Knowledge transfer plays a key role in boosting local capabilities, say experts

Muscat: A symposium on “The role of offset programmes in supporting economic development”, organised by the Omani Authority for Partnership for Development (OAPFD), began on Sunday. The first of its kind in Oman, the symposium was inaugurated by Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Chairman of OAPFD. It aims to raise awareness about the importance and the role of Partnership for Development (PFD) programme in supporting the national economy.
In his opening speech, Dr Dhafir bin Awadh al Shanfari, CEO, OAPFD, said: “The knowledge exchange is a main engine and a significant tool for the development and economic development process, and today we are pleased to hold the first specialised PFD/offset symposium in Oman, with the participation of offset experts from around the world, joined by the Omani decision makers, under one roof, to benefit from global experiences and to form and develop PFD/offset programmes that are consistent with Oman’s vision and the development plans.”
“Oman in the past managed to formulate the policies and regulations for the implementation of PFD/offset programmes in an easy format, attractive to foreign investments, and consistent with the national objectives to enhance the five strategic sectors defined by the 9th Five-Year Development Plan (2016–2020), and also consistent with the plan and initiatives of the National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification (Tanfeedh), which we have felt its impact through the seven development projects which are now in operation, and 11 projects in the pre-operation stage.”
The symposium started with presentations by experts in the PFD/offset programmes from the UK, the US, Malaysia and Norway.
In his presentation, Professor Ron Matthews, Chair Defence Economics, Cranfield University at the UK Defence Academy, said: “The purpose of offset is the economic, industrial and technological development of the recipient nation. It is entirely appropriate therefore that the term ‘development’ is embedded in the Omani authority’s title. Partnership is also recognised as central to effective technology transfer through offset. This notion of stakeholder convergence is a critical ingredient of successful offset arrangements leading to the development of local capabilities.”
Professor Matthews praised the role of OAPFD in providing the perfect convergence for the design and implementation of an effective offset policy for development of the Omani economy.
In his presentation, Adrian Dalton, the former head of the UK Government’s offset programme, highlighted the significance of Oman’s PFD/offset programmes and its role in the support and development of the national economy, enhancing the investment opportunities for the local sector and building national capacities.
In his presentation, he discussed the UK offset programme’s contributions towards increasing investment in the UK and stated that he considered that the best use of an offset programme leads to the establishment of effective long-term business relationships which can then be the basis for delivering important economic development, while adding that “I feel Oman is well placed to gain from its Partnership For Development programme and through it to broaden as well as to deepen its industrial base.”
The symposium also presented the success of both the Malaysian and Norwegian governments in implementing successful offset programmes.
The symposium was attended by a number of ministers, under-secretaries and representatives of the government, military and private sector organisations involved with the application of the Partnership for Development (PFD) programme.