October 1, 2022

Company jostle to take a selfie with the radiant future ruler, surrounded by dozens of native officers. The Queen works the room with the benefit of an Instagram celeb who’s used to interacting with superstars like soccer participant Cristiano Ronaldo.

Just a few meters behind him, mixing into the group on the Dubai Expo occasion earlier this yr, stood one other man who could also be much less seen on town’s public scene, however whose affect is successful reward from overseas traders whereas preserving executives in authorities establishments. corporations on their toes.

As their 73-year-old father, the ruler of Dubai, locations extra duty on them, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, 39, and brother Sheikh Maktoum, 38, have carved their very own area of interest. They face the problem of sustaining Dubai’s standing because the Center East’s preeminent enterprise middle within the face of competitors from regional rivals and worldwide management within the aftermath of Russia’s struggle with Ukraine.

“Consider it as an organization,” mentioned Nasser Al Sheikh, a former Dubai CFO who helped the emirate overcome the 2009 debt disaster. “Hamdan is the chairman and Maktoum is the CEO. Hamdan is the face of Dubai and the crown prince, however selections on all points are made after consultations between the 2 brothers.”

Sheikh Hamdan, the charismatic crown prince and inheritor, is the highest marketer in a metropolis constructed on glitz and its capability to draw capital and hundreds of thousands of vacationers. This yr, Sheikh Maktoum is enjoying a key position in Dubai as a monetary market as he instructions the emirate’s rising state-owned enterprises. He’s concerned in a marketing campaign to promote shares to traders – most lately this month to toll highway operator Salik – and has often referred to as in company executives to debate their numbers.

Monetary markets apart, Dubai is being compelled to clamp down on illicit cash flows whereas the vitality disaster could have boosted oil revenues within the United Arab Emirates, however will speed up world fossil gas phase-out in the long term.

Brothers born a yr aside from the identical mom even have to keep up the fragile steadiness of energy within the UAE. It comes after Dubai’s management persuaded Abu Dhabi to refocus on enterprise and the economic system reasonably than overseas coverage, resulting in army clashes in conflicts stretching from Yemen to Libya to Turkey. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia is creating one other problem because it seeks to emulate Dubai as a magnet for overseas expertise and funding.

The 2 males hardly ever work together with the media. The Dubai press service said that it was not potential to rearrange an interview inside the specified timeframe and declined to remark additional.

Sheikh Hamdan nicknamed Fuzza, Arabic for one who rushes to assistance from others. He was appointed crown prince in 2008, passing over elder brother Sheikh Rashid, who handed away in 2015 on the age of 33.

Whereas his social media accounts are plagued by extra formal images of state affairs, Sheikh Hamdan can be recognized for skydiving, mountaineering, horseback driving or standing atop the world’s tallest tower. He has 14.6 million followers on Instagram, greater than the inhabitants of the UAE, and he connects with folks in malls and eating places in Dubai, persevering with the approachable chief that his father cultivated in preparation for his future position.

Hamdan accompanies his father to most conferences with different UAE sheikh rulers and chairs the 22-member Dubai Government Council, which incorporates his brother. The council’s web site says that Hamdan is “characterised by his younger and dynamic character” which has helped him construct connections with the folks of Dubai. He’s additionally chairman of the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, the Dubai Funding Company.

In the meantime, Maktoum, in line with the council, has “the traits of an formidable younger chief.” He got here into the highlight when he was appointed UAE finance minister in September 2021 following the dying of his uncle. Main the sale of shares in long-established state-owned corporations, he attracted the eye of traders. For years, they’ve been calling for the itemizing of state-owned corporations to stimulate the Dubai inventory market.

“Sheikh Maktoum is at present enjoying his position, outlined and technical,” mentioned Sheikha Najla Al Qassimi, Senior Fellow on the Dubai Public Coverage Analysis Centre, B’hut, who additionally served because the UAE Ambassador. “Sheikh Hamdan’s position as crown prince is extra political. He’s very effectively preferred by the locals and tribes and may also talk and attain out to Dubai’s giant expatriate group.”

This yr’s public listings are the beginning of the joy, with a complete of 10 state-owned corporations providing shares to traders. Sheikh Maktoum helped facilitate the sale of shares within the Dubai Electrical energy and Water Authority’s foremost utility, together with enterprise park operator Tecom Group, elevating greater than $6 billion in complete.

