By Abdulaziz Al Jahdhami — As the nation moves on to develop infrastructure, improve quality of human capital, optimum utilisation of its work force, everyday new projects and achievements are being witnessed and credited to the Sultanate’s recognition. The development process and all the accomplishments made in all spheres of life since the dawn of the Omani blessed renaissance under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos have outstandingly impressed the whole world. Not only governments and organisations, but individuals of other nations too have commendably acknowledged the remarkable transformation the country has experienced in the past decades.
In just a record time, His Majesty could make Oman a distinguished and peaceful place as it has become today; it’s a land of blessings for people, residents, visitors as well as everyone else who puts his or her footstep on it.
It’s always known as a land of hospitality and warm welcome!
Nevertheless, the Government of Oman is leaving no stone unturned to develop each and every single corner of the country.
What’s happening is in fact touching all walks of life in the country; indeed it’s a reflection of His Majesty’s promise to his fellow citizens as he said: “My people, I will proceed as quickly as possible to transform your life into a prosperous one with a bright future.”
As the path of development march is getting stretched every day and night crossing every corner, it’s now diverting to a new route making a stop at the centre of Oman.
It’s now creating a new beating heart of the country in the Wilayat of Duqm in the Governorate of Al Wusta.
This wilayat is located in the middle of Oman between Muscat and Salalah and is about 550 km from Muscat.
Duqm is currently witnessing one of the most ambitious infrastructure developments to have taken place in the Sultanate. Hence, it will be a new distinguished investment and tourism destination in the country and one-of-its-kind in the region.
In order to translate the government’s vision to develop this part of the country, His Majesty issued Royal Decree No 119/2011 to establish the Special Economic Zone Authority in Duqm (SEZAD). Establishing this government body comes in line with the Sultanate’s strategic vision to diversify the sources of national economy.
For that reason, it has been assigned to oversee the implementation of Duqm development projects and manage, develop as well as improve SEZAD to be a tributary for comprehensive economic and social development in Oman.
In other words, the SEZAD is the government body for implementing the government’s vision to make Duqm the new beating heart of Oman by bringing a thriving community and a promising future. With the land area of 2,000 square kilometres, Duqm free zone is the largest in the Middle East, Africa and Asia as well as the largest in the world.
It is an integrated development comprising of about 8 zones including industrial zone, fisheries zone, sea port and drydock, residential zone, central business district, tourism and recreational zone, logistic hub and educational and training zone.
Out of all these zones, lot of outstanding development projects are under construction while some are already operational and more are in the pipeline.
Likewise, business and investment opportunities are offered for local and foreign investors as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who are interested to take part in the development process at Duqm zone.
The prominent location of Duqm overlooking the Arabian Sea offers investors access to high density population markets in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as other parts of the world.
Most of the international trade routes pass through or close to the Port of Duqm making it a key gateway to the Middle East, North and East Africa and South Asia too.
Additionally, SEZAD’s location makes it a logistically supply gateway for GCC and an important breakthrough in achieving the regions ‘economic integration.’
Today, Duqm is being seen as one of the most attractive international world-class destinations for investments in tourism and economy due to its unique characteristics and advantages.