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UAE President among Newsweek's list of the 50 Most Powerful People in the World

posted on 04/08/2009: 1462 views



President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan was chosen by the Newsweek magazine among its traditional list of 50 most powerful people in the world.

The U.S magazine's most recent issue hailed Sheikh Khalifa's ability to hunt down crises since an early age up to the current days where he managed to save the United Arab Emirates from the global financial crisis.

The magazine elaborated on Sheikh Khalifa's political career, achievements and traits ever since the then young crown prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, back in 1979, was tasked by his father Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the late Founding Father of the UAE federation, with tackling the violent financial crisis which hit the emirate because of high-interest loans given to nationals to finance new houses and businesses.

Directly addressing the crisis which hit the emirate few years after independence and before the discovery of oil, Sheikh Khalifa set up a committee that purchased the indebted citizens' debts and in less than a year slashed interest rates on their loans from 20% to less than 2%, said the magazine.

The said committee later turned into a loan-giving entity directly and effectively contributing to shooting the quality of life of the UAE citizens to very high levels matching those in the West and the then rich nations and driving extensive urban development which boosted the popularity of the young crown prince of the emirate, it noted.

The magazine also noted that Sheikh Khalifa, who continues to build on the legacy of wisdom of his late father, has developed strong relations with his own people, the region and the leaders of world.

It noted that upon taking over in 2004, Sheikh Khalifa launched reforms and a women-empowering process which led to appointing 4 women as ministers, giving women 30% of senior governmental positions and to increasing the number of businesswomen to more than 2400.

Hosting the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first universal museum in this region, the Guggenheim museum and world-class universities such as the Sorbonne and New York University, Abu Dhabi is set to be a global cultural crossroad, said the Newsweek.

UAE's Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, ADIA, the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, has managed to successfully and efficiently keep away the global financial crisis.

ADIA, it said, already holds large chunks of U.S. firms like Toll Brothers, and the global downturn is fuelling new buying opportunities around the world. It will likely keep looking for Western blue-chip assets, too. "That's sure to test the tolerance of financial regulators and domestic political opinion, but in the end, the need for cash will probably win out," the Magazine added.

Hosting the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first universal museum in this region, the Guggenheim museum and world-class universities such as the Sorbonne and New York University, Abu Dhabi is set to be a global cultural crossroad, said the Newsweek.

It cited Jack Lang former French Minister of National Education and Culture as saying that Abu Dhabi's hosting of two of France's cultural beacons represents the brightness and cleverness of the UAE leadership.

The magazine also featured comments by prominent figures from the UAE and other countries on choosing Sheikh Khalifa among the 50 most powerful people in the world.

Those include are H.H Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs, Syrian Minister of Social Affairs Dr Diala Hajj Aref, former Secretary General of the Arab League Esamt Abdel Majeed, UAE Minister of Economy Sultan Al-Mansouri, Talal Salman, editor in chief of Lebanon's Assafir newspaper and Media Personality of the Year 2009, Jack Lang former French Minister of National Education and Culture, South Korean Ambassador to the UAE Chung Yong-chil, Egyptian Ambassador to the UAE Mohammed Saeed Obaid and many others.

Sheikh Mansour said when one is talking about Sheikh Khalifa it is not easy to draw a line between what is public and what is private. "His personal traits reflect on the way he works, his approach to and management of public matters. "He is strictly punctual... a great listener... He keeps in touch with citizens, listen to their grievances...His majlis is always full of all types of people from all over the country," he said.

Talal Salman said the UAE political leadership holds the belief that actions talk for themselves.

According to Salman, the lesson that Sheikh Khalifa learned from his late father Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan is that those who mean to cover deficiencies and shortages talk too much. "Sons of this country's founding father are known of refraining from pompous rhetoric and would rather move in all directions with utmost agility keeping away from showing off." The Syrian Minister of Social Affairs said choosing Sheikh Khalifa among the 50 Most Powerful People in the World would positively reflect on the whole Arab World and would serve the interests and causes of Arabs.- Emirates News Agency, WAM

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