Oman( Middle East )

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The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered on Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, a newly established 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, but it never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al-Said overthrew his father, and he has since ruled as sultan. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with all Middle Eastern countries. Inspired by the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa beginning in January 2011, some Omanis began staging marches, demonstrations, and sit-ins calling mostly 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 introducing 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 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 will have the power to advise the Royal Court on the needs of local districts across Oman's 11 governorates.
Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE
Geographic coordinates:
21 00 N, 57 00 E
total: 309,500 sq km
land: 309,500 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Kansas
Land boundaries:
total: 1,573 km
border countries: Saudi Arabia 676 km, UAE 609 km, Yemen 288 km
2,092 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south
central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal Shams 2,980 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas
Land use:
arable land: 0.1%
permanent crops: 0.12%
other: 99.77% (2011)
Irrigated land:
588.5 sq km (2004)
Total renewable water resources:
1.4 cu km (2011)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic or industrial or agricultural):
total: 1.32 cu km/yr (10%/1%/88%)
per capita: 515.8 cu m/yr (2003)
Natural hazards:
summer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in interior; periodic droughts
Environment current issues:
rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; limited natural freshwater resources
Environment international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography note:
strategic location on Musandam Peninsula adjacent to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
People and Society
noun: Omani(s)
adjective: Omani
Ethnic groups:
Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African
Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
Muslim (official; majority are Ibadhi, lesser numbers of Sunni and Shia)) 85.9%, Christian 6.5%, Hindu 5.5%, Buddhist 0.8%, Jewish <.1, other 1%, unaffiliated 0.2%
note: approximately 75% of Omani citizens, who compose almost 70% of the country's total population, are Ibadhi Muslims; the Omani government does not keep statistics on religious affiliation (2013) (2010 est.)
note: immigrants make up just over 30% of the total population, according to UN data (2013) (July 2014 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 30.4% (male 501,352/female 476,333)
15-24 years: 19.9% (male 335,404/female 304,261)
25-54 years: 42.6% (male 801,539/female 569,187)
55-64 years: 3.9% (male 67,085/female 58,254)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 53,320/female 53,040) (2014 est.)
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 34.4 %
youth dependency ratio: 30.4 %
elderly dependency ratio: 3.9 %
potential support ratio: 25.4 (2014 est.)
Median age:
total: 24.9 years
male: 26.1 years
female: 23.4 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.06% (2014 est.)
Birth rate:
24.47 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate:
3.38 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.45 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
urban population: 73.4% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 2.23% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas population:
MUSCAT (capital) 743,000 (2011)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.41 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.2 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.03 male(s)/female
total population: 1.22 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 14 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 14.29 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
Maternal mortality rate:
32 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.97 years
male: 73.07 years
female: 76.97 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.86 children born/woman (2014 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
31.7% (2000)
Health expenditures:
2.3% of GDP (2011)
Physicians density:
2.05 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density:
1.8 beds/1,000 population (2009)
Drinking water source:
improved: urban: 95.5% of population
rural: 86.1% of population
total: 93% of population
unimproved: urban: 4.5% of population
rural: 13.9% of population
total: 7% of population (2012 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved: urban: 97.3% of population
rural: 94.7% of population
total: 96.6% of population
unimproved: urban: 2.7% of population
rural: 5.3% of population
total: 3.4% of population (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2009 est.)
HIV or AIDS people living with HIV or AIDS:
1,100 (2009 est.)
HIV or AIDS deaths:
fewer than 100 (2009 est.)
