this United Arab Emirates A powerful national security adviser will become chairman of Abu Dhabi’s $790 billion sovereign wealth fund, a move that could further blur the lines between the energy-rich Gulf state’s economy and geopolitics.
Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, known for his signature aviator sunglasses, is one of the UAE’s top foreign policy officials.He often engages in shuttle diplomacy, meeting with regional leaders such as Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi.
Taking the helm of ADIA will add to Tahnoun’s growing economic clout. The Emirati spy chief is already chairman of International Holdings Company (IHC), a sprawling conglomerate with a market capitalization of $236 billion, bigger than Walt Disney or McDonald’s.
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Analysts said IHC’s surge in value under Tahnoun’s leadership highlighted the fading lines between the UAE’s private and public sectors as the country experiences an economic boom.
Dubai has attracted the attention of wealthy Russians and former Western bankers. Meanwhile, UAE state coffers were buoyed by higher energy prices.
Tahnoun has been at the forefront of the UAE’s efforts to capitalize on its growing wealth. IHC signed an agreement in August with a Turkish renewable energy company linked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey and the UAE are on opposite sides in conflicts such as Libya, but the UAE has extended an economic lifeline to Erdogan amid a detente between the two countries.
Tahnoun, who holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu, is one of six brothers known as Bani Fatima, the son of UAE founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan and his third wife, Sheikha Fatima. UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed is one of them.
Tahnoun’s ascent to the top of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund comes as Gulf states look to use their oil wealth to diversify their economies away from oil and gas. The UAE is increasingly competing with its larger neighbor, Saudi Arabia, to attract foreign companies and Western expatriates.