Who am I?
Emirati culture is under threat – and news that UAE nationals will soon account for just 13.3 percent of the population could make this identity crisis more severe.
January 25, 2010 1:23 by Aarti Nagraj
The UAE’s population is expected to increase to 7.5 million this year, up from 5.6 million in 2006, according to a report from the National Human Resources Development and Employment Authority (Tanmia). The UAE population doubles every 8.7 years – much faster than the global rate of 55 years, according to the report, a copy of which was seen by official news agency WAM.
But while an increasing population could bring economic benefits, there is one area of major concern: the gradual erosion of Emirati identity.
According to the Tanmia report, UAE nationals made up 24.4 percent of the total population in 1995, but this dropped to 15.4 percent in 2006. And Emiratis could account for just 13.3 percent of population this year if “appropriate correctional procedures and policies were not taken to address the issue”. As the report warns: “The growth of both UAE nationals and expatriates would lead to exacerbation of the demographic imbalance in the country.”
While the number of Emirati nationals is falling relative to the overall population, officials in the UAE have been fighting to protect their identity and promote their culture.
Earlier this month, the interior ministry said that children left behind by Emirati fathers in other countries would be brought back to the UAE, so that they could “reunite and blend with their fathers and their families,” reported The National.