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The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered from Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, the nascent sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, although the Sultanate never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al-Said overthrew his father, and has since ruled as sultan, but he has not designated a successor. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world, while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK and US. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with its neighbors and to avoid external entanglements. Inspired by the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa beginning in January 2011, some Omanis staged demonstrations, calling for more jobs and economic benefits and an end to corruption. In response to those protester demands, QABOOS in 2011 pledged to implement economic and political reforms, such as granting legislative and regulatory powers to the Majlis al-Shura and increasing unemployment benefits. Additionally, in August 2012, the Sultan announced a royal directive mandating the speedy implementation of a national job creation plan for thousands of public and private sector Omani jobs. As part of the government's efforts to decentralize authority and allow greater citizen participation in local governance, Oman successfully conducted its first municipal council elections in December 2012. Announced by the Sultan in 2011, the municipal councils have the power to advise the Royal Court on the needs of local districts across Oman's 11 governorates. The Sultan returned to Oman in March 2015 after eight months in Germany, where he received medical treatment. He has since appeared publicly on a few occasions.


Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and the UAE

Natural Resources

petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas

Population - distribution

the vast majority of the population is located in and around the Al Hagar Mountains in the north of the country; another smaller cluster is found around the city of Salalah in the far south; most of the country remains sparsely populated

Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
MUSCAT (capital) 838,000 (2015)
Conventional long form
Sultanate of Oman
Conventional short form
Local long form
Saltanat Uman
Local short form
absolute monarchy
Geographic coordinates
23 37 N, 58 35 E
Time difference
UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Oman is heavily dependent on its dwindling oil resources, which generate 84% of government revenue. In 2016, low global oil prices drove Oman’s budget deficit to $11.5 billion, or approximately 19% of GDP. Oman has limited foreign assets and is issuing debt to cover its deficit.
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -10,807,111,387
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 36,666,579,974
Exports of goods and services
US$ 39,166,189,857
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ -2,691,547,464
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 3,483,416,793
dates, limes, bananas, alfalfa, vegetables; camels, cattle; fish
crude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas production; construction, cement, copper, steel, chemicals, optic fiber
petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles
China 42.4%, UAE 12%, South Korea 7.4%, Saudi Arabia 5.2% (2015)
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants
UAE 38.3%, Japan 6%, India 5.6%, China 5.2%, US 5%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
Political and economic uncertainties and an occasionally difficult business environment can affect corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is appreciable.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is acceptable. Corporate financial information is sometimes neither readily available nor sufficiently reliable. Debt collection is not always efficient and the institutional framework has shortcomings. Intercompany transactions may thus run into appreciable difficulties in the acceptable but occasionally unstable environments rated A4.
  • Strategically located on the Straits of Ormuz
  • Economy undergoing diversification (petrochemicals, steel-making, port activity, tourism)
  • Sound banking system and open to foreign investment
  • Diminution of hydrocarbon reserves and increased exposure to their price fluctuations
  • Inadequately qualified local labor force, hence the private sector's dependence on foreign labor
  • Succession of Sultan Qaboos still uncertain

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