Rashid Al Mazroui owns 'Bahri & Mazroui for Electrical Equipment', the company which supplied most of the electrical equipment for the roads and sqares in Dubai. Al Mazroui started his career very modestly, and with perseverance and a great deal of effort, he has achieved many successes. Today he is a member of the Board of Directors of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and a member of the U.A.E. Golf Association Board.
Rashed Al Mazroui talked to Reem Mahmoud about how he started his business and his concerns for the future.
Even as recently as the 1950’s, the Gulf region was relatively transient place. Al Mazroui says that his generation traveled to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other Arab countries in search of knowledge. “It was this generation who developed modern areas of employment and who went on to occupy many of today’s important positions in both the public and the private sectors.”
Al Mazroui describes this period as a stage of execution of ideas. “In the fifties there were simple trade activities between the Emirates and India, with the Emirates re-exporting to other gulf countries. The currency used to vary according to the external political and commercial powers and as the UAE hadn’t been established, it didn’t have its own monetary system. Trade was conducted with multiple currencies – a something that would cause instability in an economy. Since establishment of the union, we can look back and see the significance of the developments that have happened and how great the efforts have been to establish a modern state and infrastructure.”
The most important aspect of this progress, believes Al Mazroui, has been the establishment of a development of trade. “After I returned to the UAE, I worked in the banking sector where I gained experience in financial matters and at the same time I began my own commercial activities. I had no prior experience or knowledge of trading when I started out so losses were expected. I lost my investment more than once but it didn’t weaken my determination and every time I used to start afresh with more experience. I changed employment and trading activities many times and then my uncle and I established a small company for electronic works and lighting equipment. We chose the electrical trade because I felt that this sector was important to modern life.”
The business evolved for this point and the company is now considered to be the most important in Dubai in the field of lighting equipment and accessories. “I think the turning point came when I sold a quantity of goods at a high price and the profit I made gave me an all important financial reserve. Success multiplied after that and we thank God now for the big company that we have established.”
Although business has been good, Al Mazroui is aware of changing market conditions and is constantly on the look out for new and exciting trading opportunities. “Now that the fundamental infrastructure of the country is almost complete and the demand for lighting equipment has decreased, we have turned to the processing industry because of the needs in local and neighboring markets and because conditions are ideal for this kind of industry. We’ve been importing the equipment rather than attempting to manufacture it because there is no economical need.”
Al Mazroui believes that the UAE economy’s future growth resides in diversity. “The economy is structured to succeed in commerce, tourism and the service industries. There is a lot of experience in the commercial sector and the emirates have developed important seaports, airports, roads, customs facilities and a modern communications network. In the industrial sector, the UAE has cheap labour, plenty of investors and laws that encourage the development of flourishing industries. In tourism, the infrastructure has reached international quality standards, and in addition to the maintenance of important tourism sites and the organisation of sports events such as boat and horse races, it also provides golf courses which attract players from all over the world.”
Despite this success, Al Mazroui feels that there is still and important step to be taken to complete the development of the UAE economy. “The UAE now needs a stock market and the government is aware of the importance of such a step but in order to safeguard economic stability it is naturally studying the issue very carefully.”
The UAE economy has a familial dominance but Al Mazroui explains that sharing influences the economies of countries all around the world and it is a very natural evolution. “The next generation that has established the UAE’s large business groups, and that’s why it’s normal to see this generation is educated but isn’t as wary of failure as its predecessors because when it occurs the older generation is always there to give support. Although I don’t deny the importance of education, I still think that a little more care is needed. Then I’m sure it will be a successful generation.”
As to his own success, Al Mazroui says it lies behind perseverance and good relationships with colleagues mad other businessmen. “This is why private business clubs are important. I have an interest in clubs are important. I have an interest in clubs and sporting activities like shooting, snooker, and golf and water sports. I used to go water skiing and I still have a special interest in golf, which I play regularly. I like it because it’s in the open air rather than enclosed areas and because it teaches patience and precision. Golf is also a game that attracts important personalities so it’s often an occasion to have fun and work at the same time.”