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RIP: The legacy of the late UAE finance minister Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The deputy ruler of the emirate of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has died at the age of 75. He was a top-notch financial personality

Dubai announced 10 days of mourning and closure of government institutions in the emirate for 3 days as of today The late finance minster is credited with turning Dubai into a world center of trade and business The late finance minister was a major supporter of Dubai’s startup ecosystem

 The deputy ruler of the emirate of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has died at the age of 75.

Dubai announced 10 days of mourning with flags to be flown at half-mast and closure of government institutions in the emirate for three days as of today Thursday, March 25.

Sheikh Hamdan had been unwell for a few months, but no official statements are yet issued as to the cause of death.  

Born on December 25, 1949, Sheikh Hamdan was the second son of late ruler Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

On Wednesday, Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum posted a picture of his brother saying: “We belong to God and to Him we shall return … May God have mercy on you, my brother, my support and my companion.” 

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan tweeted: “Today we lost one of the UAE’s faithful men after a life rich with giving and true patriotic work.”

Who was this pioneering business and financial personality?

Top-notch finance minister and businessman

The late Sheikh Hamdan held the post of finance minister since his appointment in the first cabinet in 1971 upon UAE’s formation by the late ruler Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan.

He is credited with turning Dubai into a world center of trade and business and led Emirati delegations to the International Monetary Fund and the OPEC Fund for international development.

Sheikh Hamdan led a wide array of conglomerates such as the Dubai Ports Authority, Dubai World Trade Center, and Dubai Natural Gas Company Limited.

The Ministry of Finance led initiatives such as E-Dirham, the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund for Businesses in UAE, and Accrual Accounting Program and Savings Awareness Initiative. 

The late Sheikh Hamdan presided over several high-level government entities in the UAE such as Dubai Municipality, the Al Maktoum Foundation, Dubai Aluminum, Dubai Natural Gas Company, the Dubai World Trade Centre, and several others. 

The late finance minister was a major supporter of Dubai’s startup ecosystem and embraced new technologies that stemmed from fintech developments including blockchain. 

The ministry launched the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) in 2016, which manages and operates the fund and its programs under one national umbrella worth 2 billion Dirhams ($545 million). The second phase was launched in September 2020 to create an integrated work environment that supports innovation, Zawya reported. 

World-class horse racing

The late Sheikh Hamdan established his first racing stable, Shadwell Racing, in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and built it into a racing empire with his horses in blue and white silks winning major international races. He reportedly owned eight stud farms worldwide.

Last June, jockey Jim Crowley completed a treble on the opening day of Royal Ascot with Sheikh Hamdan’s Battaash, Motakhayyel, and Nazeer.

Funeral prayers will be restricted to family members due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dubai Media Office said.