No one denies the benevolent efforts exerted over the past years of the Blessed Renaissance to advance the country to this level of socioeconomic progress among its global peers. Meanwhile, the development march continues, which was initiated in the 1970s when the first Development Council was established in 1975 under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. Since then, the principle of economic diversification has been associated with this process. The objectives of the Council were based on utilising oil wealth to achieve the desired goals in the socioeconomic disciplines, secure the future of next generations, develop national workforce and speed up the process of economic diversification through optimal utilisation of the Sultanate’s economic components, besides oil.
These principles undoubtedly enabled the Sultanate to achieve a number of development goals that have transformed it into a country that enjoys economic, social, cultural and civilisational status. The Omani development experience went through several main phases, notably the first phase, which lasted from 1970 to 1975 and focused on the urgent needs of citizens, such as education, health, water, housing and electricity projects, and construction of modern roads, airports and seaports. This is in addition to establishing the Administrative Apparatus and developing legislations and plans that help in stabilising the economic situation and enhancing the income of Omani citizens.
The first historical speeches of His Majesty and the future vision for the development of the country’s economy together with the achievement of comprehensive development are still engraved in every citizen’s memory when HM stressed in the Royal Speech of the Fourth National Day in 1974: “We are enlisting all potentials for the sake of improving the level of individuals and developing his resources and awareness of the economy with the need to utilise all economic resources in the country which are an important factor in the next phase to improve individual income level and increase his economic status”. This thought of HM is interpreted as the importance of utilising other sources of wealth besides oil, which are all important axes today in the development of the Omani economy.
As we celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Blessed Renaissance, we are certain that the Sultanate has made great strides in its development process in recent years, relying first and foremost on its citizens along with the efforts of Arab and foreign experts who have contributed in enhancing the various aspects of development.
Despite these challenges, the Sultanate is continuing its development plans and programmes, focusing on economic sectors that are important for the success of the economic diversification policy, achieving greater prosperity for the Omani society and sustainable economic growth and providing more job opportunities for Omanis to raise the standard of living in various regions and governorates of Oman. Meanwhile, the Sultanate is also seeking to enhance the proportion of investments directed to income-generating enterprises, and distributing them geographically for the benefit of all regions and governorates of Oman, in addition to finding balance between revenue and usage and creating favourable conditions for the national economy and diversifying its sources.
Next year will mark the end of Oman Economic Vision 2020, which was launched in 1995. Since its inception, the strategy has targeted the basic pillars of the Sultanate’s sustainable socioeconomic development, upgrading human development services and adopting national programmes to promote economic diversification in the country. In December 2013, the main committee for Oman future vision 2040 was formed, aiming at preparing new plans for the next phase, with the participation of all segments of Omani society, focusing on the most important resource: the human element, which is the main resource in the planning of any development project .
Today, the Sultanate is following all the ways and methods for restructuring the economy, enabling the Omani private sector to play a greater role in the development process and allowing civil society organisations to contribute to the welfare of citizens, giving special attention to the restructuring of the educational and health systems and the protection of social foundations, environmental conservation and other issues.