Video: UAE celebrates Sheikh Hamad's 48-year legacy as ruler of Fujairah

His planning and development projects made the emirate a fertile ground for economic investment and a cultural tourist destination



Photo: WAM
Photo: WAM

By WAM

Published: Sun 18 Sep 2022, 1:17 PM

Last updated: Sun 18 Sep 2022, 10:57 PM

September 18 marks the anniversary of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, assuming the role of the ruler of the emirate. He succeded his late father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Abdullah Al Sharqi.

Sheikh Hamad carried on his father's legacy of serving his country, building the nation and developing its foundations in all sectors, making the people and their prosperity his ultimate priority. This anniversary marks an important occasion in the history of the UAE and the emirate of Fujairah; it tells a history full of dedication, giving and responsibility, and shows a track record full of local and global achievements that have contributed to strengthening the UAE's position as one of the world's most developed countries.

Since Sheikh Hamad became the ruler of Fujairah, the emirate has taken rapid strides in human and urban development, thanks to his wise vision, careful follow-up, and the firm will to implement development plans in the fields of economy, education, culture, construction and healthcare. The ruler's diligent work in planning and implementing development projects that put people first, made Fujairah into a fertile ground for economic investment, a destination open to culture and tourism, a land of natural and environmental wealth, and a leading city in terms of security, safety and stability.

Sheikh Hamad's leadership style stems from a vision which is a product of 50 years of wisdom drawing on the vision of the founding fathers of the union under the umbrella of national unity. He was keen to transfer this unitary extension and the national approach to everyone around him; from members of society to the institutions that were created to serve the people.

He harnessed all resources and capabilities to build a cohesive society whose members are aware and empowered, and contribute effectively to the development of the UAE.

Sheikh Hamad grew up with a passion for learning and knowledge. He learned the principles of leadership and methods of foresight, drawing on the unique personal traits of his late father, and the environment in which he was born and raised in Fujairah. He was raised on the values of perseverance, determination and ambition that knows no bounds.

His father was keen that Sheikh Hamad obtained the necessary knowledge to develop his personality and secure his future, and so he received his primary education at Al-Sabahiya School, the first regular school established in Fujairah. He then joined London College in the UK in 1967 to learn the English language in order to complete his higher studies. He subsequently studied at the Hendon Police College, then at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After graduation, he returned home to stand by his father.

Sheikh Hamad was keen on overseeing the affairs of the emirate from an early age, and to engage in field work to develop the emerging region. When he was the Crown Prince, he was appointed Chief of Police and Security in Fujairah. Then, he worked as the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, as part of the first cabinet formation of the UAE Federal Government in 1971. Under his leadership, the agricultural production projects and farmers’ support programmes increased as he focused on benefiting from international experiences to make the UAE's agricultural and livestock development system successful.

After the death of his father in 1974, Sheikh Hamad took over as the ruler of Fujairah. Since then, he has followed in his father's footsteps in developing the emirate in all fields turning it to a hub for investment and a very distinctive tourist destination.

Over the course of 48 years, Fujairah has witnessed a series of development projects that serve vital sectors to meet the needs of the community.

Since he became ruler, Sheikh Hamad has directed special attention to education, harnessing all possibilities and technical and human resources to form an integrated educational system that meets the needs of society. He used to visit the schools in the Emirate and meet students and teachers, find out their needs, listen to their future aspirations, and honour outstanding students to encourage them to continue their efforts and achieving advanced academic levels. This was followed by a number of projects that support the educational process in Fujairah.

In the year 2000, Sheikh Hamad opened the Higher Colleges of Technology - Women’s College, and the Higher Colleges of Technology - Fujairah Men's College in 2005, the University of Fujairah in 2006, and established the Education and Academic Affairs Council within the structure of the local government of Fujairah in 2005, to support and advance the educational process in Fujairah. He also directed and supported building schools and other higher education institutions in different regions of Fujairah.

Fujairah has become distinguished over the past decades with its exceptional initiatives that drive art as the uniting and common ground of world nations.

