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Sheikh Hamdan envisioned a progressive UAE economy

Issac John/ Sandhya D'Mello/Dubai
Filed on March 24, 2021
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Sheikh Hamdan carried a vision of building a nation equipped with a rich legacy for future generations who were given the platform to diversify.

The UAE economy today has earned the status of being very progressive both in the region and globally with its diversified strategy fuelling the development and growth for five decades.

The global gateway status would not have been possible without the wise contributions of the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, who held the latter position since the first formation of the Cabinet on December 9, 1971,‎ where he played an indispensable role in developing financial policies and government‎spending.

Sheikh Hamdan carried a vision of building a nation equipped with a rich legacy for future generations who were given the platform to diversify. The nation moved on from the oil economy to a non-oil one, paving the way for talent from all economic sectors. The Ministry of Finance took lead in many initiatives launch such as E-Dirham, the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund for Businesses in UAE, Accrual Accounting Programme and Savings Awareness Initiative, as well as segregation of duties, government procurement operations and social responsibility.

In January 2021, the UAE Cabinet approved the Federal Government Public Debt Strategy 2021-2023, in line with its approach post-Covid-19 to improve its financial planning, achieve financial sustainability and create a competitive economy based on knowledge and innovation. The strategy is a general framework for motivating the national financial and banking sectors, through consolidating the Emirates Investment Authority’s portfolio, establishing a bond market in the local currency and providing financing alternatives.

Sheikh Hamdan presided over several high-level government entities that played a vital role in supporting the economy and labour market in the UAE such as Dubai Municipality, the Al Maktoum Foundation, Dubai Aluminium, Dubai Natural Gas Company, the Dubai World Trade Centre and several others.

Building a strong foundation for 5 decades

Sheikh Hamdan described Dubai’s infrastructure, especially in the fields of telecommunications, transport and finance, as very developed, pointing out that the emirate was rich in resources, the most important of which was skilled human resources. He had said that Dubal is one of the most dynamic places in the world that has caught up with world leaders in various sectors, starting from tourism and continuing on with the latest technology.

The Ministry of Finance announced that the UAE was ranked first in the Efficiency of Government Spending index, a sub-criteria of World Competitiveness Report 2017 issued by the World Economic Forum (Davos) in Switzerland, having ranked second for three previous years.

Since 2010, the UAE has achieved high rankings among the top 10 countries in the Efficiency of Government Spending index, where the country rose from the seventh position globally to third in 2013, and then rising and maintaining the status of second in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before garnering the top spot in 2017.

Sheikh Hamdan stressed that this success is a reflection of the wise leadership’s vision and guidance in raising the efficiency of spending and directing it to serve the vital sectors in the country, which would meet the requirements of sustainable development process and achieve prosperity and affluence for the nation and its residents.

Boost to startups by Ministry of Finance

The Ministry of Finance gave a major push to the vibrant startup community through various segments like fintech, blockchain and other innovative initiatives. The ministry launched the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) in 2016, which manages and operates the fund and its programmes under one national umbrella worth Dh2 billion. The second phase was launched in September 2020 to create an integrated work environment that supports innovation and will integrate all the services the fund provides in a way that benefits its innovative members. During this phase, the Emirates Development Bank, will operate the two programmes of the MBRIF, the Innovation Accelerator programme and the Guarantee Scheme.

The MoF activates the fund’s role in supporting the UAE’s transition to a knowledge-based economy, creating solutions that support the objectives of UAE Centennial 2071 and the UAE National Innovation Strategy.

This launch boosts the ministry and the EDB’s continuous efforts to link and integrate all of the fund’s services, swiftly and easily, under one national umbrella that falls in line with the UAE government’s plans and strategies.

Nearly 880 applications from 65 countries were submitted to the fund’s Guarantee Scheme and Innovation Accelerator programme from 2016 to 2020, and over 120 partnership opportunities have been facilitated to support the projects. The MBRIF currently has 43 members, 25 of which are headquartered in the UAE, and are supported by 30 specialists from various sectors. Additionally, in the same period, members of the fund collected Dh171.9 million.

