Vision 2040 is a transformative vision. It encompasses how Oman can move forward to the next developmental stage, capitalizing on its competitive and comparative advantages. It realizes that the world is rapidly changing and that readiness for change is crucial. The Vision 2040 process examines the interdependence of Omani social, economic, financial, and cultural variables together with global drivers of change. It considers the special features of Oman in terms of demographic growth, the availability of the required infrastructure, natural resources, and the aspirations of the Omani people for a better future. Vision 2040 is thoroughly developed and precisely formulated in the light of wide community consensus and the participation of different stockholders.
Vision 2040 will mobilize soft engines of growth. These include: business environment, operational efficiency of institutions, ability to market ideas and opportunities, teamwork spirit and cultures, and the value and skills of the future to set the stage and turn ideas into impact.
Looking at the macro picture, Vision 2040 aims to improve the labour market which is reliant heavily on low-skilled labour. Improvements to target attracting international skills with an incentive to work and stay in Oman are some alternatives proposed.
In the energy sector Vision 2040 aims to ensure the 4As: affordability, availability, adoptability and accessibility of energy to all stockholders include society and business. Also, to include the contribution of the renewable energy resources to total energy consumption (energy mix). The aim is to increase value-added local content in more local industry based on oil and gas to enhance exports and create more jobs opportunities for Oman instead of only exporting the hydrocarbon resources as crude.
In the business sector, the Vision 2040 encourages the development of small and medium enterprises (SME) to enable growth in the private sector. It will open the sector to international banks which will enable diversity to supply consumers with financial services and creativity; attracting foreign investment as a result. The relationship between state, business and society shall be redefined. The state will focus on providing a healthy environment for all stakeholders of the eco-system.
In terms of societal perception and responsibilities, communities and associations are encouraged to develop awareness of challenges and change their mindset to be more productive, work in the private sector, save and invest, limit waste and the use of scarce resources. Vision 2040 is also encouraging a more active role for non-governmental organisations.
Finally, Vision 2040 aims to mobilize and energize Omanis to be inspired and entrepreneurial to unlock their true potential. Vision 2040 encourages all members of the multi-cultural society to see the ocean of opportunities in this country.
Dr Yousuf Hamed al Balushi
Economist at Smart Investment Gateway