Profiles of Success : Mussallam Bin Ham
It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict the future without looking into the past.
To understand the remarkable development the UAE has achieved, it is imperative to listen to those who have helped shape the country.
Gulf News publishes a series of interviews with prominent UAE business personalities who have played a pivotal role in building the nation.
They offer us a glimpse, not only into their personal lives that evolved dramatically from humble beginnings,
but also into the life of a country that metamorphosed almost overnight.
In the second of such a series, presented by Gulf News Research Centre, UAE journalist Abdullah Abdul Rahman talks to a leading Abu Dhabi businessman Mussallam Salem bin Ham Al Amri.
Deeply influenced by his father who instilled in his children a strong sense of right and wrong, Musallam bin Ham Al Amri today is a successful businessman who has followed the path charted out by President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
As his business expanded and diversified, he contributed to the development of the country, which is extremely dear to him.
A firm believer that women must play a pivotal role in society, Bin Ham has played his part in the development of education and has touched hearts in the journey of life.
He spoke to Gulf News about the early days when life was simple, and reflects on the UAE’s rapid march towards prosperity.
The following is the full text of the interview.
Can you tell us about your childhood?
I was born in a Bedouin family in Al Ain in 1955. The family and the prevailing conditions in the region largely influenced my life, as we tended to be simple and spontaneous in dealing with others. We also wanted to keep our Arab and Islamic traditions, which were instilled in us when we were children.
How and when did you start your business life and what positions did you take up?
I embarked on business when I was young during the 1970s, in the early days of the UAE Federation. We had to give our best and use all our resources to support the Federation and the march of development initiated by President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who we always bless.
His instructions call on all to contribute to the development of our dear country. The circumstances created by the Federation gave us a strong impetus to work and produce and that was how I entered the world of business to achieve the larger interest.
Can you tell us about your father, Sheikh Salem, and how he influenced you?
My father influenced me deeply. Not only did he carry out his duties towards the family, he was also keen to instil virtues and good ethics in us and raise us according to Arabian and Islamic traditions. He did so out of his desire to follow the example of our leader who has always stressed the need to protect the heritage of our ancestors and preserve our values and habits.
The UAE Federation was the dream of every citizen… how do you assess its achievements?
It has been a habit to announce these achievements through the media. Indeed, the achievements now speak for thamselves. If we just look around, we will clearly see that what has been accomplished in a short period of time amounts to a miracle.
Can you specify the role of women in this respect and their influence in your life?
As they say, women are half the society. The woman creates generations and is a partner of man, as she supports him when there are problems so that he can face them and overcome the difficulties.
For me, the woman means the mother who floods me with compassion and love and eases my burdens… the woman also means the wife who shares my burdens and responsibilities and builds generations. It is a sublime and glorious mission. Here in the UAE, women have been lucky to get adequate education and opportunities thanks to the keen interest and support of our leader. This has enabled them to enter many fields and take up senior positions to gain more respect and the confidence of all.
What do you think of the increasing number of businesswomen in the UAE?
I think that women entering business is a natural outcome of this new situation and the education they have obtained.
Women in the UAE have become more and more mature and self-confident and this has allowed them to enter the world of business with confidence and success. Our society respects women and will not spare any effort to create the right climate for them to achieve more success and progress.
How do you evaluate your experience in the National Consultative Council and are you satisfied with its achievements?
The President has laid down the principle of Shura (consultation) as a system of rule. Given his wisdom and farsightedness, the President has always been keen to consult others.
The NCC is an embodiment of His Highness’ vision and it has succeeded, through debates, in discussing issues and illustrating the ambitions and hopes of citizens in Abu Dhabi emirate.
How has Bin Ham Group contributed to the development in the UAE?
We have achieved great success since we started 25 years ago. Bin Ham is now one of the biggest and most successful national groups thanks to God and the continuous support and encouragement of our leadership. Bin Ham is a diverse group and we have achieved success in all fields, including oil.
Bin Ham Petroline and Bin Ham for Oil Drilling has actively contributed to the drilling of oil fields and water wells as we strongly believe in the importance of such vital projects.
As for Bin Ham for General Contracting, the company has carried out numerous projects, the latest of which involved the Guards Building in Al Ain for the Abu Dhabi Public Works Department. Our group has also undertaken several farming projects and is engaged in major travel and tourism ventures.
We also own and manage some hotels in the emirate, including Al Hamra Plaza Residence, Park Residence and Emirates Plaza. Bin Ham Electricity and Mechanical Group is also one of the pioneering companies in this field, with branches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain.
Another prominent group is the Sultan Bakeries Chain, which has branches in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Bani Yas. We are active in the financial sector through our International Forex Company in Dubai, while we are also involved in advertisements through our Middle East Corporation for Advertisements and Exhibitions.