chapter  Chapter 4
The Emergence of a Modern City (1966–2004)
WithAlamira Reem Bani Hashim
Pages 80

The ascent to the throne of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan marked the dawn of a new era for the people of Abu Dhabi. One of Sheikh Zayed’s first acts as Ruler was to set in motion a number of projects that would put Abu Dhabi on the way to becoming a modern city. ‘Sheikh Zayed’s interest lay only in what was getting started, not when it would be completed’, he said, referring to the emphasis the Ruler placed on paving the way for the modern city to emerge. To create a functioning government, Sheikh Zayed signed decrees creating departments from which his government would grow and selected their leaders. The main characteristics of a ‘bedoucracy’ or ‘sheikhocracy’ include hierarchical authority; an overriding loyalty to family, tribe, and sect that replaces accomplishment and efficiency; a generally patriarchal approach; and nepotism in the selection of upper-level managers to fill government positions.