Revealed: Top 5 most powerful Arabs in the UAE
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Revealed: Top 5 most powerful Arabs in the UAE

Revealed: Top 5 most powerful Arabs in the UAE

The highest ranking entries originating from the UAE in Gulf Business’ annual Arab power list 2021


UAE nationals, once again, account for the most number of entries in Gulf Business‘ annual list of the Top 100 Most Powerful Arabs in 2021.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, managing director and CEO of state energy company ADNOC Group, ranked second this year, and led the UAE’s list of most powerful Arabs.

A total of 40 of the most powerful Arabs reside in the UAE, spanning industries such as finance, retail and science and technology.

Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, as well as the Minister of State for Advanced Technology, entered the ranks of the top five most powerful Arabs from the country this year, following the Hope Probe’s successful launch and subsequent insertion into the Mars orbit.

1. Dr Sultan Al Jaber 
CEO and managing director, ADNOC Group

Sector: Energy
Overall rank: 2
2020 rank: 7

In a climate where international oil companies are slashing their spending plans, state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) announced in November that it aims to spend $122bn between 2021 and 2025 on growth projects, including ramping up production capacity to 5 million bpd by 2030. From creating regional and international partnerships to diversifying its product and service portfolio and exploring opportunities in hydrogen and ammonia production – ADNOC’s CEO and MD Dr Sultan Al Jaber has notably risen on our list this year for driving the company’s impressive strategy.

Along with expansion, he is also driving its sustainability agenda, with ADNOC set to lower its carbon intensity by 25 per cent by 2030. The UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and a Cabinet member, Al Jaber also chairs clean energy company Masdar, the National Media Council and the Abu Dhabi Media Company.

2. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum
Chairman, Emirates/Emirates NBD

Sector: Diversified
Overall rank: 3
2020 rank: 2

The aviation industry was among the hardest hit by the crisis and yet Dubai flagship carrier Emirates played the critical role of transporting stranded citizens while also seeking to gradually reopen routes. At the helm, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, has been instrumental in ensuring the airline’s return to the skies.

As the chairman of Dubai Airports, Dubai’s biggest bank Emirates NBD and conglomerate Dubai Holding, Sheikh Ahmed has also been key in ensuring Dubai’s economic revival following the Covid-19 lockdown last year. In his role as the chairman of the Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Committee, he is supervising the preparations for the mega six-month event set to begin in October.

3. Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak
CEO and managing director, Mubadala Investment

Sector: Diversified
Overall rank: 6
2020 rank: 8

Leading Abu Dhabi’s diversification agenda is sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment, headed by Al Mubarak, which manages more than an estimated $232bn in assets. He also chairs the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Emirates Global Aluminium and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. Al Mubarak’s also made a big impact as the chair of Manchester City FC.

As the club’s former star Pablo Zabaleta told Daily Mirror: “Khaldoon makes every player feel part of the family. He’s a great man who has played the most important role in City’s success.”

4. Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri
Minister of State for Advanced Technology/ Chairwoman, UAE Space Agency

Sector: Science and Technology
Overall rank: 8
2020 rank: 26

Fulfilling the ambitions of the UAE and the entire Arab region, the UAE’s Hope Probe, which successfully entered into the Mars orbit on February 9, was a celebration of the region’s abilities and aspirations. And leading from the front was the UAE’s Minister of State for Advanced Technology and the chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, Al Amiri, who also secured a spot in the 2021 Time100 Next list.

Overseeing the agency’s mandate of guiding the space sector and its future missions, Al Amiri will be instrumental in the country’s technological developments on Earth and beyond.

5. Mohamed Al Hammadi
CEO, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation

Sector: Energy
Overall rank: 9
2020 rank: 56















ENEC, led by Al Hammadi, announced in March 2020 that the Barakah nuclear power plant had become operational, making the UAE the first country in the Arab world to become a nuclear power.

Once all four reactors are operational, the 5.6GW of power generated will meet 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity needs. Significantly, the UAE was also re-elected to the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in September.

Tasked with developing plans for a peaceful nuclear energy programme and non-regulatory infrastructure in the country, Al Hammadi will continue to play a big role in growing this sector.

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