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Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

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Khalifa Al Nahyan
Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan-CROPPED.jpg
Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 1997
Born Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
(1948-01-25) 25 January 1948 (age 68)
Al Ain, Trucial States
(now United Arab Emirates)
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei
President of the United Arab Emirates
Assumed office
3 November 2004
Prime Minister Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Vice President Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Preceded by Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Acting)
Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces
Assumed office
3 November 2004
President Himself
Preceded by Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Emir of Abu Dhabi
Reign 2 November 2004 – present
Predecessor Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
House Al Nahyan
Al Nahyan family
Flag of Abu Dhabi.svg

HH Sheikha Hassa

HH Sheikha Shamsa

HH Sheikha Fatima



HH Sheikha Amna

Sheikh Usamah bin Zayed al Nahyan

Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Arabic: خليفة بن زايد بن سلطان آل نهيان‎‎; born 25 January 1948; referred to as Sheikh Khalifa) is the President of the United Arab Emirates, the Emir of Abu Dhabi and the commander of the Union Defence Force.[1]

He succeeded his father, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as Emir of Abu Dhabi on November 2, 2004, and he became the President of the Federation the next day. As Crown Prince, he had already been acting as president since the late 1990s while his father was in ill health. Khalifa is also chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which manages over $600 billion in assets. The Al Nahyan family is believed to have a fortune of $150 billion collectively.[2]


Early life[edit]

Khalifa was born to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikha Hassa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi (then part of the Trucial States), on January 25, 1948. He is the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed and is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.


When his father, Sheik Zayed, became the new Emir of Abu Dhabi he was appointed as Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi (the mayor) and as Head of the Courts Department in Al Ain in 1966. Zayed was the Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region before he became the Emir of Abu Dhabi. A few months later the position was handed to Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan.[3]

On February 1, 1969, Sheikh Khalifa was nominated as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and on the next day he was appointed as the Head of the Abu Dhabi Department of Defense. In that post, he oversaw the building up of the Abu Dhabi Defense Force, which after 1971 became the core of the UAE Armed Forces.

Independence in 1971[edit]

Following the establishment of the UAE in 1971, Sheikh Khalifa assumed several positions in Abu Dhabi: Prime Minister, head of the Abu Dhabi Cabinet (under his father), Minister of Defense, and Minister of Finance. After the reconstruction of the Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates, the abolishment of the Abu Dhabi Cabinet, and the establishment of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, he became the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (23 December 1973) and the Chairman of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi (20 January 1974), under his father.

In May 1976, he became deputy commander of the UAE armed forces, under the President. He also became the head of the Supreme Petroleum Council in the late 1980s, and continues in this position today, which grants him wide powers in energy matters. He was also the chairman of the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency.

Presidency (2004–present)[edit]

Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with President of Russia Vladimir Putin on 10 September 2007.

He succeeded to the posts of Emir of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates on November 3, 2004, replacing his father Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had died the day before. He had been acting president since his father became ill prior to his passing.[citation needed]

On December 1, 2005, the President announced that half of the members of the Federal National Council (FNC), an assembly that advises the president, would be indirectly elected. However, half of the council's members would still need to be appointed by the leaders of the emirates. The elections were set to take place in December 2006.

Khalifa and U.S. President George W. Bush at Abu Dhabi International Airport, 13 January 2008

On January 4, 2010, the world's tallest man-made structure, originally known as Burj Dubai, was renamed the Burj Khalifa, in honor of the Sheikh.[4]

In 2010, Khalifa was described in a WikiLeaks cable signed by the U.S. ambassador as a "distant and uncharismatic personage."[5]

In March 2011, Khalifa sent the United Arab Emirates Air Force to support the military intervention in Libya against Muammar Gaddafi, alongside forces from NATO, Qatar, Sweden and Jordan.[6][7]

Later that year Khalifa was ranked as the world's fourth-wealthiest monarch, with a fortune estimated to be worth $15 billion.[8] In 2013, he commissioned Azzam, the longest motor yacht ever built at 590 ft (180 m) long, with costs between $400–600 million.[9][10]

In January 2014, Khalifa suffered a stroke and was reported to have been in a stable condition after undergoing an operation.[11]


Seychellois government records show that since 1995 Khalifa has spent $2 million buying up more than 66 acres of land on the Seychelles' main island of Mahé, where his palace is being built.[12] The Seychelles' government has received large aid packages from the UAE, most notably a $130 million injection that was used in social service and military aid, which funded patrol boats for the Seychelles' antipiracy efforts. In 2008, the UAE came to the indebted Seychelles government's aid, with a $30 million injection.[12]

Khalifa paid $500,000 for the 29.8-acre site of his palace in 2005, according to the sales document. A Seychelles planning authority initially rejected the palace's building plans, a decision overturned by President James Michel's cabinet.[12] A month after the start of construction of the palace, the national utility company warned that the site's plans posed threats to the water supply. Joel Morgan, the Seychelles' minister of the environment, said the government did not tender the land because it wanted it to go to Khalifa. Morgan said "the letter of the law" might not have been followed in the land sale.[12] In February 2010, the sewage system set up by Ascon, the company building the palace, for the site's construction workers overflowed, sending rivers of waste through the region, which are home to more than 8000 residents.[12] Local government agencies and officials from Khalifa's office responded quickly to the problem, sending in technical experts and engineers. Government officials concluded that Ascon ignored health and building codes for their workers, and fined the company $81,000. Ascon blamed the incident on "unpredicted weather conditions".[12] Khalifa's presidential office offered to pay $15 million to replace the water-piping system for the mountainside., and Seychelles' government representatives and residents say Ascon has offered to pay roughly $8,000 to each of the 360 households that were affected by the pollution.[12]

In April 2016, Khalifa was named in the Panama Papers by [13] the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists; he reportedly owns luxury properties in London worth more than $1.7 billion via shell companies that Mossack Fonseca set up and administers for him in the British Virgin Islands.[14]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan". Forbes. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Pendleton, Devon (11 March 2009). "The Gulf's Newest Billionaire". Forbes. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "World's tallest building opens in Dubai". BBC News. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Coker, Margaret (29 November 2010). "Leaked Papers Show Arab Leaders Critical of Iran, Neighbors". The Wall Street Journal. 
  6. ^ "UAE updates support to UN Resolution 1973". WAM. 25 March 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-04-06. 
  7. ^ "Libya Live Blog – March 24". Al Jazeera. 24 March 2011. Archived from the original on 24 March 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "The World's Richest Royals". Forbes. 29 April 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-10-06. 
  9. ^ "Emirati royals knock Abramovich off top of yacht league". CNBC. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  10. ^ Daniel Fisher (5 April 2012). "German Shipyard Launches World's Largest Private Yacht At 591 Feet". Forbes. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Sheikh Khalifa's condition stable as he recovers from stroke". The National. Abu Dhabi. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Margaret, Coker (9 September 2010). "Sheikh Abode a Sore Point in Seychelles". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "Panama Papers: The Power Players". International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Retrieved April 3, 2016. 
  14. ^ Adam Lusher (April 5, 2016). "Panama Papers: 12 world leaders linked to offshore dealings – and the full allegations against them". The Independent. 

External links[edit]

Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Born: 25 January 1948
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Emir of Abu Dhabi
Political offices
Preceded by
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
President of the United Arab Emirates