An excerpt from our exclusive interview with the Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq) executive chairman, Marwan Jassim Al Sarkal about Sharjah and its many flavours…
A relaxing sea salt spa in the middle of the desert. Sighting Arabian Collared Kingfishers and Hawksbill sea turtle nesting areas amidst one of the oldest mangrove reserves. Being in oneness with nature and endangered species, which include the Arabian gazelles among others. Experiencing Emirati homes from the 50s. Even more mesmerising is finding archaeological traces from the Neolithic age. Now throw into it a mix of retail outlets, alfresco dining options, a waterpark and a ride on a giant Ferris wheel. You can find all this in the emirate of Sharjah, the cultural capital of the UAE.
It must take a lot of effort and foresightedness to make all this happen. Let’s also not forget that Sharjah used to be the first port of call when trading activities started in the UAE. And Shurooq is working tirelessly to reinforce Sharjah’s position as an investment hub alongside being a culturally rich emirate with profound legacy.
“The only mandate is every single project we undertake must have a positive social, economic and environmental impact on Sharjah. We have our challenges but also a unique positioning. So far, it has been a rollercoaster of a ride. But it has been an exciting one too, transforming destinations and creating a niche positioning for Sharjah, which always existed but never showcased,” said Al Sarkal.
Ours is an on-going journey, he added and also quipped, “I get bored very quickly. That’s why I have to find new things to work on regularly.” Every day Al Sarkal seeks a new challenge, turning it into an opportunity. “And we are very passionate about what we do. Our goal is to complement the other emirates beautifully. Importantly, the leadership at Shurooq – His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah, and member of the UAE Supreme Council, and his daughter Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, chairperson of Shurooq – is very encouraging and ever keen to build new talent, invest in new and unique projects and elevate Sharjah’s stature,” he stressed.
The full story has been published in our May edition