According to the most recent data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), Oman witnessed an impressive surge in foreign direct investment (FDI) during the fourth quarter of 2022, reaching GBP 40 billion. This represents a substantial increase compared to the total investment value of GBP 35.5 billion recorded in the same period of the previous year.
To foster a favourable business environment and entice more UK and international companies to establish presence in the country, Oman has actively promoted foreign investments through various initiatives and reforms. The United Kingdom and the United States have emerged as leading contributors to the country’s investment influx.
For instance, the UK is one of Oman’s biggest foreign investors. Hundreds of UK companies operate in the Sultanate include Carillion, Interserve, Taylor Woodrow, Atkins, Mott McDonald, Petrofac, Jacobs, Turner & Townsend, Shell, BP, Ultra Electronics, Babcock, CfBT, BAE, Rolls Royce and many more. Furthermore, significant investments were also made by countries including China, India, Bahrain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Kuwait, Qatar and other nations, with investment values ranging from GBP 350.8 million to GBP 5.1 billion.
Oman’s energy sector makes up over 50% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 75% of its export earnings. With sectors including oil & gas and real estate experiencing the highest inflow of foreign investments into the Sultanate (which witnessed a notable increase of 10.5 percent); begs the question and makes one wonder of the other emerging developments & opportunities on offer across other sectors.
Here are some sectors that are also experiencing growth and provide considerable number of opportunities for UK SMEs & exporters in the Sultanate:
- Tourism and Hospitality
Oman has thus far invested more than GBP 4.3 billion in tourism projects. Like its neighbours in the region, Oman has been investing in tourism infrastructure (developing luxury resorts) and promoting its natural beauty & cultural heritage (eco-tourism projects); with the government focusing on attracting more international visitors. This sector offers opportunities for UK business in specialising in areas of hotel management, tour operations, event planning, and related services.
- Logistics and Transportation
Oman’s strategic location near major shipping routes has positioned it as a logistics hub. The government has been investing in port infrastructure, air cargo facilities, and road networks. Opportunities exist for UK companies offering solutions & related services in logistics management, supply chain operations and freight forwarding.
- Manufacturing and Industrialization
Oman is focusing on developing its manufacturing sector to meet local demand and export products to neighbouring countries. The Sultanate has been promoting industrial diversification and developing special economic zones (Duqm Special Economic Zone and Knowledge Oasis Muscat). Industries such as petrochemicals, metals and minerals, food processing, and textiles have been growing, with opportunities available for UK SMEs & exporters in manufacturing, engineering, project management, and research and development.
- Renewable Energy
The Sultanate aims to diversify its energy mix and reduce dependence on hydrocarbons. The country has been investing in renewable energy projects, particularly solar (two IPPs in Manah) and wind (farm in Dhofar). Opportunities exist in renewable energy development, project management, engineering, and consultancy.
- Information Technology and Digital Services
The Omani government has been focusing on digital transformation and encouraging innovation in the IT sector. UK companies looking to expand and offer their expertise in new territories can tap into the growing demand for software development, cybersecurity, data analytics, e-commerce, and digital marketing services in the Sultanate.
- Education and Training
With a focus on human capital development, Oman has also been investing in education and vocational training. There is an increasing demand for high-quality education and training services, with opportunities existing in teaching, curriculum development, vocational training, and e-learning platforms.
- Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals
Oman has been expanding its healthcare infrastructure and improving healthcare services. Opportunities exist in healthcare management, medical tourism, pharmaceuticals, and telemedicine.
There are several compelling reasons to consider doing business with or in Oman. The Sultanate’s business landscape is evolving, presenting a range of favourable trends and opportunities for UK businesses & exporters across multiple sectors. The success of UK trade and investment in Oman serves as a testament to the potential that this dynamic nation holds. These factors (sector opportunities) combined with Oman’s commitment to economic diversification and its pro-business policies, have led to an increasing number of companies recognizing the potential for growth and investment in the country. As Oman continues to embrace progress and innovation, it will undoubtedly unlock even more hidden gems for British SMEs and exporters to explore, fuelling both economic growth and international partnerships.
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