The Oman Vision 2040 envisioned under his Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said is designed to prepare the gulf country for the future. Before his demise, the Sultan of Oman described the plan as a “broad societal consensus and with the participation of all segments of society”. This involves reducing the reliance on petroleum and diversifying the economy with modern elements of the economy such as the service sector including tourism, infrastructure development, environment and mining.
Highlighting support for the plan, the current Sultan of Oman Sultan Haitham bin Tarik underlined the importance of the plan in the vision document. “Oman Vision 2040 is the Sultanate’s gateway to overcome challenges, keep pace with regional and global changes, generate and seize opportunities to foster economic competitiveness and social well-being, stimulate growth, and build confidence in all economic, social and developmental relations nationwide.”
Some of the major targets of Oman Vision 2040 include raising foreign direct investment to 10 percent of GDP, decreasing the share of oil to less than 10 per cent of GDP, more than 40 per cent share of Omanis in private jobs in the country, getting into top 20 countries in the global competitiveness index and innovation index, et cetera.
The plan gives a special thrust to people and governance with inclusivity highlighted as the major achievement in design phase. The plan was created with a broad consensus of the government, the Council of Oman, citizens including organizations of civil society and other representatives.
The 3 main pillars of Oman Vision2040 involve society and people, economic development and governance of the institutions. Developing a globally competitive non-oil industry is the topmost priority in the plan. This is accompanied by facilitating a private sector-led development based on innovation and entrepreneurship. Sustainability is the best part of the plan that envisages a switch to renewable energy aided by the development of citizen-friendly state agencies.
Oman Vision 2040 prioritizes a future with a knowledge-based society where education and research play a vital role for the citizens. The priority itself is quantified by aiming to get into the top 10 or top 20 countries in various global indexes. Just like this, Oman Vision 2040 addresses comprehensive goals for many other segments such as healthcare, economic goals, judiciary, legislative system, educational institutions, decentralization, futuristic urban development, demographically diverse labour market, ecosystem management with sustainability, etc. For each of these priorities, the vision document makes objectives and targets in a step-wise manner. The 5-year government plans are designed to sequentially execute the targets. In addition, the document mentions the targets of United Nations Sustainable development goals too and maps the progress.
Oman is en-route to a future where oil will not only be scarce; it will be replaced by clean technologies. The previous economic model relied heavily on oil exports as a source of economic growth. But Oil price collapses following the pandemic has alerted the oil-producing countries about the need to make a switch to alternate revenue sources quickly. The Oman 2040 plan is significant in many aspects. It is not only an economic plan that only mitigates the question posed by clean energy sources. It adopts clean energy, sustainability and most importantly places high importance on human resources. Human development in terms of adaptation of technology, shift to research and innovation and wellbeing of Omanis will be crucial in meeting the challenges of the future.
Aiming for the future comes with opportunities that are not any lesser than the fortunes that oil proved to be for the gulf countries. In recent news, Oman sighted its ambition to become a hydrogen-based economy by 2040. Innovative ambitions such as these pave the way for building future partnerships with many developing countries that are also rapidly looking for partners to collaborate. Recently, Oman expressed the desire to partner with its longtime strategic partner India to help achieve the targets of Oman Vision 2040. Both countries share a valuable relationship of mutual respect and security collaborations too. In addition to being a huge market, India is a valuable trade partner with a sound knowledge base and investment opportunities. Such partnerships only open up by aiming for the future.
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