UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan passes away
The ruler of United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has died aged 73.
The UAE’s ministry of presidential affairs has announced 40 days of official mourning with flags at half mast, and three days closure of ministries and official entities at the federal and local levels, and the private sector.
Sheikh Khalifa oversaw the UAE’s sustained economic growth and his name was immortalised on the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, after he bailed out Dubai during its financial crisis more than a decade ago.
He was the eldest son of the UAE’s first leader, Sheikh Zayed, after the UAE’s formation in 1971. He succeeded his father as president in 2004.
In 2003, he called for the creation of a new airline, Etihad Airways.
He was also instrumental in attracting cultural and academic centres, such as branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums. He also oversaw efforts to move the OPEC country beyond its reliance on petrodollars with investments in renewable energy research, including plans for a futuristic low-carbon desert city known as Masdar, as well as tourism.