The ministry also published a comprehensive report that reviewed the MBRIF’s achievements over the past three years and highlighted the strategic indicators and objectives of the fund as well as the projects it implemented.The Guarantee Scheme was launched in 2016 to support innovators and the entrepreneurial market, by offering an effective tool that meets their needs. The MoF pays the debts due on behalf of the innovators in case of default on the loan, as the programme aims to bridge the Dh2 billion financing gap.

Industry mourns his loss

Several top business personalities reflected on the contributions Sheikh Hamdan has given to the UAE business ecosystem.

Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, vice-chairman and managing director of Emirates NBD and chairman of Emirates Islamic: “We extend our deepest and most sincere condolences to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Royal Family of Dubai and the people of the UAE, for the loss of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Hamdan will always be an iconic figure in our nation’s history, who played an instrumental role in the creation and success of our financial sector ever since he assumed role as the UAE’s first Minister of Finance and Industry in 1971. Sheikh Hamdan’s legacy lives on through his tremendous contributions in making Dubai a global financial hub and his vision for the advancement of the country. We remain forever grateful to him for his inspiring lifetime of service to the UAE. May his soul rest in peace.”

Yusuff Ali M.A., chairman and managing director of LuLu Group: “Deeply saddened and pained to hear the untimely demise of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He was a visionary with a very humanitarian approach, who was one of the key architects of the modern Dubai and loved by all. I pray Almighty Allah grant Maghfirah and Jannah to him and provide strength to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai; and other royal family members and people of UAE to bear this irreparable loss.”

Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare: “We are deeply saddened by the demise of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Being the UAE’s first Minister of Finance and Industry, Sheikh Hamdan played a pivotal role in building the country’s economy with a strong foundation on which the glorious future is being built. Our deepest condolences to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, all the members of the Royal Family, the Rulers of the Emirates, the government and all the people of the UAE. The legacy of this magnanimous leader will always be remembered. May God bless his soul.”

Marwan Al Zarouni, CEO of Dubai Blockchain Centre: “It is with great sadness that the Dubai Blockchain Centre sends its condolences to the Royal Family of Dubai upon the passing of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. May he rest in peace.

Sultan Ali Rashed Lootah, chairman, managing director and co-founder of Relam Investment, said: “Sheikh Hamdan’s contribution to the UAE economy has been immense and we all are witnessing the development and growth phase of it. The country will continue to take forward the legacy that he has left behind and will derive our lessons for future.”

Mohamed Al Banna, group chief executive officer and managing director of Lead Ventures: “The UAE had bagged the top spot in 2017 in the World Economic Forum ranking for Government Spending Efficiency index, which confirmed the tremendous value and confidence Sheikh Hamdan had in managing the UAE’s finance ministry and developing policies which were impactful on both macro and micro indicators to build a solid nation with a strong foundation.”

Sridhar Subbaraman, founder and owner of insureatoasis.com: “We mourn the loss of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Indeed it is a sad to lose the son of the founding father. His contribution in nurturing and celebrating the success of the young minds across the country will be something we will surely be missing. A moment of thought to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on the loss of his brother who was his constant support all through. The UAE has lost a great leader but the vast pool of upcoming leaders is unparalleled too.”

Taher Shams, managing director of Zulekha Healthcare Group: “As the longest-serving Cabinet Minister for five decades, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum will always hold an honourable position in our minds for the distinctive contributions he has made in planning, guiding and overseeing judicious financial management in the country across sectors. His astute decisions and leadership have established UAE as a financially-strong and stable economy worldwide. Our deepest condolences and prayers on his demise, as he leaves behind this promising nation in the hands of able intellectuals.”

Walid Hanna, founder and CEO of Middle East Venture Partners: “Sheikh Hamdan was known to take lead at most exhibitions in various key sectors and in charge of running the Ministry of Finance, taking ultimate responsibility for the prosperity and progression of the UAE’s economic and financial interests and initiatives. The Ministry of Finance’s launch of the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund, which manages and operates the fund and its programmes under one national umbrella for startups, is a true testimony of encouraging true entrepreneurial spirit in the nation.”

Walid Daniel Dib, co-founder and CEO of hala: |The recent growth of entrepreneurial activity in the UAE wouldn’t be where it is today without the foundations set by Sheikh Hamdan’s vision. Although the UAE mourns his death, he has left us with confidence that the this country’s leadership will continue his foresight in devising innovations to combat the challenges we face.”

