HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi, was elected as the new President of the United Arab Emirates on 3 November 2004, to succeed his father, the late HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAE President from 1971 to 2004.
Since becoming the president of the UAE, HH Sheikh Khalifa has presided over a major restructuring of both the Federal Government and the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The appointment of a new Cabinet in February 2006, with Vice-President and Dubai Ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as prime minister, saw major changes in the government’s structure. These included new ministries devoted to streamlining and modernizing the government, a new focus on community development and an important step towards reforming the political process through introducing indirect elections for half of the Federal National Council’s membership.
Early in his presidency, HH Sheikh Khalifa took extensive tours throughout the UAE to study the needs of the northern Emirates. Assessing the need, he commenced a number of projects to build housing and schools and provide other social services.
HH Sheikh Khalifa also implemented dramatic changes in the government of Abu Dhabi, including improving public services and opening up the economy to encourage investment and public-private partnerships. During the early years of the Federation, he believed it was right and appropriate for government to play the leading role, but now, with a burgeoning private sector and with a well-educated population, the time is right for both local and federal government to step back and concentrate on the core areas of government responsibility.
While emphasizing the need for a restructuring at home, not just in terms of government, but also in how the people of the UAE look at their own societal responsibilities HH Sheikh Khalifa has continued to ensure that the country pursues an active foreign policy.
HH Sheikh Khalifa has demonstrated his commitment to continuing to build relations with other countries. Under his leadership, the UAE has provided emergency assistance at times of natural disaster, responding immediately in sending help after events such as Hurricane Irma, which battered the US and Caribbean in 2017, and the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2018. During his tenure, the UAE has become the world’s largest donor of humanitarian assistance relative to national income, as reported by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2018.
HH Sheikh Khalifa is a strong supporter of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), believing that the success and achievements of this body reflect the depth of understanding reached amongst its leaders.
1948: HH Sheikh Khalifa is born in the inland oasis-city of Al Ain.
1966: HH Sheikh Khalifa is appointed Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi and Head of the Courts Department in Al Ain.
1969: HH Sheikh Khalifa is nominated Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and appointed Head of the Abu Dhabi Department of Defense, directing the Abu Dhabi Defense Force (ADDF) and later the UAE Armed Forces.
1971: HH Sheikh Khalifa is appointed Prime Minister of Abu Dhabi and Minister of Defense and Finance.
1974: HH Sheikh Khalifa is appointed first Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. In this role, he leads a wide-ranging development program in the emirate, including the construction of housing, water supplies, and infrastructure, leading to the emergence of the modern Abu Dhabi that exists today.
1976: HH Sheikh Khalifa is nominated Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces following the unification of the armed forces of the Emirates. He proceeds to develop the country’s defensive capability, establishing military training institutions and procuring the most advanced technology.
Sheikh Khalifa establishes the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to manage the financial investments of the emirate and ensure a stable and prosperous future.
1979: HH Sheikh Khalifa decides to alleviate the burden on citizens of repaying commercial bank loans, leading to him establishing the Abu Dhabi Department of Social Services and Commercial Building in 1981.
1991: HH Sheikh Khalifa establishes the Private Loans Authority to further support citizens in building residential and commercial properties.
2004: HH Sheikh Khalifa is elected President of the UAE, succeeding his father, founder of the UAE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
2006: HH Sheikh Khalifa oversees the restructuring of the UAE Cabinet, with Vice-President and Dubai Ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum becoming Prime Minister.
2010: Burj Dubai is renamed Burj Khalifa in honor of HH Sheikh Khalifa.
2012: In 2012, HH Sheikh Khalifa launched Absher initiative to enhance the participation of UAE citizens in the labour market.
2014: The Emirates Polio Campaign was launched under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, to provide help and humanitarian assistance to the people of Pakistan and support their development initiatives for a better future.
2015: Under the directions of Sheikh Khalifa, the UAE Cabinet approved the designation of 2015, as the Year of Innovation.