Population (2017): 4.6 million
GDP (2017): US$74.3 billion (S$100.3 billion)
World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” Rank (2018): 71
Bilateral Trade with Singapore (2017): S$426.8 million
Oman is strategically located along major shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean and at the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz. The second largest country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) after Saudi Arabia, it enjoys considerable political stability relative to other parts of the Middle East, emerging largely unscathed from the 2008 global financial crisis and the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
To diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on oil and gas, Oman is actively seeking investments in industries such as alternative energy, chemicals, information and communications technology, infrastructure, marine, pharmaceuticals, and tourism. The government is also developing its infrastructure on various fronts, including the building of a pan-GCC railway, extensive upgrading of road, rail, air and seaport facilities, and various water treatment and power generation projects to facilitate industrial development.
Three recently-developed industrial zones and ports provide a wealth of business opportunities. These include the SOHAR Port and Freezone that has attracted US$25 billion in investments, with three main clusters in logistics, metals and petrochemicals. The Special Economic Zone at Duqm is Oman’s current cornerstone development, which aims to transform Duqm into a petrochemical hub. Apart from oil and gas, the zone also plans to attract light manufacturing industries and develop tourism.
Oman’s economy is driven by oil and gas, metals and mining, tourism, transport and logistics industries. Oil revenue accounts for 46% of the country’s GDP, but Oman is aiming to reduce this to 9% by 20201. Mining and metal ore smelting activities are aided by cheap electricity.
In line with its Vision 2020, Oman is keen to reduce its reliance on crude oil exports via investments in other industries and services. Oman has also undertaken several downstream petrochemical projects, so as to lengthen the value chain of its petrochemicals industry.
1: CIA World Factbook, 2017