Timeline: Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan - UAE President
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Timeline: Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan – UAE President

Timeline: Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan – UAE President

Born in 1948, Sheikh Khalifa was appointed as the President of the UAE by the Supreme Council on November 3, 2004

Sheikh Khalifa

The President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, passed away on May 13, at the age of 73.

Sheikh Khalifa, who took over the country’s leadership in 2004, had an illustrious political career, and was renowned for his efforts to harmonise the Arab states and bring stability to the region.

Here’s a timeline of his life.

Birth and childhood

Sheikh Khalifa was born in Al Muwaiji Fort, Al Ain, in 1948, and spent most of his childhood in the oases of Al Ain and Al Buraimi.

He received his school education in Al Ain, at the city’s first school, built by his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Acknowledging his father’s role in his life, he said, in 1990, “My father is my teacher. I learn something from him every day, follow his path and absorb from him his values, and the need for patience and prudence in all things.”

Entry into politics

At 18, Sheikh Khalifa was appointed Representative of the Eastern Region in 1966 when Sheikh Zayed became Ruler of Abu Dhabi and consequently moved to Abu Dhabi City.

He was appointed as Abu Dhabi Crown Prince in 1969 and later the first Prime Minister of the Abu Dhabi Government. He was also tasked with taking care of the defence and finance sectors to establish their infrastructures and services for the emirate.

When the UAE was founded in 1971, Sheikh Khalifa assumed the position of Deputy Prime Minister in the first federal cabinet. In 1974, the local cabinet of Abu Dhabi was replaced by the Executive Council as the key entity for the local government, and Sheikh Khalifa was its first president.

Two years later, his role in the defence sector of the country became more pivotal with his promotion to Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. He focused on military training and equipment in order to establish an optimised defence capability for the nation.

Sheikh Khalifa also assumed the chairmanship of the Supreme Petroleum Council in the late 1980s. The development of the UAE’s downstream petrochemicals and industrial complex at Ruwais, as part of wide reaching programme for the country’s economic diversification, was one of Sheikh Khalifa’s key concerns.

President of the UAE

When Sheikh Zayed passed away on November 2, 2004, Sheikh Khalifa succeeded him as ruler of the emirate. Soon after, the Federal Supreme Council elected him President of the UAE for a term of five years and, in 2009, he was re-elected.

As President, Sheikh Khalifa was a strong supporter of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) and his policies also supported solidarity and commitment to supporting the Arab region. He declared 2021 as the ‘Year of the 50th’, in the country.

Read: Sheikh Khalifa announces 2021 as Year of the 50th

On the UAE’s golden jubilee, he said that the country’s founding fathers embraced sustainable development as a guiding methodology to build up a modern nation that derives its human, socio-economic, and cultural clout from robust constitutional, organisational and structural tenets.

“In line with the ‘Principles of the 50th’, the UAE will continue to steadily pursue a solid ecosystem of well-established values and principles, with human capital lying at the heart of UAE Strategy for the Future,” he added.

Read: We’re ushering in next 50 years with a well-thought-out strategic vision: UAE President

Key initiatives

Sheikh Khalifa oversaw the establishment of several initiatives to boost the UAE’s socio-economic development. Some of them include:

• Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), which acts as the executive body for providing foreign aid to developing countries by funding schools, hospitals, orphanages and other infrastructural necessities.

• Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA)

• Abu Dhabi Department of Social Services and Commercial Buildings (1981). Also known as The Sheikh Khalifa Committee, it is responsible for providing loans to citizens for construction purposes.

• Khalifa Housing Fund (1979): The fund was set up to finance the construction of residential and commercial buildings for nationals at low administrative fees.

• Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED)

• Key focus on environmental protection, which led to the creation of renewable energy companies such as Masdar and the decision to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in the UAE.

• The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security, formed by merging three government entities including the the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, the Federal Customs Authority, and the General Authority of Ports, Borders and Free Zones Security.

Key legislations

  • Sheikh Khalifa issued a new family business ownership governance law to facilitate a smooth transition of businesses between generations.

Read: Sheikh Khalifa issues new law to regulate family business ownership in Abu Dhabi

  • In 2020, he officially abolished a previous law, the Federal Law No. 15 of 1972, boycotting Israel.

Read: UAE President Sheikh Khalifa scraps Israel boycott law

  • In 2019, Sheikh Khalifa issued a federal decree to form the Federal National Council (FNC) for the 17th legislative chapter.

Read: Sheikh Khalifa issues decree to form 40-seat Federal National Council

Motivate Media Group joins the nation in mourning the loss of a great leader


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