“There are many sto­ries to be told of the forces be­hind the UAE, but while ev­ery year comes to an end, the same can­not be said for the cease­less am­bi­tion of the peo­ple of this young na­tion”

It takes bold, am­bi­tious and re­lent­less men and women to trans­form a desert coun­try into a glob­ally-recog­nised pow­er­house

Arabian Business English - - BUSINESS - Lubna Ham­dan, Se­nior Re­porter Lubna.Ham­[email protected]

HOW CAN YOU MEA­SURE WHAT makes a coun­try great? Some might say that it is gross do­mes­tic prod­uct, rate of em­ploy­ment, or so­cial progress. But many will miss the most over­looked, un­der­rated yet sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor which pri­mar­ily mea­sures the great­ness of a na­tion: its peo­ple. And so in this is­sue, Ara­bian Busi­ness took the chance to recog­nise the men and women who made a dif­fer­ence in the Emi­rates in 2018.

UAE: where leg­ends are made

There is Huda Kat­tan, who proved to the world that you can build a $1bn beauty busi­ness in Dubai from a $6,000 loan in the span of just eight years, amass­ing over 30 mil­lion global fol­low­ers and tak­ing the lo­cal brand global with of­fices across the US, UK and Europe.

Then there is BR Shetty, the health­care mag­nate who es­tab­lished the UAE’s largest pri­vate health­care provider NMC Health­care across ten coun­tries to treat more than 8.5 mil­lion pa­tients a year, only to ac­quire a US-based an­tibi­otic man­u­fac­tur­ing fac­tory through his phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Neopharma.

There is Dr Habib Al

Mulla, the for­mer found­ing chair­man of DIFC, who was turn­ing heads as early as

1997 when he sug­gested the UAE’s long-term visa sys­tem and 100 per­cent for­eign own­er­ship law. To­day, he is no less am­bi­tious, hav­ing called for reg­u­la­tory changes in ar­eas rang­ing from con­sumer law to bounced cheques. In July this year, he urged in­vestors to avoid neg­a­tive feed­back re­lated to blockchain and cryp­tocur­ren­cies, dub­bing them ‘the fu­ture.’

Then there is Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE’s Min­is­ter of State for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Expo 2020, who is lead­ing the com­ple­tion of the Dubai site well be­fore the mega event opens to 25 mil­lion vis­i­tors in two years’ time, while tech duo Mu­das­sir Sheikha and Mag­nus Ols­son cre­ated a ground-break­ing ride hail­ing app that turned the heads of global gi­ants in­clud­ing Uber and en­cour­aged the re­think­ing of the re­gion’s en­tire trans­port sys­tem.

This is with­out men­tion­ing the likes of Fadi Ghan­dour, the founder of Aramex and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Wamda Cap­i­tal who con­tin­ues to be a lead­ing ad­vo­cate for the cre­ation of a start-up ecosys­tem in the re­gion. This year, he launched a fel­low­ship pro­gramme, Wamda X, to at­tract promis­ing en­trepreneurs from the MENA re­gion with grants of $16,000 plus sup­port in­clud­ing men­tor­ship and a work­ing space in Dubai De­sign District (d3).

And who can for­get real es­tate ti­tan and Emaar Prop­er­ties chair­man Mo­hamed Alab­bar, who got the whole world to tune into Dubai as he built the world’s tallest tower, only to an­nounce a few years later that he would break his own records with the $1bn Dubai Creek Tower in Dubai Creek Har­bour. Emaar an­nounced this year that con­struc­tion for the pro­ject is on sched­ule, re­veal­ing nearby projects in­clud­ing the Sun­set res­i­dences near Dubai’s Creek Beach.

Oth­ers in­clude the au­da­cious Sir Tim Clark, pres­i­dent of Emi­rates Air­line, who laid out a vi­sion in which ro­bots would ID bags, place them in pre­scribed bins and later take them out of the air­craft. He said this year that Emi­rates is close to pro­duc­ing a walk-though se­cu­rity sys­tem that doesn’t re­quire pas­sen­gers to re­move boots and belts and off­load mo­bile phones and keys, turn­ing the en­tire process, from ar­rival at the air­port, check-in, im­mi­gra­tion through all the way to the board­ing gates, seam­less and un­in­ter­rupted. Sim­i­larly, He­lal Al Marri, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Depart­ment of Tourism and Com­merce Mar­ket­ing (DTCM), helped launch Tourism

2.0, a blockchain-en­abled mar­ket­place that di­rectly con­nects po­ten­tial buy­ers to ho­tels and tour op­er­a­tors to en­hance the tourism sec­tor in the emi­rate and ul­ti­mately com­plete its goal of at­tract­ing 20 mil­lion vis­i­tors per year to Dubai by 2020.

And there are many more sto­ries to be told of the forces be­hind the UAE, but while ev­ery year comes to an end, the same can­not be said for the cease­less am­bi­tion of the peo­ple of this young na­tion.

THERE ARE MANY MORE STO­RIES TO BE TOLD OF THE FORCES BE­HIND THE UAE” WHILE EVERYYEAR COMES TO AN END,THE SAME CAN­NOT BE SAID FOR THE CEASE­LESS AM­BI­TION OF THE PEO­PLE OF THIS YOUNG NA­TION”

Le­gal ea­gle Habib Al Mulla heads up one of the re­gion’s big­gest law firms

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