Published on February 15, 2010by David White
Oman is a country in the Middle East bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Its Oman helped the Omani people to prosper from the Indian Ocean trade for decades. Today the country is a vital world transit point for crude oil.
Oman has traditionally been an isolated and conservative nation, but its current Sultan has been making tremendous efforts to make the country more open and modern. The strong Omani heritage, rich tradition and culture attracts an increasing number of visitors and foreign investors wanting to take advantage of its key location and growing economy.
Understanding Oman’s unique culture and traditions is key to doing business effectively there. Attending a Communicaid Doing Business in Oman programme will help individuals and organisations to maximise the benefits of doing business in Oman.
Some of the key benefits of doing business in Oman are highlighted below.
Strategic Geographic Location
Oman has over 1 700 km of coastline which has allowed Oman to enjoy the status of a marine country. Its distinct strategic geographic location controls one of the most important marine trade routes in the world, the route between the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. The Sultanate is considered the gateway to the Arabian Gulf and makes Oman the meeting place of the Asian and African continents, paving the way for a plethora of financial opportunities.
The discovery of oil drastically improved Oman’s economy. Sustained high oil prices in recent years have helped build Oman's budget, trade surpluses and foreign reserves.
However, in the last few years attempts have been made to diversify the economy to reduce Oman’s dependence on the oil industry, and investment in the private sector and foreign business are being encouraged.
Fast Developing Economy
Oman’s economy is future-oriented and continues to grow rapidly. Since the 1970s when a new Sultan came to power, Oman has made massive economic and social improvements. The last few years have brought phenomenal achievements to Oman such as multi-lane highways, modern hospitals, schools and universities. Oman is also shifting its economy towards tourism which will bring tremendous profit due to the attractive location of the country and its rich traditions.
Government Support to Develop New Business
The development of Oman is encouraged by very favourable government policies that attract investors from all over the world. Oman is actively pursuing a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialisation and privatisation. The Omani government offers incentives to encourage local and foreign businesses such as tax exemptions, interest free loans, free trade zones and preference in allocation of government land. The benefits of foreign investments are mutual. Foreign businesses have opportunities to develop and invest in new areas, and Oman profits from economic development.
Long-lasting Relationships with Business Counterparts
Omanis are known for their generosity, friendliness and tolerance. Their hospitality towards foreigners attracts short-term visitors and also encourages businesses to set up in the area with support from local communities. Expats benefit from the open Omani society which includes freedom of worship and modern facilities. Omani culture emphasises the building of strong bonds and relationships in both social and professional contexts. Therefore, foreigners are advised to spend time with their Omani business counterparts and make an effort to establish good rapport with them.
International organisations and investors doing business in Oman or planning to set up or develop business in Oman should consider participating in cross-cultural awareness training programmes that would help them to work successfully in Oman such as Communicaid’s Doing Business in Oman or Working with Omanis.