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Look: Dubai billionaire rides a donkey in memorable throwback photo from the 1960s

Khalaf Al Habtoor releases a picture taken in the Buraimi region

Photo: @KhalafAlHabtoor/Twitter
Photo: @KhalafAlHabtoor/Twitter

Waheed Abbas

Published: Sun 13 Feb 2022, 12:05 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Feb 2022, 10:52 PM

The Dubai-based billionaire Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor has released a memorable photo of his childhood taken during the 1960s.

Chairman and founder of Al Habtoor Group, Al Habtoor is one of the richest and most influential people in the Gulf region.

The Al Habtoor Group, founded in 1970, is one of the UAE's most respected and successful businesses operating in the UAE and international markets including London, Vienna, Budapest, Beirut and Springfield, Illinois.

With interests in multiple sectors, including hotel, automotive, real estate, education, insurance and publishing, the group employs thousands of people.

Last year, the group’s chairman had announced that some of his companies could be listed on the stock markets.

The memorable black-and-white photo shows the young Al Habtoor wearing traditional dress and sitting on a donkey with mud walls seen in the background.

While sharing his photo taken in the Buraimi region of Al Ain the UAE in the 1960s, Al Habtoor says he had always firm belief in God and was determined to achieve his dreams despite tough times in those days.


“I am riding a donkey in the Buraimi region, in the late sixties. Despite the simplicity and difficulty of life in those days, we never felt deprived and the motive was faith in God Almighty, conviction, and determination to achieve dreams,” Al Habtoor tweeted.

Prior to the discovery of oil in the late 1950s, UAE citizens and residents lived a simple life and were dependent on pearl diving and trade for sustenance. The first commercial oil was discovered in 1958 in UAE – onshore in the Bab-2 well and offshore at Umm Shaif. The UAE joined Opec in 1967.

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