Dubai: A place to work and live, that’s what the ‘UAE Dream’ had been about for decades for anyone setting foot in the country for any purpose other than a short visit. In the last year and more, that changed to work, live and retire right here, if need be. The UAE is making that transition from a place of residence to the place one calls home.
That is another legacy that His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed will have to his name, presiding over some of the most transformative legislations in this regard. Retirement visas? Those for freelancers? Golden or Green ones? Investment visas and residencies for the talented young and more. All done with the purpose of transforming the UAE economy, not just in phases, but as much as is possible within the shortest timeframe.
Business owners already know the transformative powers of these changes. Some have already gone through the switch in their status, others – lots more – will follow. New-fangled business ideas will take root, whether that means investing in SPACs or any of the myriad crypto possibilities. And Abu Dhabi made sure that the supporting regulatory framework exists for those businesses and ideas to take hold. And for investors to remain protected.
Whether it’s financial services or high-end manufacturing, change is sweeping through the UAE business landscape. Startups are drawing interest from investors, or those that have already gone through the process – such as the Arabic streaming portal Anghami – have already debuted at Nasdaq, New York. Digital banks are being created, with the likes of e& (formerly Etisalat) and FAB shareholders in the latest such, Wio.
Under Sheikh Khalifa’s watch, not only was change a constant but what was just as striking was the speed of change itself. That will be one enduring legacy of UAE’s second President…
"The fact that more than 200 different nationalities call this great country their home, earning their livelihood and living with most dignity and respect is a true testimony of the benevolence of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa," Yussuf Ali M.A., Chairman of LuLu Group. "He was a true humanitarian and visionary who transformed UAE into one of the most developed, secure, safe, tolerant and culturally rich countries in the world."
"UAE attracted international healthcare organisations while also acting as the catalyst for local organisations to thrive and grow across the world," Dr. Azad Moopen, founder Chairman and Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare. "UAE’s exemplary efforts to control COVID-19, and vaccinate all citizens and residents have been at the forefront of ensuring that the country emerges from the shackles of the pandemic at the earliest and delivers the world’s greatest show- Expo 2020 in its greatest glory."
"Sheikh Khalifa oversaw the country’s economic growth, and his key objective as President was to continue on the path laid down by Sheikh Zayed, whose legacy, he said ‘will continue to be the beacon guiding us into the future, a prosperous future where security and stability will reign’," Rizwan Sajan, Chairman of Danube Group. "Sheikh Khalifa embraced sustainable development to build a modern nation that derives its socio-economic clout from robust constitutional and structural tenets."
Dhananjay Datar, Managing Director, Al Adil Group, "It is an extremely sad moment for all of us. The passing away of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan leaves us all in great sorrow. He was a visionary leader and an inspiration for all of us. He was instrumental in the growth and development of UAE. A great humanitarian he was loved, admired and followed by everyone. This loss will leave a big void that will be difficult to fill."
"His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was a pillar of strength and inspiration," said Michel Ayat, CEO of AWR Automotive. "The UAE grew in prosperity and global influence, and we will forever hold his legacy in our hearts."
"May his soul rest in peace."
"As this great nation mourns, allow me to present my deep and sincere condolences and sympathy in connection with the passing of this truly global leader," said Michael Brenden Davis, CEO of NMC Healthcare. "In a period which was critical for the world, Sheikh Khalifa overcame the most difficult obstacles and took the road toward improving relations between the nations of the Gulf and elsewhere."
"May his teachings last till eternity."
"Sheikh Khalifa oversaw that the historical relationship with India is further promoted," said Dr. Ram Buxani, Chairman of ITL Cosmos Group. "He will always be remembered for achieving milestones in relations between India and UAE, including the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)."
"UAE is one of the largest trading partners for Pakistan," said Javed Malik, former Ambassador and Pakistan’s Special Envoy in the GCC. "Under Sheikh Khalifa, the economic ministries of both countries were closely engaged to explore new ways and expand bilateral trade."
"And just recently, the leaderships met during Prime Minister Sharif’s visit and agreed to further consolidate trade relations."
"Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed served the nation to the fullest throughout his lifetime. His vision helped transform the UAE into a world-class business, cultural and technology center," said Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Chairman and Managing Director of VPS Healthcare. "His generosity of heart and spirit was evident as the UAE was named the world’s largest humanitarian donor during his leadership."
"We extend our deepest condolences to the UAE leadership and its people on the passing of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan," said Suliman AlZaben - Director of Hyundai UAE. "We will remain vigilant to his guidance and vision that will continue the legacy started by late Sheikh Zayed and the Founding Fathers."
"May his soul rest in eternal peace."
"The world lost an inspiring statesman and a people’s ruler," said Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director of LuLu Financial Holdings. "Always an influential figure in global and regional matters, he presided over the UAE’s transformation into a nation that belongs to the future with a firm footing in its founding values."
"Sheikh Khalifa was responsible for much of the UAE’s early development," said Anis Sajan, Vice-Chairman of Danube Group. "His legacy will stand up as an example to all of us to persist in our pursuit of progress."
"He will be deeply missed."
"The UAE, since its inception, has been about global harmony," said Jason Hayes, CEO of LuxuryProperty.com. "It has welcomed all from every corner of the globe and provided them a way of life that prioritizes personal safety and peace of mind."
"Under his leadership, the UAE navigated one of the most challenging economic crisis the world ever faced, and it was his vision which established UAE as a key global financial centre," said Nandi Vardhan Mehta, CFO of KAAF Investments, a family office. "He contributed immensely to the strengthening of India-UAE ties. In these difficult times he was a beacon of hope."
“This country has been a shining example of progress and innovation for the world, and it is all thanks to the wisdom and vision of its leader. The world mourns," said Dr. Mostafa Al Guezeri, Managing Director, Hitachi Energy
"His vision is evident through initiatives like Khalifa Excellence Award, the Khalifa Award for Education, Debt Settlement Fund, and the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation," said Ola Lind, CEO & Director of FTFT Capital. "The framework put in place for blockchain and cryptocurrency in Abu Dhabi will have a far-reaching impact."
Shamlal Ahamed, MD, International Operations Malabar Gold & Diamonds: " The passing away of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a sad moment for all of us. This is an irreplaceable loss for humanity. He was a visionary leader whose far sighted vision played an important role in making UAE a great nation. He was an inspiration to people from all walks of life and influenced every one with his great thinking."