Population (2017): 4.6 million
GDP (2017): US$72.6 billion (S$98 billion)
World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” Rank (2018): 78
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, with direct trade routes to the growing Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Indian market and North Eastern African markets. As the oldest independent state in the Arab world, and the second largest country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) after Saudi Arabia, the country enjoys considerable political stability relative to other parts of the Middle East. Oman has emerged largely unscathed from the 2008 global financial crisis and the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Since 2011, Oman has enjoyed an average GDP of US$73.2 billion (S$99.6 billion) annually1.
Oman’s economy is primarily 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 20202.
In line with its Vision 2020, Oman is keen to reduce its reliance on crude oil exports via investments in other industries and services. For example, it is actively seeking investments in industries such as alternative energy, chemicals, information and communications technology, infrastructure, marine, pharmaceuticals, and tourism. Oman has also undertaken several downstream petrochemical projects, so as to lengthen the value chain of its petrochemicals industry.
Three recently-developed industrial zones and ports provide a wealth of business opportunities for Singapore companies. These include the SOHAR Port and Freezone that has over US$26 billion (S$35.4 billion) in investments, with four main clusters: logistics, metals, petrochemicals, and most recently, Food Zone. The Food Zone boasts an agro bulk terminal with integrated facilities for manufacturing, packaging and food logistics – the first of its kind in the region2. With options for leasing pre-built warehouses and commercial offices, and benefits such as 100% foreign ownership, low import duties and personal income tax, SOHAR proves to be an attractive location and provides many opportunities for companies.
The Special Economic Zone in Duqm (SEZAD) 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. Duqm is well known for its abundant fish resources, qualifying SEZAD to become a hub for fish processing industries and agricultural projects.