Timeframe: When Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid became Crown Prince of Dubai

After becoming Crown Prince on January 3, 1995, he took on the mantle of Ruler of Dubai in 2006

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January has a special resonance for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

On this month in 1995, he was appointed Crown Prince of Dubai by his brother and Ruler at the time, Sheikh Maktoum. Eleven years later, on January 4, 2006, Sheikh Mohammed became Ruler of Dubai. During those years in between, he would lead several initiatives that laid the foundations of the emirate as a global centre for trade and tourism.

One of the first projects he introduced was the e-government initiative, which was launched in 1995. This was during a time when most were barely considering the internet in their daily lives and did not foresee the enormous effect it would have on our society.

In late 1995, he announced a staple of the emirate’s tourism calendar: Dubai Shopping Festival. The annual month-long retail event, which was first held in 1996, is famous for its huge discounts, car raffles, firework displays and prize draws. The festival was another way to attract people to Dubai at a time when its global reputation was still emerging.

In the next few years, Sheikh Mohammed would lead several noteworthy projects as crown prince. These included a $540 million airport expansion, as well as free zone projects including Dubai Media City and Dubai International Financial Centre. In 1999, he issued an 18-month deadline to make Dubai government services fully online and ordered the creation of Dubai Internet City, recognising the growing importance of the worldwide digital economy.

Under the direction of Sheikh Mohammed, Dubai’s best known hotel, Burj Al Arab, was officially opened in December 1999. The structure became emblematic of Dubai’s burgeoning status. In 2001, he inaugurated construction of the Palm Jumeirah, another development that would capture the world’s attention and define the new Dubai.

After the death of Sheikh Maktoum, Sheikh Mohammed became Ruler of Dubai on January 4, 2006. The next day he was appointed Vice President of the UAE and in February was nominated for the role of Prime Minister by President Sheikh Khalifa. In February 2008, he appointed his son, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, as Crown Prince of Dubai.

Dubai’s drive into the future has accelerated in the years since Sheikh Mohammed assumed the position of the emirate’s leader. He ensured Dubai withstood the challenges of the global financial downturn of late 2008, and saw the construction of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in the first four years of his rule, the Dubai Mall, and the opening of the Dubai Metro in 2009.

Updated: January 05, 2024, 6:14 PM