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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 concessions

Abu Dhabi oil’s pivot to Asia Subscription

18 May 2015 | By

South Korea takes first stake in major oil concession as part of a growing interest of Asian companies in UAE production

Emirates airline

Emirates rises on falling oil Subscription

12 May 2015 | By

Strong financial performance lifts carrier’s mood as it seeks to tackle head on the accusations of unfair government support by US rivals

Projects due for award in next 12 months

Projects market loses its momentum Subscription

12 May 2015 | By

While essential schemes are still likely to move forwards, the drop in oil prices means projects that are more speculative could be put on hold

Flanagan: I knew Emirates was going to grow

Obituary: Maurice Flanagan Subscription

12 May 2015 | By

The former executive vice-chairman of Emirates airline talked to Austyn Allison in January about the carrier’s spectacular growth through the years. He passed away on 7 May

Top 10 contractors and EPC spend by country

Oil price drop reshapes top 10 contractors Subscription

11 May 2015 | By

The decline in oil prices has led to a slowdown in project spending in the region, meaning MEED’s annual contractor survey has seen a big shake up this year

Forum: Buamim leads the delegation in Bratislava

Interview: Hamad Buamin, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber Subscription

5 May 2015 | By

The Czech and Slovak republics have been identified as target markets for trade with Dubai. Colin Foreman reports from Prague and Bratislava

Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri, UAE Economy Minister

Interview: Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri, UAE Economy Minister Subscription

5 May 2015 | By

The fall in oil prices has reinforced the UAE’s commitment to economic diversification

UAE infographic

UAE still exposed to crude market Subscription

5 May 2015 | By

Dubai contract awards

Dubai counters market inertia with new projects Subscription

4 May 2015 | By

As the emirate’s property market slows down, government clients have been busy driving forward projects, led by Expo 2020-related schemes


Contractors push for more design-and-build schemes Subscription

4 May 2015 | By

International contractors want more clients to award design-and-build deals for their major projects

Filter UAE analysis by sector

MEED comment

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum

Sheikh Mohammed's drive is felt in 2015 Subscription

5 May 2015 | By

Dubai is moving foward with a raft of new projects inspite of lower oil prices

Coal-fired power plant

Acwa strengthens position in Dubai Subscription

5 May 2015 | By

Saudi developer has submitted lowest tariff prices for two different fuel platforms

Abu Dhabi oil and gas projects moving ahead

Abu Dhabi oil and gas projects moving ahead Subscription

28 April 2015 | By

Positive signs for contractors as oil exporter plans further investment in energy sector

Renewable energy

Renewables market hotspots taking off Subscription

28 April 2015 | By

Excitement over Egypt, but Saudi Arabia’s plans remain unclear

Dubai in the UAE

Dubai is the market that delivers Subscription

21 April 2015 | By

Emirate’s aggressive economic diversification efforts are paying off

To control its spiralling costs and return to profitability, Arabtec will need the best people

People are the problem for Arabtec Subscription

21 April 2015 | By

Board and senior management changes take their toll on Dubai contractor


UK plays increasing role in Dubai aviation Subscription

19 April 2015 | By

Government funding support is creating opportunities for UK businesses

Andrew Roscoe

Dubai delivers on solar Subscription

16 April 2015 | By

As other countries rethink or slow their renewable energy plans, the emirate pushes ahead

More MEED commentary

Special Reports


UAE: Dubai's maturing economy Subscription

21 April 2015

Dubai is doing better than many of its neighbours at diversifying its economy away from oil and gas

Real estate

Prices fluctuate in maturing real estate market Subscription

18 March 2015 | By

The region is seeing sharp differences in office and housing costs, depending on the maturity of the market

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: Difficult times ahead Subscription

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

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  Sarb Full Field Development: Main Processing Plant: Package 4 Power 2,250
9 Baraka Nuclear Power Plant: Reactor 4 Oil 2,000
9 Abu Dhabi Alumina Refinery (Shaheen) Industrial 2,000
Click through to the full data table on the UAE's biggest projects in construction
Click through to MEED's Q4 2014 Top 100 Projects report
Source: MEED Projects; Data compiled: April 2015; All projects are in execution

Project awards

Oil storage

Audex awarded $231m of work on Fujairah oil storage Subscription

21 May 2015 | By

Singapore group to build oil storage terminals for two companies at UAE port

Oil pipelines

Chinese group awarded $330m Mender field development Subscription

18 May 2015 | By

CPECC to build first oil production facilities at field in south of Abu Dhabi

GS Energy awarded 3 per cent stake in Adco

GS Energy awarded 3 per cent stake in Adco Subscription

13 May 2015 | By

South Korean group is third international company to enter Abu Dhabi oil concession

Descon awarded Sahil oil field water re-injection

Descon awarded Sahil oil field water re-injection Subscription

6 May 2015 | By

Pakistani group to build facilities at onshore oil field in Abu Dhabi

Warner Bros theme park planned for Abu Dhabi

Contractor wins Abu Dhabi theme park construction deal Subscription

5 May 2015 | By

New attraction will be built on Yas Island

The new Atlantis hotel planned in Dubai

Faithful+Gould appointed for Atlantis project management Subscription

29 April 2015 | By

Contractors are bidding for the main construction contract

Inpex awarded 5 per cent stake in Abu Dhabi onshore concession

Inpex awarded stake in Abu Dhabi onshore concession Subscription

27 April 2015 | By

Japanese company is second group to enter 40-year oil field joint venture

Belgrade Waterfront development

Eagle Hills signs Serbia deal Subscription

27 April 2015 | By

Belgrade Waterfront was lauched last year

UAE energy projects pipeline

Key contracts awarded on $10bn Bab gas development Subscription

26 April 2015 | By

Abu Dhabi selects companies for design and management of UAE’s largest pre-execution project

Brookfield Multiplex wins Lapita theme park hotel

Brookfield Multiplex wins Lapita theme park hotel Subscription

26 April 2015 | By

Canadian contractor joins other firms working on development

Projects trends

Gulf projects index

Saudi Arabia leads Gulf index recovery Subscription

18 May 2015

All countries record gains to bring projects market up by 0.7 per cent

Gulf projects index

Impact of GCC slowdown takes hold Subscription

12 May 2015

Bahrain makes the biggest gain, while Saudi Arabia’s market continues to fall

Gulf projects index

Iran jump struggles to lift Gulf index Subscription

4 May 2015

GCC slowdown cancels out gains in Islamic Republic

More Gulf Projects Index

All companies

More UAE company profiles



Ali Mohammed al-Mazyood Subscription

1 April 2015

Ali Mohammed al-Mazyood is director of engineering at Dubai Health Authority

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

More UAE biographies

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MEED events

Abu Dhabi Conference 2014

Abu Dhabi Energy, Industry & Infrastructure Conference 2015

12 October 2015 | An annual gathering of government and private sector leaders which enables discussions and updates on upcoming project and investment opportunities

More MEED events