Sheikh Khalifa the Ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the UAE

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the current President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He is also the sixteenth Emir for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which is the largest of the Emirates comprising the UAE. Apart from this, he remains the supreme commander of the Union Defence Force. 

Born in the Eastern region of Abu Dhabi, he is the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed and Her Highness Sheikha Hessa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He has been married to Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei and they have eight children. 

After the death of his father, he assumed the presidency of UAE. As President, he has launched several initiatives to improve the prevailing political and social conditions in the country. Apart from being a President, he is also the chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a financial company that deals with over $800 billion. He is fondly revered by his countrymen, and the Burj Khalifa was renamed in his honour.

Childhood and Early Life:

He completed his initial education at the city school in Al Ain and thereafter graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Sheikh Khalifa was mentored by his father in his early years. He was constantly spoken to by public majlis, who trained and educated him in skills of leadership, administration, and politics.

Initiation into Politics:

  • In 1966, his father, in capacity as the Emir of Abu Dhabi appointed Sheikh Khalifa as his representative in the Eastern Province, Sheikh Khalifa was only 18 years old at that time.
  • As the representative of the Eastern Province, he initiated make several changes and implemented developmental projects that were aimed at improving local agriculture.  
  • He went on to hold several posts, including that of the main executive leader of his father’s government and oversaw the implementation of projects.
  • In February 1969, he was named the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and was subsequently appointed the Head of the Department of Defence. 
  • In 1971, he was made the Emir or Ruler of Abu Dhabi and the Minister of Defence and Finance. In a couple of years during the cabinet allocation, he was given the post of Deputy Prime Minister.
  • In 1974, he became the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. He spearheaded major improvements and transformed Abu Dhabi into a modern city.
  • He established the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, in 1976, to ensure a stable source of income.  He became the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in 1976.
  • He established the Abu Dhabi Department of Social Services and Commercial Buildings in 1981. He also created the Private Loans Authority in 1991.


  • After the death of his father in November 2004, he was elected as the President on 3 November 2004. His father, Sheikh Zayed, had served as the President from 1971 to 2004. He took an oath to continue the legacy of his father and ensure the country’s prosperity.
  • He focused on developing the oil and gas sector, toured the country to understand the country’s requirements, and launched initiatives to developed projects related to social services, education, housing, and infrastructure.
  • He also took an interest in sports, particularly football. He encouraged local teams to participate across regional and international tournaments.
  • He was re-elected as the President in 2009. He succeeded not only in improving the country’s growth but also reached out to other countries to build healthy relations. 
  • He has launched several successful initiatives, including the Khalifa Excellence Award, Khalifa Award for Education, Debt Settlement Fund, and the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation.
  • He announced 2015 as the year of Innovation allocated over AED 300 billion on innovation through science and technology.
  • He dedicates 2016 as a year of reading and pushed efforts to improve the country’s educational institutions. 
  • Sheikh Khalifa declared 2017 to be the Year of Giving, where the focus was on improving social responsibility, volunteering, and national pride.
  • To honour the founding president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s centennial birth anniversary, Sheikh Khalifa declared 2018 as the year of Zayed. He focused on highlighting the leader’s achievements.
  • He remains among the wealthiest monarchs in the world and has an estimated net worth of $15 billion. The family’s net worth is estimated to be around $23 billion.
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