The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Fujairah, with over 9.8 million people living within its borders.

In a very short span of time, the UAE has dramatically risen to the position of a global economic powerhouse accessible within an 8-hour flight by two-thirds of the world’s population. Additionally, the nation’s stable political leadership, diversified economy, strong capital flow, favorable tax environment and liberal trade policies continue to position the UAE as a hospitable, well-regulated and highly secure business destination.

The UAE is consistently recognized as the most competitive economy in the Middle East and North Africa. The World Bank report Doing Business 2020 ranked the country 16th out of 190 economies, the highest among its neighbors. The UAE also took first place in the MENA ranking for ease in Starting a Business, which measures the number of procedures, time, cost and paid-in minimum capital requirements for a small- and medium-sized limited liability company to establish and operate in the economy’s largest business city.

The UAE also ranked 25th out of 141 countries in the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum, which measures national performance across 12 key economic pillars, scoring a perfect 100 in macroeconomic stability. The UAE also placed second in information and communications technology (ICT) adoption and fourth in product market, an indicator that assesses domestic market competition and openness for trade.

In order to capitalize on the country’s business climate, the UAE government has made great efforts to develop the small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which, according to the Ministry of Economy, represents more than 98% of the total number of companies operating in the UAE and contribute toward 52% of the non-oil GDP. The ministry is targeting to increase this contribution to 60% by 2021.