LONDON: Oman and the UK held talks on Tuesday to discuss opportunities for trade and investment cooperation in clean energy and mining in the sultanate and prospects for sustainable, long-term expansion and growth.
The discussion, which attracted around 100 delegates and allowed Omani officials to enter into dialogue with potential British investors, sought to develop Omani-UK relations while promoting investment between the two countries, in line with the goals of the sultanate’s Vision 2040.
It also sought to identify steps UK companies needed to take to invest in Oman and develop the country as a regional hub for clean energy.
Omani Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion Qais Al-Yousef said his country had become more focused on promoting investment opportunities in recent years and regarded Britain as a key partner in its efforts to develop a stronger and more diverse economy.
Oman's Vision 2040 highlights the need for sustainable development and economic diversification.
— UK in Oman (@UKinOman) January 11, 2022
He also said Oman offered great opportunities in a range of key sectors and was keen to further develop the historic relations it has with the UK.
Al-Yousef was part of a ministerial delegation visiting the UK to follow up on Sultah Haitham bin Tariq’s visit last month, and included officials from the ministry of finance and labor and the Oman Investment Authority.
The speakers at the event, organized by the Arab British Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Oman Embassy in London and the British Embassy in Muscat, highlighted investment opportunities in solar energy, renewable technology, wind power and hydrogen, as well as tourism, fisheries and information and communications technology.
The sultanate has implemented investment incentives and a raft of measures to attract foreign companies and to increase revenue to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
— وزارة التجارة والصناعة وترويج الاستثمار - عُمان (@Tejarah_om) January 11, 2022
The International Monetary Fund said in September that Oman is expected to switch to a surplus this year, after a spike in fiscal deficit and debt last year due to the pandemic and low oil prices.
Bill Murray, the UK ambassador to Oman, who chaired the discussion said that the meeting was being held within the framework of the UK-Oman joint action program to promote bilateral investment.
He said Sultan Haitham’s visit to the UK in December was a milestone in UK-Omani relations, adding that the roundtable was held on the day Oman marked the second anniversary of the sultan’s rule.
“Several leading UK firms active in Oman in the clean energy and mining sectors delivered positive accounts of their experiences of the Oman business environment,” ABCC said.
Delighted to host a group of Omani Ministers this morning as part of their official visit to the UK. Great to have the chance to discuss mutual opportunities for investment, training and skills, and job creation. @GerryGrimstone @tradegovuk @UKinOman #Oman pic.twitter.com/dbCuFW9f49
— Lord Mayor, City of London (@citylordmayor) January 10, 2022
The companies, which were supported by the UK Department for International Trade and Export Finance — the kingdom’s export credit agency, also commended the support available to foreign investors and said authorities in the sultanate were keen to help businesses succeed in the market.
Bandar Reda, ABCC secretary-general and CEO, pledged to support private sector engagement and said prospects for closer business ties between the UK and Oman were growing across all sectors.
“Driven by the ambitions set out in its Vision 2040, Oman is moving ahead to diversify its economy, opening up new income streams and developing the skills of its citizens to contribute to greater prosperity and economic sustainability,” he said.
“At a time of global uncertainties, as we together face the combined challenges of COVID, Brexit and the energy transition, one of the enduring certainties is the increasing strength of Arab-British cooperation which is founded on the friendship of our peoples,” Reda added.