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The emirate

Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate in the UAE and is divided into three regions: Abu Dhabi City on the coast, Al Ain in the east, and Al Dhafra in the west.

Abu Dhabi City is the commercial and cultural centre of the emirate. Located on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, it encompasses several islands, including Yas Island - a world-class entertainment destination, and Saadiyat Island - renowned for its cultural attractions, including Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Al Ain features several important cultural heritage sites, including UNESCO world heritage sites, and Jebel Hafit, Abu Dhabi’s highest peak at 1,240m above sea level.

Al Dhafra is an important centre of agriculture and hosts the annual Liwa Date Festival. It is also home to a number of oil and gas fields.

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Evolution of the economy

Human settlers are believed to have first arrived in Abu Dhabi during the Stone Age. The Bani Yas tribe, from which the ruling Al Nahyan family is directly descended, first settled around the Liwa Oasis in 1761. Today, Abu Dhabi is a leading international financial capital, global business hub and tourism destination, and attracts significant foreign direct investment into a number of vital economic sectors

Before 1958, the emirate’s main industry was the export of pearls. Since the discovery of oil, Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s leading producers of energy, with daily production volumes at approximately 3.5 million barrels of crude oil and 10.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The emirate is also a pioneer in the global alternative and renewable energy industry. It is home to the world’s largest solar energy field at Noor Abu Dhabi and the Arab world’s first nuclear energy plant, Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant. It is a major developer of clean energy technology and sustainable urban developments through Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar). The emirate plans to rely on renewable energy to generate 50 per cent of its power needs by 2030.

Through its leading international financial centre, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the emirate is advancing its position on the global financial map. ADGM is home to ADX, the largest stock exchange in the UAE by market capitalisation, as well as a dedicated crude oil commodity derivatives exchange at ICE Futures Abu Dhabi, which trades ADNOC's flagship Murban Abu Dhabi crude oil futures contracts that help benchmark global crude oil prices, and a thriving ecosystem of fintech startups and SMEs.

Abu Dhabi is also rapidly diversifying its economy by implementing initiatives and policies to create opportunity, stimulate innovation and enhance the contribution of the private sector to the emirate’s GDP.

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R&D and innovation

Abu Dhabi is a world-leading, dynamic hub for innovation with a thriving research and development ecosystem, supported by several initiatives and entities established to advance the sectors in the emirate that are contributing to the growth of the emirate’s knowledge-based economy.

In 2020, the Advanced Technology Research Council, a first-of-its-kind in the Middle East, was launched to set and oversee the emirate’s strategy for R&D and to invest in knowledge development to enable breakthrough discoveries.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office's AED2 billion Innovation Programme supports new and innovative companies in high-growth sectors through globally competitive rebates and grants, which has led to several global innovators setting up in Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem Hub71 and Ghadan 21 have attracted more than 100 global tech start-ups in its first two years.

The Mohamed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence was launched in 2019 as the world's first graduate-level, research-based artificial intelligence (AI) university.

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Community and culture

The Abu Dhabi way of life is built upon cultural values of diversity, inclusivity and tolerance. It is a place where history is respected, differences are celebrated and modern perspectives are embraced. Home to more than 200 nationalities, the emirate offers a world-class quality of life where modernity exists in harmony with traditional Emirati hospitality.

Abu Dhabi prides itself for its heritage and tribal history, which stretches back more than two millennia. The preservation and promotion of its history, culture and natural wonders in a rapidly growing economy has allowed modern artistic expression to blend with human values of inclusivity, diversity and harmony.

This is particularly evident at Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first museum in the world to explore our shared humanity by highlighting similarities across civilisations. The museum has laid the groundwork for a new type of cultural collaboration centred on the creation of the first universal museum.

The emirate’s commitment to tolerance and interfaith harmony is also seen in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a masterpiece of modern Islamic architecture and design, open to people of all faiths and beliefs, as well as the development of the under-construction Abrahamic Family House, where a church, mosque and synagogue will share the same grounds.

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Geography and environment

Abu Dhabi emirate is spread across 67,340 sqkm, including 200 natural islands. Its strategic location at the nexus of three continents means that Abu Dhabi benefits from global connectivity, with two-thirds of the world’s population within an eight-hour flight.

The emirate features a rich biodiversity that supports a vital ecosystem of plants and wildlife. Coastal mangroves and indigenous wildlife exist in harmony with an economy focused on rapid advancements in sustainability.

Led by Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, the emirate is dedicated to conservation and preservation of its rich biodiversity and environmental ecosystem, with many world-leading initiatives that have already achieved significant success, such as a 22 per cent increase in the Arabian oryx population as part of the Mohamed bin Zayed Arabian Oryx Reintroduction Programme, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, the region's largest coral reef rehabilitation programme, and the successful rehabilitation of important plant species.

The emirate is also advancing its eco-tourism offering, with world-class nature-oriented activities from kayaking in mangroves to multiple nature parks open for education and leisure visits.

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Living and working in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi combines an unparalleled quality of life with an innovation-led business environment, making it one of the best places in the world to live and work.

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Abu Dhabi Youth

Abu Dhabi's youth are its future, and are being empowered to achieve excellence and drive progress across all fields.

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Visit Abu Dhabi

Visitors to Abu Dhabi will find breathtaking landscapes, including islands, desert, mangroves, fossil dunes, oases and wadis (valleys). The emirate also hosts word-class events and entertainment, and is home to thrilling theme parks and attractions, as well as awe-inspiring museums.

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