His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr
Al Qasimi's Accomplishments
Initially as Crown Prince and now as Ruler, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi has led broad-ranging initiatives that have dramatically reformed and improved Ras Al Khaimah's economy, infrastructure, and public sector as well as its education and health care systems. With no oil reserves, Sheikh Saud recognized that the future of the Emirate needed to be built on other natural assets: the beauty of the landscape, the abundance of its non-oil resources, and the warmth and enterprise of its people.
Sheikh Saud guided unprecedented development and growth across the Emirate. His reform initiatives resulted in a dramatic jump of GDP in Ras Al Khaimah from AED 7.1 billion in 2003 to AED 13.7 billion in 2009, an increase of 91%.
In 1991, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi helped launch RAK Ceramics, one of the UAE's most successful companies and now the world's largest ceramics makers with manufacturing operations in eight countries. Ras Al Khaimah has also become one of the leading suppliers of cement, glass and aggregates used for construction throughout the UAE and other Gulf countries. Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar) is now the largest drug manufacturer in the GCC.
Over the same period, the Ras Al Khaimah tourism sector has seen exponential expansion with the development and opening of more than 10 international hotels in recent years with more than 20 slated for completion within the next five years. In 2009, RAK welcomed more than 245,000 foreign visitors.
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Looks Forward
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi has also been a careful and forward-looking steward of Ras Al Khaimah's development and fiscal stability. In 2005, he established the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) to facilitate foreign direct investment into Ras Al Khaimah and to fund infrastructure projects critical to expanding the economy. RAKIA has attracted more than 3500 foreign companies spanning numerous industrial sectors.
With little debt and significant cash flow from its various industrial enterprises, Ras Al Khaimah has maintained an "A" rating from both S&P and Fitch for the last three years.