Muscat: A new focus report shines a spotlight on investment opportunities opening up in the industry, logistics and energy as efforts to diversify the economy intensify. The report explores the developments taking place in the Sultanate of Oman’s special economic zones and free zones in an easy-to-navigate and accessible format, supported by key data and infographics.
Oxford Business Group (OBG) produced the analysis in partnership with Oman’s Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (Opaz) and Centralised Utilities Company, Marafiq.
It provides detailed coverage of how fiscal incentives, infrastructure projects and robust connectivity to external markets are combined to attract businesses to Opaz-affiliated zones.
The rollout of advanced transport infrastructure is a particular focal point. In this section, the report considers the part that new facilities and services, such as digitalised logistics infrastructure, have played in boosting Oman’s trade capacity and enabling companies to efficiently transport goods, both internally and farther afield.
Oman’s drive to encourage value-added production and downstream processing at Opaz-affiliated zones, while harnessing the country’s abundant hydrocarbon resources to support businesses in these segments, is also mapped out.
In addition, the report highlights the opportunities emerging in renewable energy and green hydrogen, as Oman works towards reaching its target to be a net-zero economy by 2050. It also shines a spotlight on Opaz’s growth story, tracking the milestones reached and their close alignment with the objectives laid out in Oman’s Vision 2040 roadmap for economic diversification and sustainable development.
The report includes a wide-ranging interview with Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Chairman, Opaz, in which he explains how Oman’s strengths, including its geographical position, are supporting efforts to attract foreign direct investment and drive industrial growth.
“As a link between east and west, Oman’s strategic location in the global supply chain is beneficial for investors, thanks in part to its proximity to shipping lanes that are home to the majority of the world’s commercial maritime traffic,” he said. “Opaz aims to eliminate barriers to investment and boost the efficiency of industrial zones.”
Jana Treeck, OBG’s Managing Director for the Middle East, said a combination of rising energy prices, far-reaching structural reforms and higher oil and gas production had put Oman on track for a strong post-pandemic recovery, with the non-oil sector well-placed to increase its contribution to growth.
“Industrial expansion is at the heart of Oman’s efforts to diversify its economy, as is evident from the business-friendly policies being introduced and the many projects underway aimed at expanding industrial capacity,” Treeck said. “Special economic zones and free zones have an important role to play in attracting foreign investment, boosting exports and creating jobs, all of which will produce ripple effects through the economy and help the sultanate to achieve its long-term objectives.”
Dana Carmen Agarbicean, Country Director, Oxford Business Group, said the report also highlighted the many investment opportunities emerging in logistics at Opaz-affiliated zones.
“Disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical disputes have prompted Oman to sharpen its focus on trade regionalisation, with the result that several major collaborative projects are taking shape across the special economic and free zones, including state-of-the-art port and logistics facilities,” she said. “These ventures will pave the way for Oman to position itself as a cargo and transhipment hub while enabling the Sultanate of Oman to further capitalise on its strategic location en route to emerging markets in Africa and Asia.”
Abdullah Mohammed Al-Hashimi, Managing Director, Centralised Utilities Company, Marafiq, said, “Oman is focusing on boosting efficiencies in the use of water and electricity in special economic and free zones. This is creating significant opportunities for investments in technology throughout the entire value chain, as well as projects in renewable energy and hydrogen as Vision 2040 drives change across the economy. Marafiq is well positioned to deliver national strategic objectives.”
The report on Oman’s special economic zones and free zones forms part of a series of tailored studies that OBG is currently producing with its partners, including ESG Intelligence and Future Readiness reports, and other highly relevant, go-to research tools, such as country-specific Growth and Recovery Outlook articles and interviews.
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