Oman E-Commerce Conference kicks off

Muscat: Oman E-Commerce Conference, organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in cooperation with Inovexic Company, was launched on Monday under the auspices of Ahmed bin Nasser al Mehrezi, Minister of Tourism.

Dynamically pursuing strategic growth and development in the Sultanate, Oman International Development and Investment Company (OMINVEST) served as co-host for the Oman E-Commerce Conference (OEC) 2019.

The opening symposium, held under the auspices of Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Deputy  Chairman of the Supreme Council for Planning (SCP), is the most innovative E-Commerce and Digital transformation conference in the Middle East with the focus of ‘Everything Online’.

Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, said that organizing this conference coincides with the Sultanate’s approval of a package of laws and legislations that aim at introducing facilities on business environment and opening broader fields for local and foreign investment through the Companies Law and the Foreign Investment Law.

He added that work is going on to develop the second version of Invest Easy Portal under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, so as to work alongside the Visitor System (E-Visa) and Bayan Customs System that are managed by the Royal Oman Police (ROP).

Dr Al Sunaidy further said that the report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for 2019, pointed out that the volume of e-commerce surpassed USD 29 trillion by the end of 2019 in 2017, more than USD 25 trillion in inter-institutional expenditures; comprising an estimated increase by more than 12 per cent from the previous year.

Nearly USD 4 trillion were among institutions and individuals, constituting about 22 per cent from the previous year. On this occasion, Mohsen bin Khamis al Balushi, Advisor of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said Oman E-Commerce Conference will review the most important growth data that have contributed to the development of e-commerce and digital transformation in the world.

Through the conference sessions, the attendees will be able to identify the most important benefits and steps that institutions and companies working in this field should take in order to achieve sustainable economic growth to maximize profitability by highly cost-effective means and reach the target consumer via electronic platforms.

 

The conference will also discuss how to harness and realize the untapped potential of digital commerce as a key pillar of the strategy to manage the interests of their businesses and achieve their objectives.

It works through bilateral sessions and meetings that include a number of intellectuals working in this sector locally and internationally. They will discuss the most effective options for the ease of online business, attracting investment to the region and presenting Oman as a large and promising e-commerce business destination in the field of e-commerce.

Speakers from inside and outside Oman has attended, as well as, prominent and well-known figures in the field of e-commerce in particular and in the field of technology and technological applications in general.

For the importance of the conference theme (e-commerce), the Ministry of Commerce and Industry aims to coordinate and cooperate with all relevant agencies in the private and government sectors by maximizing its benefits and expanding the understanding and consolidation of the culture of e-commerce in the community in terms of its laws and legislation, the rights and duties of its customers, work fields and opportunities available for beneficiary parties, especially young entrepreneurs and owners of SMEs.

Mohsen bin Khamis al Balushi, Advisor of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry added e-commerce a platform allows SMEs and entrepreneurs to market their production at the local and global levels.

Therefore, these institutions must be supported and enabled to employ and use information technology effectively because some of them are not allowed to enter this field. In addition to the need to support activities related to the development of SMEs in the field of e-commerce, especially the protective aspects of maintaining the privacy of the data and personal information of customers and the use of advanced technology to address privacy problems, as this era is characterized by the speed and abundance of information produced by electronic development, which exceeded physical and geographical boundaries and removed all restrictions.

He also pointed out that the advantages and technology provided by e-commerce makes us think about what you can add to the economy by shortening a long time. E-commerce has become an effective engine to activate the business between various involved parties including individuals, institutions and administrations.

It provides the openness to find large markets where the products can be presented, which is an opportunity for those who want to find more successful methods to achieve the largest profits through promotion channels and the search for new customers and markets, through electronic means based on modern payment systems.

With OMINVEST at the conference helm as co-host, Khalid bin Muhammad al Zubair delivered a keynote speech on opportunities and challenges brought on by the digital transformation of the worldwide economy.

His discourse highlighted global technological advancement; its impact on human life; and its emphasis on creating value for
consumers. With the emergent digital era, public and private institutions across all industries are increasingly turning technologically driven, which has boosted growth in revenues.

He described the global retail market to be at an estimated USD 25 trillion by the end of 2019, with an upsurge of 4.5c per cent from 2018.
In comparison, global E-Commerce is expected to see staggering growth in 2019 to reach USD 3.5 trillion and by 2023 is expected to reach heights of about 22 per cent of the global retail market compared to the 14 per cent stake it holds.

With this astounding digital transformation in mind, al Zubair drew on industry giants as robust illustrations of growing their empires with a plethora of digital technology to boost productivity and enhance consumer experiences.

Describing the rapid growth of one of the strongest players in the market – China; al Zubair presented statistics that catapult the Far-Eastern country as a 55 per cent global E-Commerce stakeholder in 2019.

This monumental growth from less than 1 per cent a decade ago puts the current value of China’s E-Commerce market at USD 1.9 trillion. Furthermore, he discussed the strategy driving the technological surge, pointing out the Chinese government as a major catalyst as an investor and consumer of digital technology along with a rich digital ecosystem and a tech-focused entrepreneurial culture.

Speaking of digital milestones within the Sultanate, al Zubair underlined several vital endeavours that enhance effectiveness and
productivity in the commercial and industrial sectors. His models included two Solar Projects with a combined capacity of 1.1GW that will meet almost 30 per cent of Oman’s electricity demand with renewable energy by 2030.

Government forays in the form of Cybersecurity and e-Government initiatives in line with best international practices to enhance quality and delivery of public services. Another digital venture is the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) issued Fintech regulation that provides an excellent framework for electronic money, automation and electronic cheque clearing.

Al Zubair also deliberated on undertakings for future digital growth in Oman with the affiliation between Oman Technology Fund (OTF) and the Capital Market Authority (CMA) that has been illustriously investing in tech ventures and attracting tech start-ups to Oman.

This funding is expected to augment areas, such as Capital Markets, Insurance and Financial Services that will supplement efficiency with state-of-art financial transactions and service delivery.

Additionally, the Innovation Development Oman Holding (IDO) is another project with vast capital concentrated on fostering start-ups that will broadly benefit the economy of Oman through numerous industries.

The IDO is underwritten and supported through the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), Oman Oil Company, the Research Council and Omantel.

Providing shape to its infrastructure, the Sultanate continues to embrace innovation by clinching acceleration with its investments in new tech ventures that multiply and progress the commercial and industrial sectors, he added.

Addressing the adverse effects of digitisation; he emphasised on maximising the benefits of digitisation while curtailing risks by establishment of policies and procedures to further add value to global economy.

These guidelines include education; social safety; data privacy and consumer protection and labour law amongst others. The two-day conference is attended by a number of executives and decision makers in the field of e-commerce, more than fifty speakers in this field from across the Middle East, Europe and Asia, fifty exhibitors and 10 workshops. –ONA

Oman Observer

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