Under the support and patronage of Sheikh Hamad, Fujairah saw the launch of several international cultural and artistic projects, the first of which was the Fujairah International Monodrama Festival, one of the most important theatrical festivals in the world. It later expanded becoming the Fujairah International Arts Festival.

In addition, Fujairah has launched a number of Arab creativity awards, cultural competitions, and established entities that support art and artists, such as the Fujairah Fine Arts Academy.

Throughout his reign, Sheikh Hamad has been the guiding father and the caring heart of his people. He is present at their occasions, sharing their joys and sorrows, celebrating their accomplishments and encouraging them to realise their dreams and aspirations. Sheikh Hamad also periodically visits citizens in their homes, accepts their invitations, takes care of their affairs, listens to them, and considers their living needs. He personally supervised many field and development projects in all regions of the emirate, and followed the progress of work in them, directing, praising and encouraging, thus embodying the image of the leader who is always in the field, gaining knowledge about the interests of his country and people.

Sheikh Hamad took a remarkable humanitarian and paternal stance towards the families of the UAE’s martyrs from the UAE Armed Forces. On the occasion of Martyr’s Day, which was held in Wahat Al Karama in Abu Dhabi 2021, he honoured a number of martyrs’ families with the "Medal of the Martyr" in appreciation of their heroism in the fields of chivalry and honour.

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In August 2022, the emirate of Fujairah ranked first internationally in the Numbeo Safety Index 2022 with a score of 93.23, ranking higher than 466 cities around the world. This achievement reflects the integration of efforts and the hard work of the security, police and community institutions made under the directives of Sheikh Hamad to ensure that Fujairah maintains the lowest regional crime rate, according to the statistics of Fujairah Police; making Fujairah a preferred destination for living, stability and global investment.

During the reign of Sheikh Hamad, many infrastructure and urban development projects emerged, which directly contributed to serving individuals, raising the quality of their lives and facilitating their movement between the various regions of the emirate. The Fujairah ruler directed the establishment and development of main and internal road network within the city and other Fujairah regions, and to provide them with the necessary services. Fujairah also made remarkable leaps in the urbanisation and construction sector; tall towers and buildings rose alongside the archaeological monuments and historical castles and forts that Fujairah is famous for. Sheikh Hamad also directed to restore heritage houses, and ancient archaeological monuments and preserve their history and authenticity to highlight the civilisation of the place. These heritage sites receive visitors and tourists that are introduced to the rich history and culture of Fujairah and convey an image about the life of the people who lived in it throughout the centuries.

The pace of work has accelerated in utilising environmental resources and natural tourist sites that spread across Fujairah, including the investment of the picturesque scenery of its vast beaches and marine and mountainous sites and the establishment of more tourist facilities such as hotels, tourist resorts, recreational sites to provide unique experiences to residents and visitors. Fujairah is also famous for its land and marine reserves that contain unique biodiversity. The Government of Fujairah, following directives from the ruler of Fujairah, has paid great attention to preserving them, including working on the "Fujairah Cultured Coral Reef Gardens" with the aim of protecting the marine environment, developing its resources and revitalising its tourism side.

In March 2022, Wadi Wurayah National Park, UAE's first mountain nature reserve, has been inscribed in the tentative list of nominations for UNESCO World Heritage Site status; a national achievement in the environmental work sector, which reflects the keenness of Fujairah government in cooperation with the concerned entities, to highlight the biodiversity of the emirate, and the great responsibility towards preserving its natural environments, which are rich in wildlife that directly contribute in maintaining the ecological balance in the region and the world.

Due to its strategic geographical location, the emirate of Fujairah witnessed great economic activity in the field of petroleum industries and marine navigation. Many decrees were issued to establish huge economic institutions concerned with the development of the Emirate in this vital sector.

In 1982, the first Rock Wool factory in GCC was opened in Fujairah. Today, the factory ranks as the largest insulation materials company in the Middle East, and supplies countries around the world with insulation materials used in the construction sector.

