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Khalifa to usher UAE into new era of progress

posted on 15/01/2005: 807 views

The UAE will remain an oasis of peace, stability and tolerance under the leadership of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, according to a leading South Korean paper. 'After the passing of President Sheikh Zayed on Nov.2, 2004, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is keen to send a message to the world that the oil-rich country will remain stable on all fronts under the leadership of new President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al- Nahyan,' the Korean Post Khalifa to usher UAE into new era reported.

'Condolences poured in from around the region for the popular leader, who invested billions of oil dollars to transform Abu Dhabi from a dusty desert outpost into an oasis of high-rises, parks, fountains, manicured flower beds, restaurants and a wildlife island.

The greening projects cost millions of dollars to maintain every year, said the report, authored by Min Byung-il, one of the most prominent South Korean journalists. According to the report, World leaders say that his death is a big loss for the Arab and Islamic nations and to humanity but they voiced confidence in the new leadership, saying the unanimous election of President Khalifa would usher the UAE into a new era of progress, prosperity and stability.

There is no doubt that UAE would easily cope with the economic challenges ahead under the new president, who was expected to lead the country forward in its rapid march towards balanced economic development and to implement the plans and strategies laid out by his late father.

On Nov. 21, President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan saw the newly appointed cabinet ministers taking the oath before him at the presidential palace ceremony. He urged the new ministers to redouble their efforts in the service of the country and to resume the march initiated by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan calling on them to follow the advancements taking place globally and keep the country abreast of them.

Expressing his gratitude to Sheikh Maktoum for his wise counsel to the government, Sheikh Khalifa reiterated that the UAE government and people will follow the policies formulated by Sheikh Zayed, and will remain loyal to the principles, values and achievements made by him.

The new president also vowed to work in cooperation and coordination with his colleagues, the members of the Supreme Council, so as to carry on the progress of the federation and safeguard its stability and prosperity as well as the welfare of its people.

Sheikh Khalifa, the paper said, had also been intimately involved in the government of the seven-emirate federation since its formation in 1971, carrying a number of top posts.

As a prominent banker described as one of the miracles of modern times, once impoverished economy of Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates has been transformed to a US$70 billion colossus that happens to boast the third largest GDP in the Arab world after Saudi Arabia and Egypt in less than three decades under the inspired leadership, pragmatic management and, above all, unique stature of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The most striking economic legacy of Sheikh Zayed, according to economists, has been the prudent, professional management of Abu Dhabi's extraordinary oil wealth. The emirate is blessed with no less than one tenth of the world's proven oil reserves and 4 percent of global natural gas deposits.

Its petrodollar surplus has made Abu Dhabi one of the world's leading institutional investors, an external creditor that dwarfs any other Mideast sovereign in the Euro markets. Sheikh Zayed's management of Abu Dhabi's oil industry eschewed nationalization or confrontations with Western oil companies, the fashionable ideology of the 1970s in the Middle East.

Unlike other Arab countries, Sheikh Zayed refused to nationalize or expropriate Western oil concessions in Abu Dhabi. He created a unique partnership and joint venture model with ADNOC as the holding company owned 100 percent by the government and its joint ventures with global energy giants such as Total, BP, Mobil, and Chevron etc. This model gave Abu Dhabi sovereignty over its oil wealth yet enabled it to benefit from the Western oil companies' technological and management resources.

The result - Abu Dhabi's oil infrastructure is state of the art, its downstream petrochemical firms have access to global markets, and its security has become a priority for France, Britain and the UAE. Even as early as the late 1960s, Zayed was encouraging the scions of Abu Dhabi's leading families to travel to London, Baghdad and Beirut to earn advanced degrees.

In essence, he created a new class of UAE technocrats. Zayed University and the Higher Colleges of Technology are visible monuments to Sheikh Zayed's belief in human capital management. This passionate commitment to education is, of course, entirely consonant with Zayed's lifelong commitment to traditional Islamic values and his belief that his nation's greatest asset was his people, not its subterranean lakes of black gold.

Known at home for his modesty and generosity, Sheikh Zayed was also regarded as having a strong sense of justice and ready sense of humour. While advocating openness to the West, he strove to preserve local culture, and his own Bedouin roots were expressed in his later life in his love of hunting and falconry and in his attempts to preserve desert ecology. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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