New Ruler to focus on the development of RAK

Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi has been appointed as Ruler of Ras al Khaimah and a member of the UAE's Supreme Council.

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Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi was yesterday appointed as Ruler of Ras al Khaimah and a member of the UAE's Supreme Council, the nation's highest federal authority.

Born on February 10, 1956, he is the fourth son of Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi.

He was appointed the Crown Prince and deputy ruler of Ras al Khaimah in 2003, and in recent years has taken on an expanded role in running the emirate's affairs. Sheikh Saud holds a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Michigan State University.

He is married to Sheikha Hana bint Juma al Majid, the daughter of a prominent Emirati businessman, Juma al Majid. Sheikh Saud and Sheikha Hana are parents to six children.

Sheikh Saud held a number of government posts, including the Presidency of the Ruler's Court and the chairmanship of the Ras al Khaimah Municipal Council, before he was appointed Crown Prince. He also set up a number of local companies, including Julphar, a pharmaceuticals company, and RAK Ceramics Company.

"The policy of the Government of Ras al Khaimah focuses on development of the vital industrial sector, together with the tourism sector, with a special emphasis on manufacturing industries that support the construction sector like the ceramic and cement," Sheikh Saud said in comments published on WAM, the state news agency.

He ordered the expansion of RAK Airways and RAK Airport, and opened the Ras al Khaimah Private Model School to local and expatriate students to provide low-cost, quality, private education to children in the emirate, and kept its fees low, and has subsidised housing for low-income citizens.

In addition, Sheikh Saud has demanded that government departments in RAK be fiscally responsible and maintain balanced budgets.

As testament to the emirate's economic advancement, Ras al Khaimah was assigned a credit rating of A by Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings in 2008.

The new ruler is also "a believer in a free market economy for the UAE as a whole, and for Ras al Khaimah, he is a firm supporter of innovation and fair competition as a way towards development", according to WAM.

"Sheikh Saud also places great emphasis on tourism and real estate projects, while taking care to protect the environment."

He jointly set up the RAK Medical and Health Sciences University, which was established in 2006. Sheikh Saud is the university's chancellor. The university has colleges of medical, dental and pharmaceutical sciences.

In addition, Sheikh Saud opened evening schools for non-Emirati and stateless students and sought to provide basic services to remote residential centres, such as roads, schools and hospitals, and has built mosques and schools to serve these communities at his own expense.