His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has been President of the UAE since 2004. HH Sheikh Khalifa has presided over major restructuring of both the federal government and the government of Abu Dhabi to implement the highest international standards.
The President has promoted a number of significant changes, including the creation of new ministries devoted to modernising government, a new focus on community development, and a political reform which allows half the officials of the Ministry of Federal National Council Affairs to be elected rather than appointed. In announcing this reform, he said in 2005, “We will embark on a march that culminates in more participation and interaction by all the citizens of the country. Today, we stand at a threshold of a new era, whose ultimate objective is to entrench the rule of law and due process, accountability, transparency and equal opportunity.”
Support for the private sector
Another of HH Sheikh Khalifa’s priorities is to promote development throughout the UAE, including in the northern emirates. In Abu Dhabi, HH Sheikh Khalifa has pushed forward programmes which have greatly improved the efficiency of public services while lowering costs for the public. He has also supported the private sector with many initiatives, including public- private partnerships. He says, “During the early years of the UAE, it was appropriate for the government to play the leading role, but now, with a burgeoning private sector and with a well-educated population, the time is right for the government, both local and federal, to step back and to concentrate on the core areas of government responsibility.”
HH Sheikh Khalifa often urges the people of the UAE to play a larger role in the emirates’ development. He says, “It is high time for our political, religious, cultural, information, educational and civil institutions to take up their responsibilities to instil in our society a love of work, to make people understand that work means responsibility and reflects human, civil and religious values.”
Concerning foreign policy, HH Sheikh Khalifa is a strong supporter of the Gulf Cooperation Council and of peace and stability throughout the Arab world and beyond. HH Sheikh Khalifa has stated that his key objective as President of the UAE is to continue on the path laid down by his father, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose legacy, he says, “Will continue to be the beacon guiding us into the future, a prosperous future where security and stability will reign.”