Oman is rapidly establishing itself as one of the most promising and attractive investment destinations in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.
Endowed with a range of natural resources, a pivotal geographic location, a well-entrenched GCC connection and favorable business environment, there is steadily rising investor confidence in the country among local and international players. This is substantiated by the fact that the total volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) reached almost $17 billion in 2012, registering an increase of 10 percent over 2011. Additionally, FDI flows in 2012 surged 41 percent to reach almost $1.5 billion.
Another healthy sign is the split of foreign investment between oil and gas and other sectors. Although oil and gas has remained the largest beneficiary of foreign investment, with half of all investment flowing into that sector, however, non-oil sectors, including manufacturing and financial services, among others, also accounted for the remaining half of foreign investment. This reflects the government’s vision to diversify the economy into non-petrochemical sectors is bearing considerable fruits.
Further, Oman is wisely investing its petrochemical windfalls towards long-term capacity building of the country. This is seen in massive infrastructure development in road networks, airports, free zones, education, healthcare and the services sector. The infrastructure investment is creating a trickle-down effect in the economy and boosting other sectors, such as consumer and retail, travel, food and beverages, hospitality, etc.
Oman is set to invest several billion dollars in the near future to substantially upgrade its physical and services infrastructure.