TOP PRIORITY

UAE 2018 | DIPLOMACY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mua'lla, Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain, on the areas with great potential for growth and continuing to attract higher levels of FDI.

Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mua’lla
BIOGRAPHY
Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mua’lla was appointed Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain in January 2009 and Chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate in July 2011. In February 2011, Sheikh Rashid was elected Chairman of National Bank of Umm Al Quwain. He is a graduate of the American University of Sharjah, with a bachelor of arts in international studies.

How can Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain collaborate to improve the well-being of their citizens?

Citizen well-being is a top priority among all of the Emirates. Our recent visit to Ras Al Khaimah along with our regular visits to other Emirates are in light of our strong historical ties and the strong belief in the efforts of leaders of the Emirates in enhancing bilateral relations to benefit our Emirates and the people.

A new resolution has been issued for developing and upgrading the Old Umm Al Quwain. What impact do you expect from this project and what is the timeframe for completion?

The resolution came out of the strong belief of Sheikh Saud Bin Rashid Al Mualla, Member of the Supreme Council & Ruler of Umm Al Quwain, to enhance the infrastructure of the Emirate of Umm Al Quwain. His close supervision and directions to improve some of the old areas will commence very soon. Upon completion, which is expected in 2018, the selected areas will transform into completely developed neighborhoods with the necessary infrastructure such as roads and other facilities, which will benefit landlords. Land values are expected to rise accordingly, more developments are going to take place in the areas, and investors will be attracted to invest in these areas.

The GCC member states are becoming more committed to waste management. What role is Umm Al Quwain playing supporting this objective in the UAE?

Sustainable developments are one of the priorities of the Emirate's strategy. Waste management is one of the issues that the Emirate has tackled. Along with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, there are four major projects taking place in the Emirate: a sewage treatment facility, the demolition and reconstruction of a waste management facility, a general waste management facility, and the treatment of the current landfill to transform it into usable land.

Which economic sectors hold the biggest potential for growth in Umm Al Quwain?

We believe that eco-tourism has the greatest potential of growth along with other economic sectors such as heavy and light industries, logistics, and the free zone. We are planning to attract as many tourists to the Emirate as possible to benefit from the great attractions, such as the sandy beaches, archeological sites, desert, and natural islands. New projects are coming up in the pipeline, such as the recently announced project with the major investor SOBHA to develop the island of Seniyah. The project, named Firdous Sobha, comprises a luxury seafront villa community, hotels and resorts, apartments, boutique shops, 18-hole golf course, water sports center, and wellness spa, and this will add a great deal of value to the economy.

How has FDI to Umm Al Quwain developed over the last few years?

Umm Al Quwain has great potential for investments in many sectors, including tourism, industry, and several other sectors. The Department of Economic Development has reported significant growth in FDI in the past five years, and we are continuing to develop the infrastructure, laws, bylaws, and regulations to attract more investment. The Umm Al Quwain Industrial City Authority has also attracted many investments in various fields, and the government is investing a great deal to develop the areas allocated for the potential investments.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

We are extremely positive about our outlook for the coming years. As mentioned, many enhancements are being made in terms of our infrastructure, such as re-writing the necessary laws for our government entities to become more efficient and effective. Our focus is on attracting greater FDI and local investments in various areas such as tourism and industry, and we will continue our focus to develop the facilities needed for tourism.