Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum
His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum (1912-1990) ruled for thirty two years from 1958 to 1990.
His Highness is held as the pioneer of modern Dubai, a visionary who had largely contributed to the development of a prospering economy. Hailing from the Al Maktoum family, the ruling dynasty in Dubai- he was the eighth Emir of Dubai. He was also the Vice-President from 1971 and the Prime Minister of UAE.
As a child, His Highness received the finest education available at his time at the Al Ahmadiyyah School, studying Islamic studies, Arabic, and arithmetic.
Late His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum was foresightful about the future of a region so famous for the possession of its rich oil reserves. This abundance rather made him wary of possibilities of running out of the resource if not utilized wisely. Therefore, he led forward several developmental undertakings and infrastructural projects that reformed Dubai into a commercial hub and a famous bustling port.
Since the early 1970s, he directed his vision towards the development of an industrial region in the emirates. The major undertakings that took place under his rule were; the opening of Port Rashid (1972), opening of Al Shindagha Tunnel (1975), opening of Port Jebel Ali (1979), building of the Dubai World Trade Centre (1978), opening of the Dubai Dry docks (1983) and carrying out of the second major dredging and widening of the Dubai Creek in the early 1970s.
On April 30th, 1979, Late His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum was tasked with the formation of a new Cabinet for the UAE by the Higher Federal Council of the UAE. With the formation of the government on 1st July, 1979, the outlines of the government policy was announced by His Highness. His optimism to view problems as challenges, helped transform Dubai with developments that were otherwise impossible. The efforts of His Highness bore fruits as seen in the accomplishments of the Al Maktoum Hospital, the first modern hospital in the then Trucial States. The Al Maktoum Bridge connecting Dubai with Deira- effectively reducing the painstakingly long journey around the creek, and the making of the Dubai Airport, which currently ranks among the top 30 best airports of the world!. His Highness’s unrelenting passion towards the upbringing of Dubai and the UAE is clearly reflected in the emphasis he laid on industrial empowerment.
Today the highly successful Jebel Ali Free Zone is due to the laying of the foundation of the development of Jebel Ali Port, in which Late His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum personally took an interest.
This free trade zone begun under the vision of Late His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in 1985 as a small operation of 19 companies, thrives today as a business hub of over 7000 companies that continue to expand. It attracts over 20% of UAE’s FDI and accounts for more than 50% exports of Dubai. Attracting thousands of businesses from over 100 countries, it records an astounding trade value of $69 billion.
After His Highness‘s demise, he was succeeded by Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, his son as the Prime Minister of UAE. The compassion with which he undertook the transformation of Dubai earned him great love and reverence from all and is rightly referred to as the Father of Dubai.