Experienced, Self-Driven & Results Orientated

Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Ajman Municipality & Planning Department

Interview with His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Ajman Municipality & Planning Department.
by Lawrence J. Ireton.

Lawrence J. Ireton: As we know, the UAE performed relatively well in 2011 compared to other markets around the world, with 3.8% GDP growth. It also went up on the Human Development Index, which measures health and education for example. What is your view on the general economic and social performance of the UAE over the past year?

HH Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi

HH Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi

Over the past year, it has been proven that with the leadership of His Highness the President of the United Arab Emirates that despite all the turmoil that happened here in the region, the UAE is very stable. There was good and healthy growth in 2011 and we are not looking for huge figures, because that’s not sustainable. We were lucky that our political strategy both domestically and externally was very beneficial to the UAE’s economy and business-wise we are doing very well, including the stock markets.

At present we might be witnessing the worst days of the Middle East’s recent history, so as the UAE has proven that it is stable, we are expecting very good growth rates in the next few years throughout the UAE. We have a very stable political situation in the UAE and this automatically translates to economic stability and more foreign direct investment in the UAE. Our ratings internationally are not bad, however with the changes that are happened in the region, I think that there will be good progress for the UAE in the next few years.

Lawrence J. Ireton: The UAE’s economic performance is clearly interlinked with the oil & gas sector given it holds the 6th largest oil reserves in the world, although for the northern Emirates that is not so much the case. How important is diversifying the economy in the northern Emirates specifically?

The natural resources in the northern Emirates are very low, especially in terms of gas and fuel. But we are getting a lot of support from the Federal Government. At the end of the day, we are under one umbrella in the UAE. The northern Emirates are mostly focused on tourism, real estate and cultural activities, services and industrial activities which are not really in the petrochemicals field. But at the end of the day, we are within one umbrella in the UAE and the support will always be there when it comes to electricity and fuel.

Lawrence J. Ireton: Ajman is said to have quite a strategic location. It has had a big increase in industry and real estate and even growth in its financial sector. This has all been under the leadership of your father, HH Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, who has been ruling now for over 30 years.

It was 30 years in September.

Lawrence J. Ireton: Could you give our readers an introduction to the development that has been undertaken in Ajman over the previous years?

His Highness has a very long-term vision for Ajman. We have always welcomed international investment in the Emirate of Ajman. We started to permit foreign ownership of land in Ajman in the late 1970s before he became the ruler, but he was in charge of managing the Emirate then. This has attracted a lot of investors from the region, because they feel safe investing in Ajman. Our local rules and regulations are very flexible and supportive to investors. We have allocated a lot of land for industrial and residential development. In the 1980s and 1990s there was a lot of development in the Emirate of Ajman which helped to accommodate a lot of business. You now have industrial cities and residential areas. A lot of people used to come in and establish their business here. They own their land and houses, and this was not the case in other Emirates. Ajman was home to a lot of international investors in the UAE. They live here, work in Dubai and have businesses in Abu Dhabi, but they love staying in Ajman.

His Highness’ priorities were always sustainable infrastructure. We have built a state-of-the-art sewage network in Ajman, which was completed in 2009. It was the first PPP (public-private partnership) infrastructure project in the UAE and the first infrastructure project that we issued bonds for (around $100 million) with a rating of A-. This was the first infrastructure project that had a rating in the UAE. It was done in partnership with the biggest international