Middle East tradition with international
business, boosted by the recent FTA.
For the Sultanate of Oman, success is in the
air. In the 1970s, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said
opened up the country, instigated significant
economic reforms, and boosted spending on health,
education and welfare. His respected 36 years
of reign have been called The Renaissance.
Located at the southeast corner of the Arabian
Peninsula, Oman has a strategically important
position at the mouth of the Gulf. The government
has developed a plan, Vision 2020, to build
on its rich history and create a diversified
national economy with increased Omani employment.
Using its oil revenues, modest by Middle Eastern
standards, to finance its economic transformation
and increase private and international enterprise,
the Sultanates strategy focuses on three
areas: agriculture, industry and tourism. Omans
varied landscape supports a wide array of agricultural
products, and it also gains revenue from its
fishing sector. Industry is mainly centered
on the mineral sector, as Oman has rich deposits
of gold, copper, chromite, asbestos, manganese,
gypsum, limestone, marble, and coal. Increased
manufacturing, which would be export-oriented
due to a small domestic market, would also reduce
Oman's reliance on oil and gas for revenue.
Minister of Commerce and Industry
The tourism sector is booming, with hotels
fully occupied and dedicated efforts to attract
more international interest in developing the
sector. Prices remain high since there is still
more demand than supply, and Oman wants to target
mainly high-class tourism to preserve its culture
and reputation as a quality destination. Likewise,
real estate is on the verge of exploding as
carefully planned new developments make the
Sultanate ever more desirable to foreign visitors
and investors alike.
Sohar Industrial Estate has been named the
fastest growing industrial complex in the world.
With a synergy of industries complementing each
other, supplying raw materials such as oil,
gas, and minerals in a strategic location next
to the Port of Sohar facilitating large-scale
import and export, this dynamic new complex
located halfway between Muscat and Dubai is
seen as the engine of the new Omani economy.
A long-standing U.S. ally, Omans international
relations received a boost this year with the
successful completion of the free trade agreement
(FTA) between the two nations. This makes Oman
the fifth Middle Eastern country to have negotiated
an FTA with the U.S. Political stability free
of upheavals over the past thirty-six years
of steady rule by H.M. Sultan Qaboos bin Said
Al-Said has helped economic stability and progress,
manifested in low interest rates, stable exchange
rates and consistent monetary policy.