Saudi Arabia, Oman: Two countries, one vision for success
The official visit by Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tarik to Saudi Arabia this week is an important one in terms of the timely geopolitical and economic developments in the region. The visit is a qualitative leap for the two countries and their people.
According to the Omani Ministry of Economy, Saudi investments in the sultanate are divided into several sectors, including trade, construction, transportation, health, oil and gas. At the end of last year, about 1,079 Saudi companies had invested in the sultanate, with the total investment amounting to over OMR188 million ($488 million). The value of Oman’s exports to Saudi Arabia last year amounted to about OMR493 million, or 4.9 percent of Oman’s total global exports.
Both countries have their national visions — Oman Vision 2040 and Saudi Vision 2030. During this visit, both countries will work on formulating economic goals that will lead to achieving transformation, enhancing economic diversification and increasing trade with other countries through executive plans resulting from the two countries’ visions.
It is worth noting that this historic visit is taking place after the latest comments by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Saudi Arabia’s economic performance. According to the IMF, Saudi Arabia’s economy is recovering well from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, and the non-oil economy is expected to grow by 4.3 percent this year, with overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth expected to be 2.4 percent.
It is anticipated that this timely and historic visit will accelerate the economic growth of the two neighbors by aligning their respective master plans.
Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini
As for the real oil GDP, it is expected to shrink by 0.4 percent, according to the IMF statement, as production is assumed to stay in line with an agreement between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia, and nine allies, known as OPEC+.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, was impacted by the double blow of last year’s historic oil price crash and the COVID-19 pandemic, though the economy has shown signs of improvement.
In my opinion, the visit of the Omani sultan is a profound reflection of the relationship between the two countries. It is anticipated that this timely and historic visit will accelerate the economic growth of the two neighbors by aligning their respective master plans.
• Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.