Buyers snapped up all of the shares of toll highway operator Salik on the market in September, and Dubai elevated the dimensions of the sale. The deal coordinated by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Merrill Lynch, amongst others, is about to boost $1 billion.

“Because the area’s monetary hub, Dubai’s markets don’t totally replicate this standing,” mentioned Mohamed Abu Basha, head of macroeconomic analysis at Egyptian funding financial institution EFG Hermes. “If you wish to push the story of Dubai even additional, you’ll want to proceed this IPO push, which I believe is lengthy overdue.”

Sheikh Maktoum additionally targeted on company governance. As head of the federal government’s audit division, he hawkishly oversees the funds of Dubai’s state-owned corporations, a few of which had been the reason for Dubai’s monetary troubles greater than a decade in the past. Focus is sensible – he is one of many prime officers tasked with overseeing town’s funds.

Since taking up the Monetary Audit Workplace, the royal has ordered monetary investigations into a number of state-owned companies for suspected corruption, folks aware of the matter say, refusing to talk on report about confidential discussions. His official conferences are quick, severe and to the purpose, they are saying, in a area the place lengthy chatter over tea usually precedes getting right down to enterprise.

The top of the Dubai-owned enterprise mentioned he was stunned when he acquired a name from Sheikh Maktoum’s workplace to summon him. When he arrived on the workplace, he was used just for Sheikh Maktoum to enter moments later with a bottle of water in his hand. He instantly started to evaluate among the transactions, asking for particulars and causes.

Fearful concerning the assembly, the chief nervously reached for his information earlier than the sheikh reassured him, he mentioned, declining to offer his title when speaking concerning the non-public assembly. As he left, Sheikh Maktoum gave his direct quantity.

Sheikh Maktoum, who can be the Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, generally asks for updates on particular tasks late at evening or on weekends, in line with one of many bankers.

“Since Sheikh Maktoum got here to energy, the UAE inventory markets have seen optimistic developments,” mentioned Tarek Fadlallah, head of the Center East division of Nomura Asset Administration. “It positively helps that he’s the son of the ruler of Dubai and belongs to a era that’s comfy with fast change.”

Sheikh Maktoum’s objective is to forestall a repeat of the Dubai collapse in 2009, which required $20 billion in support from Abu Dhabi. When Sheikh Maktoum was in his early 20s and Dubai teetered getting ready to default, he approached Al Sheikh, then chief monetary officer, for an in depth account of the monetary state of affairs.

“He requested me to sit down subsequent to him and evaluate the numbers,” Al-Sheikh mentioned. “He needed to know precisely the place the stress factors had been and what brought about them.”

Now Dubai is going through new obstacles. Earlier this yr, the UAE was added to the so-called “gray listing” of the Paris Monetary Motion Watch Group, pointing to the Gulf nation’s shortcomings in coping with illicit funds. Since then, the UAE has mentioned it can step up extradition pacts.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, worldwide consideration to how Dubai fights towards illicit finance has intensified. Politically, the UAE maintains ties with Russia. UAE officers have privately mentioned the nation will adjust to worldwide sanctions.

The reopening of Saudi Arabia underneath de facto millennium chief Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman can be beginning to appeal to overseas expertise that might usually have ended up in Dubai.

The UAE has responded with efforts to make the nation extra engaging to overseas companies and encourage immigrants to place down deeper roots. It decriminalized the cohabitation of single {couples}, allowed expatriates to marry, divorce, and use their nations’ inheritance legal guidelines, and eradicated the requirement to have a license to drink alcohol. As well as, there isn’t any want for native companions to start out a enterprise. He initiated long-term visa schemes and selectively opened the door to UAE citizenship, a uncommon transfer within the Gulf area.

How Dubai handles the subsequent chapter will rely upon the dynamics between the 2 brothers as Sheikh Hamdan ultimately succeeds his father because the face of town and Sheikh Maktoum cements his position as the person of numbers.

When Sheikh Maktoum was first appointed, “expectations had been fairly low,” mentioned Jim Crane, writer of the 2009 e-book. Metropolis of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism. “He was some unknown amount. However he’s so seen due to his character and his willingness to intervene.”


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