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The inhabitants of the area now known as the UAE were successful business people, trades people, and administrators well-connected with their regional counterparts, long before the discovery of oil. The UAE transitioned from a traditional economy to the modern global economy in less than half a century, however, the rapid economic growth brought about socio-economic shifts including a demographic imbalance in which UAE nationals comprise less than 20 % of the total population and only about 10 % of the workforce. Diversification efforts were instituted from the early days of nationalization to allow the country to maintain a prosperous economy even after the oil revenues stop flowing. Federally funded public works and extensive infrastructure development provided the elements needed to create a safe and attractive work and living environment that attracts business people, tourists, and expatriate employees from counties around the globe. Film crews have used the UAE as backdrop for well-known productions. Sporting events, concerts, art shows, and other entertainment are held in world class venues around the country in addition to educational conferences, seminars, and training courses. Foreign investment-friendly economic policies combined with the establishment of free-zone areas have encouraged multinational companies of all sizes to set up regional hubs or headquarters in the UAE. Even though the UAE faces challenges, in a troubled region surrounded by counties experiencing economic turmoil and issues related to uneven distribution of wealth, the UAE stands as example of openness and prosperity.
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