By Sabin Iqbal, Group Editor, TECHx Media
When a young, dynamic country on the cusp of its exciting economic growth and social development loses a visionary leader, it leaves a gaping hole.
World around, countries collapse and people flee mostly because leaders fail in their role. When there is no vision, or able leadership, people perish.
With the passing away of HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, the country has lost a leader who had played an inspiring and pivotal role in taking the UAE to the forefront and making it a safe and progressive country. He was instrumental in bringing in changes that paved the way for the UAE to continue its developmental journey started by his father, the Founder of the UAE, HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Sheikh Khalifa became the president of the UAE when Sheikh Zayed died in 2004, and since then till he took ill a few years ago, he had led both the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a progressive, tolerant and dynamic country with an unwavering focus on socio-economic and scientific advancement. He made sure there was good enough representation of women in the cabinet and brought the electoral process in Federal National Council.
In fact, Sheikh Khalifa was preparing the UAE for a post-oil future even when the emirate has a considerable reserve of crude oil.
The fact that the UAE is abreast of many countries in the region, if not across the world, be it in renewable energy initiatives or net-zero target of 2050, it is largely due to Sheikh Khalifa’s vision. The green hydrogen, large-scale solar power plants, and the city of Masdar are examples of the country’s vision, which was largely Sheikh Khalifa’s as well.
He was also an influential figure in regional cooperation and unity. Sheikh Khalifa was involved in making sure that there was unity in the region even at a time of conflicts and differences. A man of soft words, he surely earned the respect from the rulers across the region.
Sheikh Khalifa’s successor as Ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of UAE, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, widely known as MBZ, has been the de-facto ruler of the emirate since Sheikh Khalifa took ill. Going by the way he has led the country, there would not be any significant departure from Sheikh Khalifa’s vision.
It is fitting that the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, is named after him. A tall leader like him truly deserves a tall stature.