To host the ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, at the Achievement Awards last week was an honour for Arabian Business.
It was also a privilege to hear his impassioned speech that ranged in topics from the values driving his leadership, to his admiration for the economic advice that the UK’s former prime minister Margaret Thatcher once gave him during a state visit.
The transformation of Ras Al Khaimah under Sheikh Saud’s leadership has been astonishing. In just five years it has doubled its tourist numbers from 500,000 in 2013 to a projected one million visitors this year.
By 2025 that figure is expected to grow to three million, contributing ten percent of GDP, which is double the present number.
Industry is also growing. “You’ll find Ras Al Khaimah has had a diverse economy for a long time – because we didn’t have oil to begin with!” His Highness quipped, before turning to a more serious point about the values that drive him.
“As Sheikh Zayed once said, ‘Wealth is not money. Wealth lies in men. This is where true power lies, the power we value. This is what has convinced us to direct all our resources to build the individual, and to use the wealth which God has provided us in the service of the nation.’ And that is what I strive each day to do.”
In this edition of Inside AB, Jeremy Lawrence and Bernd Debusmann look at the astonishing growth of the northern emirate, and the ruler behind its rise.
(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)