His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. He became Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in November 2004 and was appointed Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in January 2005. Later that month, he was promoted to the rank of General. Since December 2004, he has also been the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
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General Sheikh Mohamed has held many positions of authority and draws upon a wealth of diverse experiences. In January 1993, His Highness was appointed Chief-of-Staff of the UAE Armed Forces and held the rank of Lieutenant General from January 24, 1994 until January 2005, when he was promoted to the rank of General. On November 30, 2003, His Highness was appointed Deputy Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. On January 6, 2004, His Highness was appointed the Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
His Highness received his formal education in the UAE and England and graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1979.
His military training included courses in basic armor, basic flying, helicopter conversion, tactical flying, and basic paratroops. He has also completed the Staff College course. General Sheikh Mohamed's experience encompasses commanding an armored unit, a Gazelle helicopter squadron, the Air School and the Air College. He has been Commander of the UAE Air Forces and Air Defense, Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chief-of-Staff of the UAE Armed Forces.
In addition to his military responsibilities, General Sheikh Mohamed was the principal advisor on security issues to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. General Sheikh Mohamed is the President of the ECSSR and an active member of the Supreme Petroleum Council, which has policy jurisdiction over oil and energy issues. He is also Head of the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED), which is the premier economic planning institution in the UAE.
His Highness is also the Head of the Mubadala Development which, since its establishment in 2002, represents the main investment vehicle for the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to achieve sustainable social and economic benefits for the Emirate. General Sheikh Mohamed is also the Head of the UAE Offsets Group. In addition, His Highness is the Head of the Abu Dhabi Education Council which was set up in September 2005 to develop education and vocational training.
The private sector did not exist in the emirate of Abu Dhabi three years ago, according to chamber of commerce president Salah Salem Bin Omeir Al Shamsi. “The government’s vision is for the private sector to lead the development of Abu Dhabi to create a true global capital,” he says, crediting Abu Dhabi’s successful economic growth in recent years to the leadership of his royal highness the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, is next in line for the presidency of the United Arab Emirates, after his brother Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for whom he acts as special adviser. Sheikh Mohamed has been widely credited for leading the Abu Dhabi executive council in its mission to develop and plan Abu Dhabi’s future by restructuring the public sector in order to introduce private sector participation.
Although the development of Abu Dhabi has been accelerating rapidly over the past few years, a controlled and cohesive plan spearheaded by Sheikh Mohamed has ensured the emirate does not suffer the effects of traffic congestion and poor infrastructure, which more uncontrolled development in neighbouring emirate Dubai has created.
Historically, most businesses in Abu Dhabi were family run and there was almost no market competition. Today, public shareholding companies play a strong role in the UAE’s economy and will continue to drive growth as the private sector becomes stronger. Foreign businesses must operate within joint-venture agreements with local partners but many believe this regulation will change with the introduction of industrial free zones as the city develops.
And it is these industrial free zones that will attract and develop a more diverse industrial base in order to diversify from a largely oil-based economy. Of the seven emirates which make up the UAE, Abu Dhabi sits on 90% of the country’s oil reserves and 9.2% of the world’s known oil reserves as well as 4% of its natural gas.
The abundance of its natural resources makes Abu Dhabi one of the richest places on Earth, with a per capita income of $30,000. But Sheikh Mohamed understands the dangers of overdependence on the oil and gas industry, embarking upon a proactive strategy of economic diversification calling upon the private sector and foreign investment to realise this ambition.
General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has received numerous citations and decorations from the UAE, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Qatar, the Kingdom of Morocco, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.
Born in 1961, General Sheikh Mohamed is married and is the father of nine children.