The Sultanate of Oman and the UK have signed a Sovereign Investment Partnership (SIP), agreeing to work closer together on increasing high value investment into both countries.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the UK’s Office for Investment (OFI) and the Oman Investment Authority (OIA) was signed in London by the UK’s Minister for Investment, Lord Gerry Grimstone, and President of the Oman Investment Authority, Abdulsalam al Murshidi.
The new partnership will strengthen the economic ties between the UK and the Sultanate of Oman and identify and support commercial investments in areas such as clean energy and technology, which are already an important part of our £1 billion-a year trading relationship.
Tuesday’s signing follows UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s meeting with the Sultan of Oman, His Majesty Haitham bin Tarik, at Downing Street in December, where they discussed enhancing the bilateral relationship between the UK and the Sultanate of Oman.
Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al Busaidy, Foreign Minister, said: “The signing of the MoU is in line with the aspirations of both the Sultanate of Oman and the UK as set in the Comprehensive Agreement on Enduring Friendship and Bilateral Cooperation.
“We truly believe that by focusing our efforts on strategic joint investments, we will be able to reach further fruitful and tangible outcomes, in support of our mutual desire to continue developing a dynamic and stronger partnership.”
UK Minister for Investment Lord Gerry Grimstone said: “The Sultanate of Oman is a long-standing and strategic partner in the Middle East and I am pleased that the UK is further deepening our investment relationship. Our two countries share a vision for a sustainable and prosperous future.
“This Sovereign Investment Partnership ensures our respective private sectors and international investors are part of that journey.”
Abdulsalam al Murshidi, President of Oman Investment Authority, added: “This partnership is a perfect embodiment of OIA’s mandate under Oman Vision 2040, especially for financial sustainability and attracting foreign investors who consider OIA their partner in potential investment.”
UK companies have a long history of investment in the Sultanate of Oman, with Foreign Direct Investments from the UK accounting for nearly 50 per cent of the foreign investment into the country in recent years.
As a sign of this growing partnership, UK waste-to-energy pioneer Greenfuels has partnered with 44:01 and other local stakeholders to form Wakud International, a joint venture which has invested around $2 million into its Omani-based operations since breaking ground last year.
Wakud’s biorefinery at Khazaen Economic City is the first solar-powered biodiesel plant in the world.
It will eventually process 20 tonnes per day of used cooking oil collected from restaurants and food processing establishments into European-standard biodiesel, for local consumption as road fuel and for export to the UK and EU.
Expansion out of the Sultanate of Oman into the wider GCC will begin this year, and the partnership has already created new jobs in the region.
It comes as the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council, of which the Sultanate of Oman is a member, prepare to formally launch talks over a new Free Trade Agreement.
Negotiations are expected to commence this year, with a future deal set to boost links in areas like investment and services.
The signing of the MoU coincided with a meeting of the UK-Oman Strategic Advisory Group, chaired by Minister for Investment Lord Gerry Grimstone.