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12 April 2024

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed - a visionary leader

Sheikh Mohammed

By Staff

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, marks the fifth anniversary of his accession on Tuesday.

On Januray 4, 2006, Sheikh Mohammed took over as the Rule rof Dubai when his brother the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum passed away.

On January 5, 2006, the Members of the Supreme Council elected Sheikh Mohammed as the Vice-President of the UAE.

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan nominated him as the Prime Minister and asked him to form the new cabinet. On February 9, Sheikh Khalifa approved the Cabinet proposed and headed by Sheikh Mohammed.

Childhood and education

Sheikh Mohammed was born in 1949. He is the third of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum's four sons. Sheikh Maktoum, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Ahmed are his brothers. Sheikh Mohammed enjoyed a happy and carefree early
childhood in the Al Maktoum family's Al Shindagha home.

From an early age he was taught hunting, especially the noble Arabian sport of falconry. The Maktoum brothers were also taught the rudiments of horsemanship by their father.

From the age of four, he was privately tutored in Arabic and Islamic Studies. In 1955, he began his formal education at Al Ahmedia School, a small primary school in Deira.

In August 1966, Sheikh Mohammed flew to London accompanied by his cousin, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum. They enrolled in the Bell School of Languages, in Cambridge, one of Europe's best-regarded language schools.

Sheikh Mohammed attended Mons Officer Cadet School, in Aldershot, about 40 miles from London in the south of England. During the latter stages of the six-month course, he was promoted to Senior Under Officer of Kohema and was later awarded the Sword of Honour for achieving the highest mark of any Foreign and Commonwealth officer cadet in his intake.

His first position

On November 1, 1968, the late Sheikh Rashid appointed Sheikh Mohammed as Head of Dubai Police and Public Security, which was his first public position. After the declaration of the UAE Federation on December 2, 1971, Sheikh Maktoum, the new Prime Minister, appointed his brother Sheikh Mohammed as Minister of Defence and awarded him the rank of General. He was then the youngest Minister of Defence in the world. Sheikh Rashid relied heavily upon his sons as he sought to transform Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed took on much responsibility.

Key acheivments and directives

Sheikh Mohammed embodies energetic and successful leadership. He is a man who has made promises and kept them; he has insisted on excellence and achieved nothing less; he has defined the role of leadership and fulfilled it.

Thanks to his vision, Sheikh Mohammed has competently authored the Dubai success story in record time and put the UAE on a unique path, which nations around the world compete to replicate.

Sheikh Mohammed has come up with several directives and laws aimed at providing a decent living to the nationals and residents in this country.

He turned his attention to people, inspecting projects and following up people's concerns across the UAE. He inspected progress in all emirates, met residents and ordered changes that needed to be carried out. He undertook groundbreaking initiatives at an astonishing pace.

The past few years witnessed unique achievements for Sheikh Mohammed both locally and regionally.

With Dubai residents complaining of high rents, on January 1, 2007, Sheikh Mohammed ordered a seven per cent cap on rent increases. This decree followed an earlier one that set the cap at 15 per cent.

In Feburary 2007, he announced the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015, which aims to bolster Dubai's leading position in the region and boost its role as an international economic and financial hub. The strategy will be used as a road map for development in the coming years.

On April 17, 2007, Sheikh Mohammed unveiled the UAE Government Strategy Plan with the aim of achieving sustainable development throughout the country, investing federal resources more efficiently and ensuring due diligence, accountability and transparency across federal bodies.

Regionally, his most outstanding achievement was the launch of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, on May 19, 2007, with an endowment of $10 billion. The foundation's aim is to promote human development by investing in education and the development of knowledge in the region by cultivating future leaders in both the private and public sectors, promoting scientific research, spreading knowledge, encouraging business leadership, empowering youth, renewing the concept of culture, preserving heritage and promoting platforms of understanding among various cultures.

Sheikh Mohammed launched Dubai Cares on September 20, 2007. The campaign, which raised an unprecedented Dh3.4 billion in its first two months, has become one of the biggest international humanitarian movements to focus on fighting poverty, spreading knowledge and providing education for children in the world's poorest countries.

On September 3, 2008, Sheikh Mohammed unveiled the Noor Dubai initiative aiming to deliver preventative eye care to over one million people in developing countries. This move is part of a drive towards a world free from curable forms of blindness.

With the number of traffic deaths in Dubai rising, Sheikh Mohammed called for tough measures against reckless drivers.

To ensure the rights of expatriate workers, he ordered the setting up of a special labour court. He also ordered a series of organisational measures to regulate the affairs of the foreign workforce in the country.

Sheikh Mohammad also stressed the vital need to develop education. He issued a law setting up the Dubai Foundation for Women's Development, which was tasked with developing and utilising the potential and capabilities of UAE women.

In another move, Sheikh Mohammed urged the Electoral College to participate actively in the first elections of the Federal National
Council, which have been described as a resounding success.

In an effort to encourage innovation, Sheikh Mohammed has announced a wide array of awards both in Dubai and the UAE, including the Arab Journalism Awards, the Dubai Government Excellence Programme, the Dubai Holy Quran Awards and the Young Business Leaders Awards. These awards have promoted a competitive climate for both the public and private sectors to strive for excellence.

Sheikh Mohammed also issued a directive mandating builders and developers in Dubai to comply with green building standards to ensure a healthy and environment-friendly city.

The past few years have witnessed significant progress in economic and social development: e-government was introduced; Dubai Metro was inaugurated and a significant number of investment companies were established.

These companies have formed global partnerships in the fields of industry, commerce, tourism and ports and real estate management.

A host of other cultural projects were also launched, including the Muhammad the Messenger Museum, the Universal Museums project and the Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens.

Sheikh Mohammed set out his comprehensive world view in his book 'My Vision', where he describes his philosophy and his political and economic vision.

He also offers a detailed account of how Dubai and the UAE have been guided to their present-day status as international centres, renowned for their high quality commercial and financial services, luxury tourism and their drive towards sustainable human and structural development.

Through generosity and dedication, Sheikh Mohammed has achieved notable success while shouldering the great responsibility of leading Dubai and the Federal Government.