UK companies looking at the Middle East are typically first drawn to the UAE (business hub), Saudi Arabia (biggest market) or perhaps Qatar (2022 world cup), but there are a host of smaller markets in the region that offer quality opportunities, which are often much less crowded with competitors.
Last week I was in Oman and was really enthused with what I learned from the local entities I spoke to and from discussions with the excellent DIT team there.
Oman has identified a number of strategic industries around which its economic development strategy is based. Like much of the rest of the Middle East it is looking to move away from dependency on oil & gas, so is now proactively developing other sectors where the country has inherent advantages and demand, as part of the Oman Vision 2040 national plan.
Mining, Fisheries, Tourism, Logistics & Manufacturing are all areas where British investment, expertise, products & services are sought. Opportunities in other sectors do of course exist but many of these might still be best supplied through the UAE where, taking the example of food & drink, the main buyers are based who can then route on into the Omani market as part of larger volume regional buys.
The recent establishment of the Oman Business Council in the UAE to spur trade & business growth into Oman amongst the international business community in Dubai & Abu Dhabi shows that the UAE is an waypoint point to access the country.
We’d encourage all British companies to have Oman on their Middle East map and whether that’s accessing it through the UAE or direct from the UK, the BCB can help with the journey.