HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum – Inspiring leadership…into the third year

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Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s New Book: My Vision – Challenges In The Race For Excellence.

The book is dedicated to UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum presented Sheikh Khalifa with the first copy of his new book.

Inspiring leadership…into the third year

Inspiring leadership…into the third year

Team KT 4 January 2008

THINGS are changing… changing for the better, and with ever-greater speed. There’s the perceptible ‘Shaikh Mohammed touch’ to the administration everywhere. For the past two years across the UAE, and more emphatically in Dubai.

New instructions to tone up the governmental machinery, new emphasis on education and health sectors, new laws regulating the real estate sector, new legislation on rent cap, new rules to curb rash driving on the roads, new order to build more bridges to ease traffic congestion… new laws to promote labour welfare….new initiative to co-ordinate and streamline the functioning of federal and local establishments. UAE is changing…and Dubai is changing. In amazing ways.

There’s no looking back for the leader who became the Dubai Ruler on January 4, 2006, and was named Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE the next day by the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Now, on to the third year of his inspiring leadership.

These are the times when the nation is witnessing a dramatic economic boom, helped also by the increasing revenues from oil. As per latest assessments, UAE’s GDP touched Dh 697 billion by now. Non-oil sectors are developing fast, giving an added push to the economy. The federal cabinet, led by Shaikh Mohammed, has its hands full. There already were good comments coming its way. For instance, the Transparency International went on record to state that, in matters of administration, the UAE has the highest level of transparency in the whole of the Arab region-–meaning, an excellent climate for foreign investments.

The strength of modern-day Dubai, of which Shaikh Mohammed is the architect, is not just that it has grown in amazing ways, but also that it did so in a systematic and modern manner, backed by a visionary approach, and with the aid of sophisticated technology. Dubai aimed high; and Dubai touched the top in many respects with a precision and ease that left the rest of the world gasping for breath. UAE too is making waves.

There have been surprises and surprises….

Dubai, for the visionary leader, “is where future begins”. The present targets are: a continuing double digit economic growth; a GDP of $108 billion, and raising the GDP per capita to $44,000 by year 2015. It would mean, among other things, an increase in productivity by four per cent per annum.

Eight years ago, at the turn of the century, Dubai had set its targets for year 2010. And, such was the pace with which the emirate progressed that those targets were realised in half the allotted time-by 2005. A feat that has few parallels in history.

There might be a few problems like the high cost of living, traffic snarls etc for us to cope with, but the days here are impressive, indeed. We are part of great growth process. Here are some highlights of the good tidings. Emirates airline created global aviation history by ordering nearly 150 aircraft, at a cost of Dh127 billion, at the Dubai Airshow. Dubai’s aviation aspirations have many more faces. Phased investments in the sector are set to go up to 82 billion over the next decade, of which an estimated 10 billion would go into the making of the world’s largest airport, the Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC). That the total infrastructure cost for the new airport is estimated at $33 billion, speaks highly of the ambitious nature of the project.

The Metro Rail project, a dream that is coming true, is progressing at a fast pace. The 75-km project is set to revolutionise public transport sector in Dubai at a cost of Dh15 billion, or more. The first phase of the project is set for completion by September next year. Once operational, the capacity of the main Al Ittihad station would touch 35,000 passengers per hour. Here now starts the era of rail services in the Gulf region.

There have been great strides in the maritime sector as well. Dubai has entered a new phase of economic and industrial development with the building and commissioning of giant ships and oil tankers in the Dubai Dry Docks. A new dock has been added, the fifth dry dock, where works like maintenance of giant ships and conversion of such ships from oil tankers to commercial ships take place. The dock is stated to be the first in the world to build ships (of up to one million tonnes) on land before shifting them to the sea.

