Embassies play important role to attract investments

BADER AL KIYUMI – baderalkiyumi@hotmail.com – The Sultanate’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva is truly a trendsetter. Permanent missions of the member states that comprise the United Nations are established mainly to organise and coordinate their participation in the work of the organisation.
Its Chief, Abdulla Nasser al Rahbi, is the Ambassador and Permanent Representative and the man in command who has put the Sultanate on the right track after taking charge at the Consulate General of Oman in Geneva, Switzerland.
I have been closely following the role of the UN Office and other international organisations in Geneva. The mission primarily promotes Oman as a prime destination for investment. This is because the Sultanate is a haven for peace and security and also respects the law for human rights.
In this regard a recent event organised by the Mission of Algeria to the UN Geneva and the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue is noteworthy. The statement by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative truly reflects the goals of the Sultanate.
To quote Al Rahbi, “Muslims living in Europe, have a responsibility to represent the peaceful essence of Islam, as well as, integrating ourselves in our societies. However, integration does not mean assimilation into the culture of the other. Each keeps its own culture, but we have to understand and to respect the culture of the host country.”
The statement was made on the sidelines of the UN event about ‘Muslims in Europe: Road to social harmony.’
This is what we need to primarily focus on. On the other hand, we also need to have more efforts from our embassies specially to attract investors to come in the Sultanate.
Moreover, the Sultanate has a large number of beautiful tourist attractions which we need to promote through our embassies abroad. There are many embassies doing appreciable jobs and they work hard to attract investments. More awareness has to be created in this regard.
Ambassadors based abroad have also a unique role to perform. The embassies need to think out-of-the-box on how to work out of its traditional role. They have also to focus more on businesses. They can benefit from the Sultanate’s peace, stability and security, investments and tourism potential.
In my point of view, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with different authorities has to mull on how they can benefit from these embassies. More embassies in many countries need to open commercial missions or economic offices to activate tourism, infrastructure and investment fields.
In some countries, the commercial missions are well-known among business people and are invariably more popular than the ambassador.
I also appreciate the efforts undertaken by the permanent representative who always highlight the country’s role at different meetings and occasions. These offices strive to promote roles through organising many exhibitions. These exhibitions convey the people about the country’s civilization through different activities like arts, culture, fashion or even poetry events.
A case in point is the recently organised Arabic Language Forum and the National Crafts Exhibition.
The office of the permanent representative is also working hard to organise a conference on investment in October this year. The proposed conference plans to attract more investors to the Sultanate. I wholly appreciate the efforts taken by the permanent representative in Geneva.
During my visit abroad, I happened to visit an embassy and briefly conversed with the ambassador about the roles of embassies. He admitted that with the use of electronic transactions, the role of embassies has completely transformed. To put it plainly he says, “I used to receive calls and mails from government, private firms and people to finalise or provide them with contact information about different business and cultural establishments. But now, they are able to access the required info online and fill in the necessary forms without even visiting the embassy.”
We also need to have cultural missions to promote the country’s heritage and history.
To recap, embassies need to work hard to promote the country and this is cannot be achieved without support and aid from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which renders support financially, either with manpower or through more co-operation from different related authorities.
The embassies must truly reflect the nation’s ideals and sincerely project the programmes of the Sultanate and lead from the front.