Communications and Infrastructure
Location and Size

·· The UAE is bounded on the north and north-west by the Arabian Gulf, the Musardam peninsula enclave of Oman and the Gulf of Oman; on the south by Saudi Arabia and Oman; and on the west by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

·· Lying along the Eastern Arabian Peninsula, the Emirates comprise of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Qaiwain, Ras Al-Khaimah and Fujairah.

·· The UAE covers an area of 83,600km2.

Principal Commercial Centres

·· Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest of the Emirates, its economy being based on large oil strikes (both offshore and on the main land).

·· Dubai is an entrepôt and commercial centre for the entire region.

·· Port Rashid is Dubai’s deepwater port.

·· Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah also produce smaller amounts of oil and gas.

·· Other centres include Fujairah,

Ajman and Umm al Qaiwain.

Main Economic Activities


·· The principal crops are dates, tomatoes, squash, cabbage, citrus fruit, egg plant and watermelons.

·· Livestock and fishing are also important.

·· A wide range of fruits and vegetables are grown in the U.A.E.

·· Efforts to grow wheat and strawberries have also succeeded.

·· The UAE is largely barren – only 5.5% of the land is cultivable, with extreme climatic conditions.

·· Water is precious and scarce in the UAE. Water resources consist of underground aquifers and rain-collected in Wadis in the mountains.

·· Other important products include poultry, eggs and dairy products.


·· The UAE’s total reserves of oil and gas will not be exhausted until the middle of the next century.

·· Diversification of the economy away from oil is considered essential, and industrial progress in each emirate is dependent on the revenue from petroleum.

·· The most important sectors are aluminium, steel and chemicals.

·· Abu Dhabi and Dubai dominate the economy of the UAE, while the northern emirates remain relatively undeveloped, and there is little co-ordination in the economic affairs of the emirates.

·· Dubai is of particular importance as an entrepôt for regional trade.

·· Other industries include petrochemicals, construction materials, boat building, handicrafts and pearling.

·· The UAE has the third largest oil reserves in the world.

·· There are small deposits of copper, chromium and iron.


·· Direct dialling is available from South Africa on dial code 09971

followed by area code and then the subscriber’s number.

Abu Dhabi 2

Ras Al-Khaimah 7

Fujairah 9

Sharjah 6

Dubai 4

Jebel Ali 84

·· The telephone system is excellent in Dubai.

·· Telex, telefax and electronic mail facilities are available.

Weights and Measures

The metric system and British imperial system are utilised.


·· The top class hotels in the Emirates are comparable to some of the best in the world, providing excellent service as well as conference and banqueting facilities. Hotel restaurants serve both European and Arabic dishes. Visitors are advised to confirm reservations.

·· Taxis and car hire is available.

·· There is complete freedom of worship. Religions that are practised in the UAE are Islams, Christians, Hindus and other faiths.

·· UAE GDP: 1996 $44.6 billion (crude oil 35%, other 65%).

·· Driving in the UAE is on the right hand side of the road.

·· During the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours. Visitors should also refrain from consuming such items in public.

Available Risk Cover
Credit Guarantee Insurance Company (CGIC) offer cover to South African companies exporting to the UAE.

RSA Exports – Recommended Terms
·· Confirmed letter of credit (L/C).

·· The Standard Bank of South Africa has the capacity to confirm letters of credit issued by the prime UAE banks.

Foreign Exchange
·· There are no restrictions on the availability of foreign exchange for payments in respect of permitted imports.

·· The money supply is controlled very loosely by the Central Bank because of the free, unimpeded flow of foreign exchange into and out of the country.

·· Mastercard, Visa, Diners Club and American Express credit cards are acceptable in the U.A.E.

Trade General
·· Import licences are required for certain products. Their purpose is to ensure that only companies qualified to trade in these items are engaged in such transactions.

·· Imports of a few commodities are prohibited from all sources for health or security reasons.

·· With the exception of specified items, imports into the UAE are subject to a custom duty of 4% of CIF value.

·· Imports from member states of the Gulf Co-operation Council are not subject to customs duty.