Obesity adult prevalence rate:
20.9% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
8.6% (2009)
Education expenditures:
4.3% of GDP (2009)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.9%
male: 90.2%
female: 81.8% (2010 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2011)
Child labor children ages 5-14:
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
Country name:
conventional long form: Sultanate of Oman
conventional short form: Oman
local long form: Saltanat Uman
local short form: Uman
former: Muscat and Oman
Government type:
name: Muscat
geographic coordinates: 23 37 N, 58 35 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
11 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazat); Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Buraymi, Al Wusta, Az Zahirah, Janub al Batinah (Al Batinah South), Janub ash Sharqiyah (Ash Sharqiyah South), Masqat (Muscat), Musandam, Shamal al Batinah (Al Batinah North), Shamal ash Sharqiyah (Ash Sharqiyah North), Zufar (Dhofar)
1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)
National holiday:
Birthday of Sultan QABOOS, 18 November (1940)
previous 1996 (The Basic Law of the Sultanate of Oman serves as the constitution); latest amended by royal decree in 2011 (2011)
Legal system:
mixed legal system of Anglo-Saxon law and Islamic law
International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military and security forces by law cannot vote
Executive branch:
chief of state: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said (sultan since 23 July 1970 and prime minister since 23 July 1972); note - the monarch is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said (sultan since 23 July 1970 and prime minister since 23 July 1972)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
elections: the Ruling Family Council determines a successor from the Sultan's extended family; if the Council cannot form a consensus within three days of the Sultan's death or incapacitation, the Defense Council will relay a predetermined heir as chosen by the Sultan
Legislative branch:
bicameral - consists of Majlis al-Dawla or upper chamber (71 seats; members appointed by the sultan; has only advisory powers) and Majlis al-Shura or lower chamber (84 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms; body has authority to draft legislation but is subordinate to the Sultan)
elections: (Majlis al-Shura) last held on 15 October 2011 (next to be held in October 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; note - three prominent figures from the Arab Spring 2011 protests won seats; one woman also won a seat
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the 9-member Supreme Judicial Council (chaired by the monarch) and appointed by the monarch; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; sharia courts; magistrates' courts
Political parties and leaders:
political parties are illegal
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hunaina bint Sultan bin Ahmad al-MUGHAIRI (since 9 November 2005)
chancery: 2535 Belmont Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-1980
FAX: [1] (202) 745-4933
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Greta C. HOLTZ (since 27 September 2012)
embassy: Jamait Ad Duwal Al Arabiyya Street, Al Khuwair area, Muscat
mailing address: P. O. Box 202, P.C. 115, Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos, Muscat
telephone: [968] 24-643-400
FAX: [968] 24-64-37-40
Flag description:
three horizontal bands of white, red, and green of equal width with a broad, vertical, red band on the hoist side; the national emblem (a khanjar dagger in its sheath superimposed on two crossed swords in scabbards) in white is centered near the top of the vertical band; white represents peace and prosperity, red recalls battles against foreign invaders, and green symbolizes the Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountains) and fertility
National symbol(s):
Khanjar dagger superimposed on two crossed swords
National anthem:
name: "Nashid as-Salaam as-Sultani" (The Sultan's Anthem)
lyrics/music: Rashid bin Uzayyiz al KHUSAIDI/James Frederick MILLS, arranged by Bernard EBBINGHAUS
note: adopted 1932; new words were written after QABOOS bin Said al Said gained power in 1970; the anthem was first performed by the band of a British ship as a salute to the Sultan during a 1932 visit to Muscat; the bandmaster of the HMS Hawkins was asked to write a salutation to the Sultan on the occasion of his visiting the ship
Economy overview:
Oman is a middle-income economy that is heavily dependent on dwindling oil resources. Because of declining reserves and a rapidly growing labor force, Muscat has actively pursued a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialization, and privatization, with the objective of reducing the oil sector's contribution to GDP to 9% by 2020 and creating more jobs to employ the rising numbers of Omanis entering the workforce. Tourism and gas-based industries are key components of the government's diversification strategy. However, increases in social welfare benefits, particularly since the Arab Spring, will challenge the government's ability to effectively balance its budget if oil revenues decline. By using enhanced oil recovery techniques, Oman succeeded in increasing oil production, giving the country more time to diversify, and the increase in global oil prices through 2011 provided the government greater financial resources to invest in non-oil sectors. In 2012, continued surpluses resulting from sustained high oil prices and increased enhanced oil recovery allowed the government to maintain growth in social subsidies and public sector job creation. However, the Sultan made widely reported statements indicating this would not be sustainable, and called for expanded efforts to support SME development and entrepreneurship. Government agencies and large oligarchic group companies heeded his call, announcing new initiatives to spin off non-essential functions to entrepreneurs, incubate new businesses, train and mentor up and coming business people, and provide financing for start-ups. In response to fast growth in household indebtedness, the Central Bank reduced the ceiling on personal interest loans from 8 to 7%, lowered mortgage rates, capped the percentage of consumer loans at 50% of borrower's salaries for personal loans and 60% for housing loans, and limited maximum repayment terms to 10 and 25 years respectively.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$94.86 billion (2013 est.)
$90.28 billion (2012 est.)
$85.99 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$81.95 billion (2013 est.)
GDP real growth rate:
5.1% (2013 est.)
5% (2012 est.)
4.5% (2011 est.)
GDP per capita (PPP):
$29,800 (2013 est.)
$29,200 (2012 est.)
$28,700 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
Gross national saving:
36.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
37.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
41% of GDP (2011 est.)
GDP composition, by end use:
household consumption: 30.5%
government consumption: 17.8%
investment in fixed capital: 27.3%
investment in inventories: -0.5%
exports of goods and services: 63.8%
imports of goods and services: -39.4%
(2013 est.)
