February 2015

Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iran only countries to record increases in value

More Gulf Projects Index

All companies

More UAE company profiles



Andrew Ward Subscription

28 January 2015

Andrew Ward is managing partner at Dentons Abu Dhabi

Rajan Phakey Subscription

28 January 2015

Rajan Phakey is partner at Dentons Abu Dhabi UAE

Jon Nash Subscription

28 January 2015

Jon Nash is partner at Dentons Abu Dhabi

Udayan Mukherjee Subscription

28 January 2015

Udayan Mukherjee is partner at Dentons Dubai

Ian Dalley Subscription

28 January 2015

Ian Dalley is partner at Dentons Abu Dhabi

Neil Cuthbert Subscription

28 January 2015

Neil Cuthbert is partner at Dentons Dubai

More UAE biographies

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MEED events

AHIC 2015

Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2015

Hotel Development for Tomorrow’s Traveller

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