And, in times of growth and prosperity, Dubai and Shaikh Mohammed care for others…. There have been many a regional, global, humanitarian endeavour launched by His Highness in recent times.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Human Development, launched in May, 2007 with an endowment of Dh 37 billion, aims to open doors to generations of future leaders in the region in ways as to shape their futures by equipping them with world-class knowledge and education. The foundation, as His Highness visualises, would act as a showcase for the benefits of long-term educational initiatives for the “humanity in general and for our region in particular”.

Dubai Cares

Shaikh Mohammed put his best foot forward in recent times to help the world overcome poverty. Said he famously at the World Economic Forum meet in Dalian, China, last September: “If we want to be heroes of progress, we cannot ignore poverty, which prevents people from joining the wide current of human development”. Added he: “Any soil infested with poverty, ignorance and neglect is always a good breeding ground for fundamentalism and produces fundamentalists”.

Dubai Cares, launched by him in September, 2007, is based on the belief that education is the best way, and long-term solution, to tackle poverty. It targets uplift of one million children in poor countries around the world, through proper education, and in a way as to “break the cycle of poverty”.

The unveiling of a Knowledge Initiative by His Highness in October, 2007, styling it as an Arab House of Wisdom, was another landmark. It aims at re-drafting the knowledge roadmap for the region, educating the youth, and helping them get employment.

The past two years saw Shaikh Mohammed growing in stature as a world leader, visiting countries, meeting and interacting with world leaders, and sharing his ideas about development. That saw him holding forth at the World Economic Forum Summit, and flying down to nations as distant as India, Jordan, South Korea, Tunisia, China, Vietnam and Uzbekistan on state visits.

No wonder, accolades came His Highness’s way…Prince of the Arab Youth…a Role Model Trophy by the Arab Youth Council for Integrated Development… Global Leadership Award by Arab-American Anti-discrimination Committee in the US, a New York Times title, the Entrepreneur of the Year… so on and so forth.

Times are changing…. and more pleasant surprises are in store…for Dubai and UAE in its forward march. Happy times may never have an end. That’s the spirit.

So spoke the Shaikh

“We are very realistic despite our big dreams, and we work hard to be the best, relying on God and our citizens.”

“We have succeeded because we have always believed that tomorrow is a new day, that yesterday’s achievements are in the past and that history will record what we achieve in the future, not what we have achieved in the past”.

“We are aiming at being in the ranks of more advanced countries in all fields. This will only happen with increased public participation”.

On the youth of the UAE: “You are the homeland and development. You are the future hope. Become experts in your fields today through education, training and acquiring of skills. This will make you tomorrow’s leaders in this knowledge-based economy. Our goals and aspirations for this country will not materialize without your efforts and your ability to be examples in your loyalty and allegiance to the UAE.

“Man’s competence is to be measured not by his capability to skillfully cope with the status quo, but by his ability to change it for the better”.

“The challenges we face in the Arab and Islamic worlds are challenges of survival, not only of reform and development. Our knowledge level will determine to a large extent our ability to surmount these challenges”.

“I change the way of government to make it like a big company”.

“Education holds out hope for the future, enrichment for the present, and dignity for the mankind. It helps us to communicate with each other. It helps nations to cross the barriers to understanding. It provides a solid basis from which societies can grow and flourish”.

“A network of Arab leaderships, in business in particular, would serve as a leverage to boost the capabilities of the coming Arab generations and set the stage for them to successfully continue the march with confidence and based on solid foundations”.

“I am optimistic about the social and economic future of Arab societies, and have no worries about failure” (at the World Economic Forum meet at Dalian, China, in September, 2007).

“I am personally committed to building a new generation of young leaders who are open to new ideas and to the change and diversity.”

The UAE could not have achieved progress without turning theory into practice, and without learning from other successful examples, including the Chinese example”.


Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was born in 1949 as the third child of Shaikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

In the sixties, he studied in the UK, including at the Bell School of Languages in Cambridge and the Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot.

In 1968, he took over as head of the Dubai Police and Public Security Department.

In 1971, he became the youngest Minister of Defence. In 1995, he became the Crown Prince of Dubai.

In 2006, he took over as the Ruler of Dubai and also as Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE.

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