·· Jebel Ali was the first free zone in the Gulf. Free zones have been created at ports across the UAE: in Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Qaiwain.

·· Samples of no commercial value are allowed duty-free entry.

·· Warehouses are available in the U.A.E.

·· The importation of firearms, unlicensed drugs, pork products and alcoholic beverages is restricted.

·· Duties are levied c.i.f. ad valorem.

·· The UAE is the leading distribution centre for business operating throughout the middle East.

·· Customs duties are general low.

Arc Waiver Certificate

This is required for shipments to the UAE issued by an appointed shipping company or agent, to ensure that all requirements have been met for entry into a UAE port. The certificate must be certified by a Chamber of Commerce and then legalised by a UAE Consular official.

Bill of Lading

The CCCN number should be shown. An original copy must be furnished. Generally speaking, freight charges should be pre-paid.

Certificate of Origin

Required for all goods. The certificate of origin must be legalised by a U.A.E. Embassy official after first being certified by an acceptable chamber of commerce.

Commercial Invoice

··No special form or regulations, but a full description of goods and type of packing (for example box, carton, bale), net and gross weights, quantities and weights, country of origin, and certification that date is correct must be given.

The original must be presented to customs. This document must be presented to the UAE Embassy to be legalised.

Insurance Certificate

Follow the importer’s instruction in this regard. This certificate is to be legalised by a UAE Consular official (file copy required by Consulate) after, first, being certified by an acceptable chamber of commerce.

Packing List

Not mandatory, however, it will facilitate customs clearance of goods.

Permits and Visas

·· A valid passport and visa are required.

·· In addition, business visitors must have a letter from their company stating the purpose of the trip, the name of the company and guaranteeing maintenance and financial responsibility for the representative while in UAE.

·· On arrival in the UAE you will be required to show your “Import Permit” before allowing you into the country.

Pro-forma Invoice

May be requested by the importer to facilitate opening an import letter of credit.

Shipping Documents

·· Steamship certificates: these are issued by the steamship company or the company’s agents and confirm, inter alia, that they fulfil all requirements permitting them to enter UAE ports. This certificate

is to be legalised by a UAE Consular official (file copy required by Consulate) after, first, having been certified by an acceptable chamber of commerce.

Other Documentation

·· It is requisite (irrespective of which Emirate the meat is being sent to) that all fresh and frozen meat, including poultry, must be “Halal” killed, i.e. killed in accordance with Islamic rites.

The appropriate certificate (stating that slaughter has been conducted in the correct manner) must accompany each consignment before an entry permit can be issued. A health certificate from the place of origin, certifying the supervision by a veterinary of the slaughter and inspection prior to shipment, is usually also requisite.

·· Some plant and animal imports may require a statement that the products are not contaminated by radiation.

·· The import of pharmaceutical products is subject to prior registration with the Ministry of Health. Pharmaceuticals not listed on the Ministry of Health register cannot be imported into the United Arab Emirates. The responsibility for the completion of registration formalities rests with manufacturer and his agent. Any unregistered drug is banned.

Marking of Goods and Packages

·· Packages should bear the consignee’s mark including port

mark, and they should be numbered unless the shipment is such that the contents of the packages can be readily identified without numbers.

·· No special requirements on merchandise in general.

·· All foodstuffs not marked with production and expiry dates will be prohibited in all emirates. Country of origin, name of manufacturer, net weight in metric units and a list of ingredients and additives, if any, must appear on the label.

·· Labelling must take the following sequence: day/month/year; these dates must be integrated as part of the packaging (printed on the label or embossed on the can).

·· Stickers and rubber stamping are not acceptable.

·· Dates must appear in English or Arabic or preferably in both languages.

·· Cigarettes require the following statement, in Arabic only, on the outer package: “Official warning: Smoking damages your health. We advise you to stop.”

Shaun Bakamoso

Greetings. I'm Shaun Bakamoso, and I'm thrilled to be your guide through the dynamic world of business news in South Africa here at With a passion for staying informed and a keen interest in the ever-evolving landscape of business, I've dedicated myself to providing you with timely, insightful, and comprehensive coverage of the latest developments impacting the South African economy. / Instagram