GDP composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 64.4%
services: 34.6% (2013 est.)
Agriculture products:
dates, limes, bananas, alfalfa, vegetables; camels, cattle; fish
crude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production; construction, cement, copper, steel, chemicals, optic fiber
Industrial production growth rate:
3.5% (2013 est.)
Labor force:
note: about 60% of the labor force is non-national (2007)
Labor force by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
15% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income Gini index:
revenues: $34.42 billion
expenditures: $35.48 billion (2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
42% of GDP (2013 est.)
Budget surplus or deficit:
Public debt:
4.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
4.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.6% (2013 est.)
2.9% (2012 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
2% (31 December 2010 est.)
0.05% (31 December 2009 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
5.8% (31 December 2013 est.)
5.65% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$9.537 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$9.083 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of broad money:
$71.42 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$63.16 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
$29.97 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$27.62 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$20.11 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$19.72 billion (31 December 2011)
$20.27 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Current account balance:
$7.249 billion (2013 est.)
$8.312 billion (2012 est.)
$56.22 billion (2013 est.)
$52.14 billion (2012 est.)
Exports commodities:
petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles
Exports partners:
China 31.8%, Japan 12.9%, UAE 10.4%, South Korea 10%, Thailand 4.4%, Singapore 4.4% (2012)
$30.75 billion (2013 est.)
$25.63 billion (2012 est.)
Imports commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants
Imports partners:
UAE 24.1%, Japan 12.5%, India 8.5%, China 6.3%, US 6.1% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$17.7 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$14.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Debt external:
$10.84 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$9.99 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment at home:
Stock of direct foreign investment abroad:
Exchange rates:
Omani rials (OMR) per US dollar -
0.3845 (2013 est.)
0.3845 (2012 est.)
0.3845 (2010 est.)
0.3845 (2009)
0.3845 (2008)
Electricity production:
18.63 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity consumption:
15.32 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity exports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity imports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity installed generating capacity:
4.265 million kW (2010 est.)
Electricity from fossil fuels:
100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from hydroelectric plants:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Crude oil production:
923,800 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude oil exports:
705,100 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil imports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil proved reserves:
5.5 billion bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products production:
164,600 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products consumption:
98,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products exports:
47,710 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products imports:
2,390 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Natural gas production:
35.94 billion cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas consumption:
17.53 billion cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas exports:
10.93 billion cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas imports:
1.95 billion cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves:
849.5 billion cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
52.67 million Mt (2011 est.)
Telephones mobile cellular:
5.278 million (2012)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system consisting of open-wire, microwave, and radiotelephone communication stations; limited coaxial cable; domestic satellite system with 8 earth stations
domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership both increasing with fixed-line phone service gradually being introduced to remote villages using wireless local loop systems
international: country code - 968; the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and the SEA-ME-WE-3 submarine cable provide connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat (2008)
Telephones main lines in use:
305,000 (2012)
Broadcast media:
1 state-run TV broadcaster; TV stations transmitting from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen available via satellite TV; state-run radio operates multiple stations; first private radio station began operating in 2007 and 2 additional stations now operating (2007)
Internet country code:
Internet users:
1.465 million (2009)
Internet hosts:
14,531 (2012)
132 (2013)
Airports with paved runways:
total: 13
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
Airports with unpaved runways:
total: 119
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 51
914 to 1,523 m: 33
under 914 m: 26 (2013)
3 (2013)
condensate 106 km; gas 4,224 km; oil 3,558 km; oil/gas/water 33 km; refined products 264 km (2013)
total: 60,240 km
paved: 29,685 km (includes 1,943 km of expressways)
unpaved: 30,545 km (2012)
Merchant marine:
total: 5
by type: chemical tanker 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 3
registered in other countries: 15 (Malta 5, Panama 10) (2010)
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Mina' Qabus, Salalah, Suhar
container port(s) (TEUs): Salalah (3,200,000)
Military branches:
Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF): Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman (al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Sultanat Oman) (2013)
Military service age and obligation:
18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 985,957
females age 16-49: 737,812 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 837,886
females age 16-49: 642,427 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 31,959
female: 30,264 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
8.61% of GDP (2012)
6.13% of GDP (2011)
8.61% of GDP (2010)
Transnational Issues
Disputes international:
boundary agreement reportedly signed and ratified with UAE in 2003 for entire border, including Oman's Musandam Peninsula and Al Madhah exclave, but details of the alignment have not been made public
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Trafficking in persons: