Mohammed bin Rashid celebrates 73rd birthday

Sheikh Mohammed was born on 15 July 1949 and grew up in the Al Maktoum family home in Shindagha on the Dubai Creek.

A young Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

From the age of four he was privately taught Arabic and Islam and two years later began his formal education. He later attended the Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, now part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. There he became a top Commonwealth student before going to Italy for pilot training.

Sheikh Mohammed became the country’s first defence minister in 1971 after the formation of the UAE.

As a young man, he watched in the front row as his father, with a business-minded mentality, turned Dubai into a commercial and trading hub after the collapse of the pearl fishery and long before oil was discovered.

Sheikh Rashid, then Ruler of Dubai, with his son, a 28-year-old Sheikh Mohammed, in 1977.

In the 1980s, Dubai’s population surpassed 500,000. The city developed into a thriving international destination with the creation of Emirates Airlines in 1985 and events such as the Dubai Desert Classic, which opened in 1988.

Sheikh Rashid died in October 1990 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid, and Sheikh Mohammed was appointed Crown Prince in 1995.

Sheikh Mohammed took over responsibility for the airport and oil industry and merged Port Rashid and Jebel Ali, creating the Dubai Ports Authority, now DP World, one of the most successful companies in the world.

Looking to the future and early on realising the potential of the Internet and the digital age, in 1999 he ordered all public services online.

He also oversaw the construction of the Burj Al Arab, which opened in September 1999, two months after his 50th birthday.

Sheikh Mohammed became Dubai’s ruler in 2006 following the death of Sheikh Maktoum, who died suddenly during a visit to Australia.

During his reign Dubai’s growth accelerated. In 2009 the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, was completed and soon afterwards The Dubai Mall and the Dubai Metro were constructed.

Since then Dubai’s population has grown from 1.7 million in 2009 to over 3.5 million today.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre sent the UAE’s first astronaut into space when the ruler turned 70. In February last year, the space centre’s Hope probe began a mission to orbit Mars.

Sheikh Mohammed visits the 72nd International Astronautical Congress at the Dubai World Trade Centre, held for the first time in the Middle East. Photo: WAM

During the landmark 12 months, Sheikh Mohammed presided over the successful Expo 2020 in Dubai and the UAE’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Looking to the future, Sheikh Mohammed recently inaugurated Expo City Dubai, which will soon welcome thousands of new residents and businesses, and has launched a number of projects and initiatives to accelerate the UAE’s development.

During his 16 years as Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed has overseen the growth and transformation of the emirate and country into a thriving global hub for business, industry and tourism.

Source: the National

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