Abu Dhabi Crown Prince honours Indian business tycoon Yusuffali with top civilian award

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Dubai, Apr 10 (PTI) Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has honoured Indian-origin businessman Yusuffali MA and 11 other individuals with Abu Dhabi's top civilian award for their noble and charitable contributions to the community.

Yusuffali, 65, the Chairman and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi-based LuLu Group which operates hypermarkets and retail companies in many countries, was honoured on Friday by the Crown Prince.

Sheikh Mohamed said, “The UAE’s values continue to reflect the deeply-held faith of our Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who believed in the kindness, humanity, and generosity of people. And today, we celebrate 12 extraordinary individuals who chose to practice these values every day through their noble and charitable work, making our country and communities stronger.” The individuals were honoured for a wide range of contributions, including efforts in the healthcare field, community service and volunteering, humanitarian work, as well as culture, heritage and environmental preservation, the Khaleej Times reported.

The awards, which were given at the 10th edition of the Abu Dhabi Awards held at Qasr Al Hosn, a historical landmark and the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi, celebrate compassionate individuals who have selflessly devoted their time and effort to spreading goodness and serving the community.

The prestigious award was given to Yusuffali, who was born in Kerala, for his outstanding contribution to Abu Dhabi's business, industry and support to various philanthropic initiatives, the LuLu Group said in a statement.

'A very proud and emotional moment in my life. I am really overwhelmed and humbled to receive such a great honour from Abu Dhabi where I have been living for the past 47 years,' he said after receiving the honour.

'It was on December 31, 1973, I arrived in the UAE with new dreams and hopes. I have reached here after seeing many ups and downs and various challenges, and I take this opportunity to extend my deepest gratitude to the visionary leadership of this great country, especially His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

'Whatever I am today is because of the support and prayers of the rulers of the great country and the expatriate community that includes my fellow Indian brothers and sisters and I dedicate this honour to them,' Yusuffali said.

He is the only Indian among the 12 prominent individuals who received the honour this year.

The Abu Dhabi Awards is a Government of Abu Dhabi initiative that recognises and honours individuals who have selflessly dedicated themselves to support and contribute to the development of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Yusuffali, recently ranked in the Forbes Billionaire list 2021 as the richest Indian in the Middle East, is billed as the most influential Indian in the Middle East due to his close proximity with the Gulf rulers, according to the statement.

During the current COVID-19 period, Yusuffali has contributed over Rs 50 crore, including Rs 25 crore to the PM Cares Fund, Rs 10 crore to the Kerala Chief Minister's relief fund, Rs 5 crore to the UP Chief Minister's relief fund, Rs 1 crore to the Haryana Chief Minister's relief fund and to various social, cultural organisations in the Middle East that provided help and assistance to Indians in distress, it said.

The Lulu Group, one of the top retailers in the Middle East and North African region (MENA), has over 200 hypermarkets and supermarkets in the Gulf countries, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and employs over 58,000 people from various countries and have logistics centres in the US, the UK, Spain, South Africa, the Philippines and Thailand among others. PTI CPS AKJ CPS