Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Along with this, he’s a visionary leader, philanthropist, poet, and champion horseman. Under his leadership, he managed to transform a Middle East desert into one of the world’s premier cities.  

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

In 1971, Sheikh Mohammed at the time was a 22-year-old who witnessed the return of Dubai to sovereignty after the end of British rule. Forty-eight years later, he is the most powerful man in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Here is how he managed to pull everything off. 

Early Days 

He was born in 1949, he spent his childhood at a family house in Shindagha, near Dubai Creek. He completed his schooling at Al Shaab School and Dubai Secondary School. After he finished his schooling in 1965, he moved to the UK, where he studied English at Cambridge University. 

And later he attended a six-month training court at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, Hampshire. He passed the Cadet school with the sword of honor which is awarded to top foreign students. 

At Cadet school

He returned to Dubai in 1968 and was appointed the Head of Dubai Police and Public Security.  This was his first-ever public position. From then he accompanied his father (who ruled Dubai for 32 years) for all important meetings. 

Head of Dubai Police

In one such meeting, he witnessed the UAE’s formation. During the 1960s the UAE we know today didn’t exist, it was under British rule. It gained independence in 1971, making Sheikh Mohammed its defense minister – a position he still holds. 

After being appointed the head of Dubai Civil Aviation, in 1985, he launched Emirates, one of the best airlines in the world. 

Also Read: Dubai’s Burj Khalifa Turns Into A Charity Box To Feed Lakhs Of Low Income Group People

How He Transformed Dubai? 

After he was made Crown Prince of Dubai he transformed the emirates into the most sought-after destinations worldwide. He started the eGovernment drive to make the country’s infrastructure and the economy more digitally advanced.

eGovernment drive

The annual Dubai Shopping Festival, which has tourists and shoppers from all around the world come to visit Dubai. This was his brainchild too. 

In 1998, he oversaw the opening of Shaikh Rashid Terminal that was a part of a multi-billion-dirham airport expansion plan, that same year marked the making of “seven-star” Burj Al Arab island hotel, it was Dubai’s most iconic project. That is now a symbol of the country’s hospitality and tourism. 

“seven-star” Burj Al Arab island hotel

Several more ambitious projects were launched, such as Dubai Internet City which gives businesses a competitive advantage, Media City, and Dubai International Financial Centre.

The project that caught everyone’s attention was- Palm Island, which is a giant manmade island in the shape of a palm tree inside lies the world’s most luxurious beach resorts and villas.

Palm Island

He even incorporated policies of openness in the market that allowed foreign direct investment for traders, making Dubai the world’s financial hub. The discovery of oil changed the economic aspect and helped in developing business. Turning Dubai into not just an international trade and financial center, but a tourist hotspot too. 

By 2008, the emirate unveiled the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Dubai’s population grew from 40,000 in the 1960s to 3.3 million, with about 3.1 million non-Emiratis, most of them living in the hundreds of high-rise buildings. 

Burj Khalifa

Sheikh Mohammed, being a good business and political leader, managed to embrace the western culture in Dubai and developed it into a world-class city that is known for its drive, ambition, and economic promises.

Image Sources: Google Images

Sources: BBC, The Guardian, Gulf News, +More

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