Perhaps one of the most important tasks facing Oman in the coming years is building a more diverse economy.
Oman is part of the GCC club of wealthy oil producing states, but known oil resources and the GDP alike are relatively low compared to other GCC states. Oman’s population is young, with a median age of 25.4, and the country’s unemployment rate clocked in at 17.5 in 2016. While this is lower than in earlier years, it is still considerably higher than in any other GCC state.
The path towards a more diverse economy has been thoroughly addressed in the government’s National Program for Enhancing Economic Diversification, “an action-oriented program derived from the 9th Five-Year Development Plan (2016 – 2020).”
Three main sectors of focus – tourism/hospitality, manufacturing and logistics – are identified in the program, and especially the growth of the tourism industry in Oman has received good media cover of late. However, the program also identifies so-called ‘economic, social and enabling sectors’ to diversification, such as Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
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