Doing Business in Oman?

Nestled amidst the tumult of the African-Asian crossroads, Oman stands as a beacon of tranquility in its region. With a foundation of neutrality, the nation boasts expansive commercial and diplomatic networks. Fueled by abundant oil and gas resources, Oman remains steadfast in its development trajectory. Its ports boast some of the world’s swiftest turnaround times, aspiring to integrate into the emerging Silk Road. What business prospects await in this nation on the cusp of prosperity?

As the third-largest country on the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is renowned for its neutrality and absence of ideological biases, fostering connections within the GCC, Eastern Africa, and Iran. Governed as a hereditary absolute monarchy, Sultan Haitham bin Tarik assumed leadership in January 2020. Key state officials are appointed via royal decrees. Embracing a pragmatic foreign policy, Oman prioritizes conflict de-escalation, peace negotiations, bridge-building, and discreet diplomacy. While maintaining robust relations with the GCC, the USA, and the UK, Oman’s oil exports predominantly cater to China, upon which the Sultanate relies significantly.

Despite its status as an oil and gas exporter, constituting approximately 70% of its economy, Oman is not an OPEC member. Observers suggest that the nation’s oil reserves may sustain for about a decade. Heavy reliance on oil and gas exports, which makes the economy vulnerable to fluctuations in global oil prices, is one of the greatest challenges to business in Oman. Consequently, Oman endeavors to diversify its economy, enticing investors, bolstering food self-sufficiency, focusing on renewable energy sources, and aiming to become a global logistical hub, notably with the development of the Duqm port.

With a population of approximately 5 million, predominantly Ibadi Muslims, Oman’s demographics skew towards a youthful populace, with over half of its population under 25. The country grapples with structural unemployment issues, exacerbated by a sizable foreign workforce, contributing to various sectors of the economy, and the influx of young Omanis into the labor market. This presence of foreign employees reflects Oman’s openness to international collaboration and its commitment to meeting labor demands while fostering cultural exchange, making it a welcoming and respectful environment for businesses and individuals.

Oman’s economy heavily relies on oil revenues, comprising around 70% of the budget and exports. Other significant sectors include agriculture, fisheries, and industry. Recent efforts concentrate on enhancing manufacturing, food processing, fisheries, and logistical capacities, notably at the Duqm port. Major imports encompass electrical and mechanical goods, primary metals, materials, and transportation.

Business etiquette in Oman is imbued with cultural nuances. While embracing modernity and technological advancements, Oman maintains traditional values. Personal rapport remains paramount, with Arabic being the primary language for interpersonal communication and English for business dealings. Although the presence of an interpreter is not usually necessary, it is advisable to consult with a cultural expert. Meetings are often steeped in tradition, featuring coffee ceremonies and shared meals, with adherence to cultural norms, including the consumption of food with the right hand. Gift-giving and respectful attire, particularly for women, underscore the importance of decorum. Oman has a hierarchical society where age, position, and status are respected. In business settings, showing deference to those in higher positions is essential.

Perceived as a safe destination, Oman offers a plethora of quality accommodations. While major trade fairs occur in neighboring Saudi Arabia, Oman hosts localized events, notably at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre in Muscat, offering a platform for networking and business engagements. For further information on upcoming events, please visit their website at