12 - 14 September 2022

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Hall Numbers 3 & 4

Show Timings: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Sheikh Khalifa’s prominent legacy in the construction world


The afternoon of 13 May 2022 was suddenly engulfed in silence as the news about the UAE president’s death, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan broke out.

The late president, who died at age 73, was elected by the Federal Supreme Council as the ruler of the UAE on 3 November 2004 and has since contributed to the country’s economy as a major initiator of transformation.

Promoting the growth of a business-friendly environment, diversifying the UAE economy to boost non-oil revenues, and developing the region’s financial and tourism hubs with state-of-the-art infrastructure are only some of the many milestones achieved by Sheikh Khalifa.

After succeeding his father in 2004, Sheikh Khalifa put his extensive experience at senior levels of leadership to use by charting out the modernisation of the UAE’s seven emirates, including relevant growth in the construction and infrastructure industry.

Under the direction of Sheikh Khalifa, the Executive Council oversaw the realisation of extensive development programmes in Abu Dhabi, including the construction of housing, water supply system, roads and general infrastructure that led to the emergence of the city of Abu Dhabi into the modern city that it is today.

Sheikh Khalifa was also in charge of establishing the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in 1976 which manages the financial investments of the emirate to ensure a stable source of income for future generations.

Sheikh Khalifa’s initiatives

During his reign, the late president launched several initiatives and decisions aiming to improve the quality of life and achieve the nation’s highest priorities and development goals.

The initiatives include the Khalifa Excellence Award (SKEA) in 1999 which aimed to enhance the competitiveness of the business sector in the UAE, the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation which focused on health and education on domestic, regional, and global scales, and The Year of Tolerance in 2019, where the president highlighted the importance of communication between peoples of different cultures in a respectful environment that rejects extremism and emphasises on the acceptance of the other.

Infrastructure development In order to provide a better life for the citizens and ensure the highest quality of infrastructure across the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa dedicated $4.3bn in 2005 for development and infrastructure projects in the Northern Emirates.

As of 2013, over 24 ports were completed; one hospital named Sheikh Khalifa Hospital was built in Ras Al Khaimah, 2000 houses were built, and several highways, intersections and tunnels were constructed.

In terms of housing, Sheikh Khalifa regularly issued directives to construct and repair houses of Emiratis.

In 2012, the president ordered the rapid replacement of Emiratis’ houses built before 1990 in the emirates of Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.

There were around 12,500 such housing units that met the replacement criteria and construction was estimated to be $2.7bn.

In April 2015, the Follow-up Committee of the Initiatives of the UAE’s President approved a list of 504 eligible citizens whose houses require maintenance or replacement. The projects include maintenance of 105 houses at a total cost of $10.9mn and urgent replacement of 75 houses at a total cost of $17.4mn.

Moreover, under Sheikh Khalifa’s leadership, the UAE also achieved success internationally, one highlight being the decision in 2009 to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Khalifa’s decree in December 2009 establishing the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation as the entity in charge of carrying out the UAE’s nuclear programme represents another milestone for the country.

The establishment of the renewable energy company, Masdar, in Abu Dhabi in 2006, paved the way for the building of solar power plants, further diversifying the energy mix.

Last year, the UAE became the first Middle Eastern country to announce a net-zero by 2050 strategy as the country committed to supporting international efforts on global warming.

Improvements in transportation In addition to the infrastructure projects and development that Sheikh Khalifa initiated, the UAE has also seen major improvements in the transportation and aviation industry.

The local aviation industry’s development over the decades has transformed the nation from a fishing and pearl-diving harbour into a global centre for air transport.

It has developed into a global powerhouse for air connectivity and created best-in-class airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, Flydubai, and Air Arabia that connect far-flung parts of the globe.

Under Sheikh Khalifa’s leadership, the UAE aviation industry grew into a key pillar of the economy and a driver of business activity, contributing around 13% of the national gross domestic product.

Etihad Rail, which aims to connect the UAE with the rest of the GCC, is another key infrastructure project under development during the reign of Sheikh Khalifa. Phase one of the project is complete and operating along a 264-kilometre route from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais, transporting sulphur.

With infrastructure, transportation, oil and gas, and business development set in stone in the UAE, the road map of success within the next 50 years is on the way.

Propelled by the late Sheikh Khalifa’s vision and leadership, the UAE will continue to see improvements in the tech, renewable energy, sea transport, and artificial intelligence industries.
Improvements in transportation

Source: Construction Week Back to industry updates