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30 years in the Middle East | UAE Sector Spotlight: Gulf Holdings

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I've seen a tremendous amount of change in the last 30 years but you must have seen an astonishing amount of change from your boyhood to today. How has that affected your life? Our first year as a country, it was set up in December, was 1972. And then at that time, the oil prices hike shocked the world. And the country took all that money and poured it into the country, basically building all the infrastructure: hospitals, schools, you name it. And as we wanted to build that, we needed people, of course. Having established companies, a lot of people coming in, I have always been the minority, I think the highest we reached was 12% in 2009-10 when the population dipped. But then we went into the next era which is the 70s until 1980. As you know, I established my business in 1982 because my vision was that we will need more, and we are heading for a big boom. And, sure enough, it exploded and started from those days all the way to 2008 before the first hiccup. Now during that, interesting thing, we had recessions, but again, people don’t feel recessions here because the longest recession we ever had was 24 months and the average was one and a half year or 18 months, so the place is resilient, very resilient. How have the changes impacted your business, particularly over the last 30 years? Those were the days and today are the days, I mean, it impacted tremendously. Particularly when you are diversifying and you are exposed to so many sectors, you have to follow these sectors as they develop. And, of course, you have hills and troughs as you go along and you adjust between these sectors. So it is a tremendous impact on the business because it forced the organisation of the company to continue diversifying and that's why researching and finding innovative areas, study what's the future, and on me personally. And has there been a significant impact on the culture of the country over that period of time? Indeed, indeed. As you know, most of the people were educated outside, mostly in England in the old days and we were exposed to every culture possible. The critical point is the fact that all these people come back to the same organisation. For example, Ministry or a company. How can you blend backgrounds of all these cultures in a team? But there are common grounds. And it created an amazing synergy that five people graduated from the States, two people from France, five people from England, some from Egypt and all these are in the same organisation, driving the same organisation and how you blend these cultures and backgrounds. So what we did, we took the best out of the East and the West. And, as you know very well, in my early career, people used to tag me as the bridge between East and West. I wasn’t a typical, traditional local nor a typical non-local so blending these two cultures is an amazing, amazing synergy in the country and now we are talking about two, three, ten, fifteen people but imagine this, in a nation. It is revolutionary. That’s why you see all this.

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Duration: 4 minutes and 21 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: clydecomarketing on Feb 10, 2020

The Middle East has a phenomenal story, going through exceptional transformation and unprecedented growth over the past three decades. As Clyde & Co celebrates its 30 years in the Middle East, we've asked our clients to share their reflections on how things have changed in their respective industries during that period. In this video, H.H. Sheikh Sultan Al-Qasimi at Gulf Holdings shares his thoughts on the development of the UAE, its diversification across key sectors, and the transformative impact of its multicultural approach.
More on Clyde & Co's 30 years in the Middle East: https://bit.ly/2QdNxsL

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