Saudi Arabia, UAE & Qatar

The Middle East has been largely unaffected by the financial crises of the past number of years, due to a combination of high oil prices and a relative lack of integration into the world economy.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the largest and richest of the Gulf States with GDP totaling USD560 billion in 2011. GDP growth was modest in 2009 but increased to 3.8% in 2010 and 6% in 2011.

The country's wealth derives principally from its vast reserves of oil and natural gas.

In 2011 Ireland exported €1.56 billion worth of goods to AICC countries, 1.7% of our total exports. Ireland accounts for 0.33% of total merchandise imports into the AICC countries. Four countries import more than €100 million worth of goods every year from Ireland – UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt.

Population: 28.08 million

Currency: Saudi Arabian Riyal

Time Zone: UTC +3:00

  • GDP Per Capita – USD49,000 (2012) – Country comparison to the world : 16
  • Imports: USD 220.30 billion (2012) – Country Comparison to the world : 24


The United Arab Emirates is one of the most developed countries in the Arab Gulf and has one of world´s highest GDP per capita. The UAE's economy is heavily dependent on the price of oil. Per capita GDP is ranked among the top 20 in the world, and in 2011 is estimated at US$51,285. Real GDP growth of just 3.6% is expected for 2011, but this is projected to reach 6.2% in 2016.

Population: 7.891 million

Currency: Dirham

Time Zone: UTC +4:00

  • At $360 billion in 2012, the GDP of the UAE ranks second in the CCASG (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) (after Saudi Arabia), third in the Middle East—North Africa (MENA) region (after Saudi Arabia and Iran), and 30th in the world.
  • The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the United Arab Emirates expanded 4.90 percent in 2012 from the previous year.
  • The UAE GDP will rise by more than 15 per cent by 2022 to amount to Dh277.8 billion ($75.4 billion) on annual basis, according to a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).


Qatar is an oil-rich peninsula jutting out into the Gulf between Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

With proven reserves of oil and natural gas, Qatar had the world's highest GDP per capita and in 2010, the economy grew by 19.40%, the fastest in the world. It is the due to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Population: 1.87 million

Currency: Qatori Riyal

Time Zone: UTC +3:00

Qatar has prospered in the last several years with continued high real GDP growth. Throughout the financial crisis Qatari authorities sought to protect the local banking sector with direct investments into domestic banks. GDP had rebounded in 2010 largely due to the increase in oil prices, and 2011's growth was supported by Qatar's investment in expanding its gas sector. GDP growth was 6.3% in 2012.

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