The UAE accounts for the most number of entries in Gulf Business‘ annual list of the Top 100 Most Powerful Arabs in 2020, with Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman, Emirates Group and Emirates NBD ranking second this year.
In total, 42 of the most powerful Arabs reside in the UAE.
Those on the list from the UAE span across industries – from finance and retail to science and technology.
Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri entered the ranks of the top five most powerful Arabs from the UAE this year, being the first Arab to set foot on the International Space Station.
1. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum
Chairman, Emirates/Emirates NBD
Overall rank: 2
2019 rank: 1
If someone truly understands the business pulse of the region, it is Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Among the numerous hats he wears, he serves as the chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, and also chairs flydubai, Dubai Airports, and local bank Emirates NBD. He was also temporarily appointed to oversee Dubai Holding in November.
In January 2020, he was also named to the newly created Dubai Council aimed at making the emirate the ‘best city to live in’ within the next 50 years. Appointed as the commissioner General of the ‘Dubai Economic Track’, Sheikh Ahmed’s remit covers Dubai’s economy, tourism, free-zones, airports, ports and customs.
As the chairman of the Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Committee, he is also supervising the preparations for the mega six-month event that will run from October 2020 to April 2021.
2. Hazza Al Mansouri
Overall rank: 5
Not surprisingly, the second new entry in our list also makes a stellar appearance right at the top, because he – quite literally – reached the very top of the world and went beyond it.
The first Emirati astronaut also became the first Arab to set foot on the International Space Station (ISS) in September 2019, in a remarkable feat that captured the imagination of a nation and the region.
Al Mansoori spread the message of his culture to his fellow crew members, swapping his spacesuit for a kandura and even offering them Emirati food.
Back in the UAE, the 36-year-old is now playing a pivotal role in the country’s space programme, specifically on the Hope Mission.
3. Mohamed Alabbar
Sector: Real estate/retail
Overall rank: 6
2019 rank: 6
If there has been one Dubai property company that has continued to launch new projects and also announce growth in the past year despite the market slump, it is Alabbar-owned Emaar.
The company, which recently launched a mega Dhs25bn project as well as a 44-storey luxury tower, reported a 25 per cent rise in sales during the first nine months of 2019 plus a 20 per cent profit growth in Q3 to reach Dhs1.3bn.
A strong propagator of advancing the local entrepreneurship economy, his e-commerce venture Noon.com offers stiff competition to Amazon MENA (previously Souq.com).
4. Dr Sultan Al Jaber
CEO, ADNOC Group
Overall rank: 7
2019 rank: 10
The man spearheading the remarkable transformation of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Sultan Al Jaber has risen on our list this year for driving the company’s ambitious 2030 strategy.
ADNOC, which manages 95 per cent of the UAE’s oil reserves, is ‘on track’ to reach 4 million barrels per day of production capacity this year, even as it boosts international partnerships.
Al Jaber is also driving its sustainability agenda, with ADNOC set to lower its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 25 per cent by 2030. Al Jaber also serves as a UAE minister of state and chairs clean energy company Masdar, the National Media Council and Abu Dhabi Ports.
5. Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak
Group CEO, Mubadala Investment/Chairman, City Football Group
Overall rank: 8
2019 rank: 7
Another Emirati leading Abu Dhabi’s diversification agenda is the CEO of state-owned Mubadala Investment, which manages more than Dhs840bn in assets.
Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak oversees the company’s vast global portfolio and been instrumental in reducing its stakes in mature assets – such as in Italian lender UniCredit, while acquiring stakes in new tech companies such as Spanish food delivery platform Glovo last year.
Meanwhile Manchester City FC, which Mubarak also chairs, made revenues of $697.8m in the 2018/2019 season, up 7 per cent year-on-year.