Sheikh Hamad also paid great attention to the mineral wealth and mining industries, as Fujairah is rich in stones and raw materials, and the proliferation of quarrying companies, which are now playing a pivotal role in supplying companies with building materials, and meeting the requirements of the global market, and its direct contribution to supporting the national economy and revitalising the real estate sector at the UAE level and abroad.

He issued an Emiri decree in 1987 establishing the Fujairah Free Zone. The Zone has worked since that time together with the Port of Fujairah to promote economic activity in Fujairah, and attract foreign investments, which contributed to increasing the emirate's GDP.

Moreover, the ruler of Fujairah issued a decree establishing the Fujairah Petroleum Industries Zone (FOIZ) in 2011. Since its establishment, FOIZ has enhanced navigation, petroleum activity, oil and gas industries, and the establishment of economic and logistics projects in the field of petroleum industries. Today, Fujairah Port is the second largest bunkering hub in the world.

In 2012, Sheikh Hamad announced the project of oil export operations through the Abu Dhabi-Fujairah pipeline, in an important strategic step that reflects his vision to boost economic development. He is also following the stages of work on the Etihad Rail project, which passes through Fujairah, and ensures providing all forms of support to help with the completion of the UAE's largest land transport project, as a new global achievement for the country in the field of supply, transport and logistics services.

Since his work as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Sheikh Hamad has been interested in personally learning about the experiences and practices followed around the world by attending conferences, summits and sharing experiences with other countries. After assuming the rule of Fujairah, he made many official visits to leaders of world countries, and was also entrusted with the tasks of representing the UAE in foreign forums, heading the country's delegation in conferences, seminars, and Gulf, Arab and international summits, and representing the then-President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in official missions in various countries of the world.

Sheikh Hamad's interest in sports stems from a realisation of its importance and the extent of its impact in people's lives. He has always supported sports clubs and encouraged athletes to train and participate in local, regional and international competitions and championships. In recent years, the sports sector in the emirate has achieved remarkable qualitative leaps, and recorded global achievements and advanced positions achieved by Fujairah's athletes in tournaments. Fujairah's reputation has grown internationally in the field of organising international championships for various types of sports, including bodybuilding championships, mental sports, and the international marine championships organised by the Fujairah Marine Sports Club. Sheikh Hamad has also supported the Fujairah Sports Club since its establishment, and in 2019, he ordered the construction of the Dibba Al-Fujairah Sports Club Stadium at a cost of Dh100 million.

Fujairah has also achieved several records in martial arts thanks to the support of the ruler of Fujairah in organising Martial Arts tournaments, and holding global competitions in Fujairah throughout the year. These tournaments are organised and supervised by the Fujairah Martial Arts Club, which serves as a global platform for the participation of international sports clubs and teams and to attract athletes from around the world to compete in Fujairah.

In November 2021, Sheikh Hamad issued a decree establishing the "Fujairah Government Excellence Programme" based on his belief in the importance of developing performance in government institutions, and moving to an advanced level in improving the competencies of its employees, by establishing strategic partnerships between local departments and the private sector regionally and globally.

The health and medical care sector has always been on the list of priorities to advance the standard of living in Fujairah. Sheikh Hamad followed the development of medical services in the emirate of Fujairah, and the establishment of hospitals that attracted the best medical cadres of different nationalities and provided their services to citizens and residents. Over the years, Sheikh Hamad visited hospitals, met with workers in medical institutions, and directed the provision of medical care equipment and supplies and their periodical upgrade. During the Covid-19 pandemic that swept the world, he carefully followed the repercussions of the pandemic and the requirements to control it, and directed the recruitment of medical and technical cadres to contain the pandemic and preserve the safety of community members in cooperation with health institutions in the UAE. Under his patronage, a number of examination and health care centres were opened to contain the fallout. With the support of Sheikh Hamad, development projects in the health sector in Fujairah included the new expansion project in Fujairah Hospital, where new departments were established containing the best advanced medical devices to provide better health services to the community.

The emirate of Fujairah is still making major strides, under the wise leadership of Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi and thanks to his insightful planning and hard work to make Fujairah a global city within a country with global features and dimensions, offering exceptional models of development, and achieving record numbers in global indicators.


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