Arshad Khan, CEO of The Arabian Bourse: “Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum has indeed left a golden legacy for us entrepreneurs to be part of this progressive nation. He had highlighted the importance of approving the Federal Government Public Debt Strategy 2021-2023, as it will have a significant impact on elevating the UAE’s global competitiveness standing and improving macroeconomic management. The strategy, he said, will stimulate the country’s financial and banking sector; provide financing alternatives for government development projects; and establish a bond market in the local currency.”

Paras Shahdadpuri, chairman of Nikai Group of Companies: “With the passing away of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, we have lost a UAE leader of global stature. Sheikh Hamdan had a great affinity with the Indian community, which he lauded as making a great contribution to the UAE economy. We at the Indian Business and Professional Council have been meeting him at least twice a year and he exhibited exceptional warmth to us. In his demise we all have lost a tall leader.”

Dr Dhananjay Datar, chairman and managing director of Al Adil Group: “The passing away of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a big loss. He made his mark as a true leader and played a very vital role in the growth and development of Dubai. He was a visionary and put in place multiple measures designed for the growth of Dubai. This is an irreplaceable loss and I express my heartfelt condolences.”

Bharat Bhatia, CEO of Conares: “Immensely saddened and heartbroken to learn about the death of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. We as a nation would not have been able to attain the achievements we have gained so far without his supervision and guidance in a wide variety of key initiatives of the nation’s economy and infrastructure development. He was truly a visionary, who never missed an opportunity to help guide the UAE in the right direction to reach greater highs and new milestones. He not only helped and walked with his nation towards new heights and unimaginable achievements but also showed his love and passion for the wellbeing and happiness of the people of the UAE.”

Abdul Jebbar PB, managing director of Hotpack Global Group: “Our deepest condolences to the Maktoum family and the people of the UAE on the demise of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the longest-serving minister in the UAE Cabinet. He was on the helm of many enormous projects for the progress of Dubai and the UAE as whole. As the Cabinet Minister for Finance and Industry, he led the progress of every Industrial sectors in the UAE. As Dubai goes forward, none of his works will be ever forgotten.”

Abdulla Nalapad, managing director of Nalapad Investments Dubai: “I am deeply saddened by the death of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The UAE has lost one of its visionary leaders. He was a true statesman, who showcased a long, pioneering journey in serving this great nation and immensely contributed to shaping this nation’s economy and taking it to the global level. He spearheaded tremendous initiatives and projects to develop the modern government institutions of the UAE.”

Esam Al Mazroei, vice-chairman of Bahri & Mazroei Group: “My heartfelt condolences to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, his family, Dubai and the entire UAE upon the passing of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He was a man, who had countless achievements in this country. He showed his love and compassion to the people of his great nation. It is indeed a loss for the nation, where he initiated a stronger system for the public sector organisations that would continue benefitting all residents and the generations to come in future.”

Dr Qaiser Anis, president of the Pakistan Business Professional Council in Abu Dhabi: “Sheikh Hamdan, right from the day one when the UAE was formed, played a great role in unification. As a finance minister, he steered the UAE successfully and led the country to unparallel development. His hard working and dedication and humility was of highest order. The whole Pakistani community prays to Allah Almight to grant Sheikh Hamdan the highest place in paradise. We had a programme today related to Pakistan Day, but postponed it to next week because the whole community is in a mourning.”

Shabbir Merchant, managing director of Champion Group: Sheikh Hamdan was a great human being and played an instrumental role in the development of the UAE. We pray to Allah Almighty to grant him the highest place in Jannah. His untiring efforts helped the country to achieve great heights. As a human being, he will always be remembered for his contributions towards his nation. He was a humble person and his contribution towards UAE’s achievements were tremendous.”

Rizwan Sajan, founder chairman of Danube Group: “On behalf of Danube Group and its employees, I express my condolences to the Royal Family of the Emirate of Dubai during this moment of terrible grief at the passing away of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. We pray to the Almighty God that He sends upon all who mourn His comfort and peace during this hour of sadness. His role in paving way for Dubai’s growth journey has been invaluable. Our prayers are with the Royal Family during these days of grief.”

