Balancing wealth and the public good in Abu Dhabi



The September 2010 edition of the McKinsey Quarterly has an informative interview with the COO of Abu Dhabi's development company. Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi discusses Mubadala's double bottom line, bridging investment and development. He also discusses Abu Dhabi's clean technology initiative.

Mubadala Development Company is a study in contrasts. An investment company with assets of US$24 billion, its businesses deliver both strong commercial and social returns-reflecting the government of Abu Dhabi's policy agenda.

Its subsidiaries span multiple industries, including aerospace, energy, health care, hospitality, infrastructure, real estate, and technology-and while its sole shareholder is the government of Abu Dhabi, it has announced plans to take several of its local subsidiaries public in the next decade. This makes it a virtual incubator of companies that the government expects to play a critical part in the economy that Abu Dhabi is building.

Among the most distinctive contrasts at Mubadala is its charter's mandate that it should not only be profitable but also lay the foundations for a diversified economy in the Emirate. Its mission is closely aligned with Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, an official document mapping out the Emirate's primary development areas from a government perspective.

In an era when companies around the world seek to integrate social values and the public interest into their business models, Mubadala stands as a vivid example. Its mission and structure are built around what it calls a 'double bottom line': pursuing opportunities that could deliver both strong social returns and commercial profit.

In a July 2010 interview, Mubadala's chief operating officer, Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, spoke with McKinsey's Zafer Achi about Mubadala's role in Abu Dhabi's economic development and the trade-offs the company makes to fulfill seemingly competing mandates.

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