Kamal Vachani, group director of Al Maya Group: “I am saddened to hear on the passing away of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. My sincere condolences to his immediate family, the esteemed Al Maktoum family and the people of the UAE at this time of great sadness. Sheikh Hamdan’s services to the nation are invaluable and immense. May his soul rest in peace.”

Rashed Al Ansari, CEO of Al Ansari Exchange: “Our deepest condolences to the Al Maktoum family for the passing of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. His great service to the UAE and its people will be forever cherished.

Mahendra Patel, chairman of GEAP: “Extremely pained to learn of sad demise of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid. A devoted son of Dubai and his role as finance minister has been exemplary. A quite and swift operator, his role as deputy ruler will never be forgotten.”

Salman Iqbal, CEO of ARY Digital: “Growing up in the UAE from childhood, I have witnessed his great work for the country and contribution in building the UAE’s economy, which is truly invaluable. This is a huge loss for the entire nation. May Allah grant him eternal peace.”

Joy Alukkas, chairman of Joyalukkas Group: “The sad passing away of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a huge loss for the UAE, his valuable contribution to the nation and its financial policies will always be remembered.”

Dr Ram Buxani, chairman of ITL-Cosmos Group: “Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who contributed for the UAE since 1971, will always be missed for his rare administrative, political and humane capabilities inherited by him from his father Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.”

Surender Singh Kandari, chairman of Aldobowi Group: “We are deeply saddened by the untimely demise of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He was like a benevolent father for all businesses and people living in Dubai. His vision, foresight and active participation helped shape the future of business community in Dubai. May God bless his soul.”

Suresh Kumar, chairman of IBPC: “Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid will always be remembered for the stability and strength that he imparted to building Dubai and the UAE into a world-class financially resilient nation. He consulted extensively and was accessible especially close to the Indian community who will mourn his demise.”

Ahmed Shaikhani, president of the Pakistan Business Council Dubai: “Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum will always be remembered for his valuable contribution in developing the sound financial policies for the country. May Allah rest his departed soul in eternal peace.”

Siddharth Balachandran, chairman of India Club, Dubai, and executive chairman and CEO of Buimerc Corporation DIFC: “It is with great sadness that I heard the passing of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Truly a great soul that exacerbated the even greater and accomplished life he led. My heartfelt condolences to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the extended family. May the Almighty give strength and solace.”

Adeeb Ahamed, managing director of Lulu Financial Holdings: “Sheikh Hamdan’s contributions to building the UAE economy on the principles of progressive financial policies will forever remain etched in the minds of those who call this great nation home. My heartfelt condolences to the royal family and the people of UAE in this moment of grief.”

James Mathew, CEO and managing partner of UHY James Chartered Accountants: “As board member of the IBPC I was blessed to meet Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and get a glimpse into his able leadership. Offering my heartfelt condolences as his passing away creates a void that cannot be filled.”

Raju Menon, chairman and managing partner of Kreston Menon: “I was saddened by the news of the demise of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Being the longest serving minister in the UAE Cabinet, he was instrumental in shaping the country’s future along with the visionary leaders of the UAE. I express my heartfelt condolences.”

Bader Alzaabi, chairman and board of director of WOW Electronic Transport Services: “We pay rich tribute to the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum for playing a pivotal role in the development of the UAE and Dubai. He lived an exemplary life full of achievements and set examples for others how to serve the humanity as well as lead the UAE on the world platforms. We all pray to Allah the Almighty to bless the deceased with mercy, rest his sacred soul in peace.”

Sunil and Avinash Jagetiya, chairman and managing director of Sun Management Group: “We pay homage to the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who lived an exemplary life full of achievements in serving the people as well as the Arab and Islamic nations. We all pray to Allah the Almighty to bless the deceased with mercy, rest his sacred soul in peace.”

Ali Homadi, founder and CEO of Loyica: “Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum was a visionary leader and he must be credited for turning Dubai into a world centre of trade and business. He leads the UAE to all important international forums and present its policy initiatives in an effective and positive way.”

issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

— sandhya@khaleejtimes.com





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