Oman

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The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered on Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, a newly established sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, but it never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al-Said overthrew his father, and has since ruled as sultan, but he has never designated a successor. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with all Middle Eastern countries. Inspired by the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa beginning in January 2011, some Omanis began staging marches, demonstrations, and sit-ins calling mostly for more jobs and economic benefits and an end to corruption. In response to those protester demands, QABOOS in 2011 pledged to implement economic and political reforms, such as granting legislative and regulatory powers to the Majlis al-Shura and introducing unemployment benefits. Additionally, in August 2012, the Sultan announced a royal directive mandating the speedy implementation of a national job creation plan for thousands of public and private sector jobs. As part of the government's efforts to decentralize authority and allow greater citizen participation in local governance, Oman successfully conducted its first municipal council elections in December 2012. Announced by the Sultan in 2011, the municipal councils will have the power to advise the Royal Court on the needs of local districts across Oman's 11 governorates. The Sultan returned to Oman in March 2015 after eight months in Germany, where he received medical treatment. He has since appeared publicly on several occasions.

Geography

Location

Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE

Geographic coordinates

21.00° N, 57.00° E

Area 71/257

total: 309,500 sq km

land: 309,500 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

twice the size of Georgia; slightly smaller than Kansas

Land boundaries

total: 1,561 km

border countries (3): Saudi Arabia 658 km, UAE 609 km, Yemen 294 km

Coastline

2,092 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south

Terrain

central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m

highest point: Jabal Shams 2,980 m

Natural resources

petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas

Land use

agricultural land: 4.7%

arable land 0.1%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 4.5%

forest: 0%

other: 95.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

590 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

1.4 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 1.32 cu km/yr (10%/1%/88%)

per capita: 515.8 cu m/yr (2003)

Natural hazards

summer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in interior; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues

rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; limited natural freshwater resources

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

strategic location on Musandam Peninsula adjacent to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Omani(s)

adjective: Omani

Ethnic groups

Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African

Languages

Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects

Religions

Muslim (official; majority are Ibadhi, lesser numbers of Sunni and Shia)) 85.9%, Christian 6.5%, Hindu 5.5%, Buddhist 0.8%, Jewish <.1 other unaffiliated>note: approximately 75% of Omani citizens, who compose almost 70% of the country's total population, are Ibadhi Muslims; the Omani government does not keep statistics on religious affiliation (2013) (2010 est.)

Population 135/238

3,286,936

note: immigrants make up just over 30% of the total population, according to UN data (2013) (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 30.23% (male 509,465/female 484,068)

15-24 years: 19.51% (male 336,286/female 304,994)

25-54 years: 43% (male 822,302/female 590,937)

55-64 years: 3.9% (male 68,460/female 59,756)

65 years and over: 3.37% (male 55,081/female 55,587) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 30%

youth dependency ratio: 26.7%

elderly dependency ratio: 3.4%

potential support ratio: 29.8% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 25.1 years

male: 26.3 years

female: 23.7 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 47/233

2.07% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 56/224

24.44 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 218/225

3.36 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 132/222

-0.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 77.6% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 8.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

MUSCAT (capital) 838,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.39 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.15 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.99 male(s)/female

total population: 1.2 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 122/184

17 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 110/224

total: 13.55 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 13.85 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 13.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 103/224

total population: 75.21 years

male: 73.29 years

female: 77.23 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 59/224

2.86 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

24.4% (2007/08)

Health expenditures 185/191

2.6% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

2.43 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital bed density

1.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 95.5% of population

rural: 86.1% of population

total: 93.4% of population

unimproved:

urban: 4.5% of population

rural: 13.9% of population

total: 6.6% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 97.3% of population

rural: 94.7% of population

total: 96.7% of population

unimproved:

urban: 2.7% of population

rural: 5.3% of population

total: 3.3% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.16% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

2,400 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

less than 100 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 94/191

26.5% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 73/138

8.6% (2009)

Education expenditures 100/173

4.2% of GDP (2009)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 14 years (2011)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Sultanate of Oman

conventional short form: Oman

local long form: Saltanat Uman

local short form: Uman

former: Muscat and Oman

etymology: the origin of the name is uncertain, but it seems to date back at least 2,000 years since an 'Omana' is mentioned by Pliny the Elder (1st century A.D.) and an 'Omanon' by Ptolemy (2nd century A.D.)

Government type

monarchy

Capital

name: Muscat

geographic coordinates: 23.37° N, 58.35° E

time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

11 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazat); Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Buraymi, Al Wusta, Az Zahirah, Janub al Batinah (Al Batinah South), Janub ash Sharqiyah (Ash Sharqiyah South), Masqat (Muscat), Musandam, Shamal al Batinah (Al Batinah North), Shamal ash Sharqiyah (Ash Sharqiyah North), Zufar (Dhofar)

Independence

1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)

National holiday

Birthday of Sultan QABOOS, 18 November (1940)

Constitution

1996 (The Basic Law of the Sultanate of Oman serves as the constitution); amended by royal decree in 2011 (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of Anglo-Saxon law and Islamic law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Oman

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: unknown

Suffrage

21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military and security forces by law cannot vote

Executive branch

chief of state: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said (sultan since 23 July 1970 and prime minister since 23 July 1972); note - the monarch is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said (sultan since 23 July 1970 and prime minister since 23 July 1972)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch

elections/appointments: the Ruling Family Council determines a successor from the sultan's extended family; if the Council cannot form a consensus within 3 days of the sultan's death or incapacitation, the Defense Council will relay a predetermined heir as chosen by the sultan

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Council of Oman or Majlis Oman consists of the Council of State or Majlis al-Dawla (83 seats; members appointed by the sultan from among former government officials and prominent educators, businessmen, and citizens) and the Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (84 seats; members directly elected in single- and two-seat constituencies by simple majority popular vote to serve 4-year terms); note - following political reforms in 2011, legislation from the Consultative Council is submitted to the Council of State for passage and amendments

elections: Consultative Assembly - last held on 25 October 2015 (next to be held in October 2019)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; note - three prominent figures from the Arab Spring 2011 protests won seats; one woman also won a seat

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 judges)

judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the 9-member Supreme Judicial Council (chaired by the monarch) and appointed by the monarch; judge tenure NA

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; sharia courts; magistrates' courts

Political parties and leaders

political parties are illegal

Political pressure groups and leaders

none

International organization participation

ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description

three horizontal bands of white, red, and green of equal width with a broad, vertical, red band on the hoist side; the national emblem (a khanjar dagger in its sheath superimposed on two crossed swords in scabbards) in white is centered near the top of the vertical band; white represents peace and prosperity, red recalls battles against foreign invaders, and green symbolizes the Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountains) and fertility

National symbol(s)

khanjar dagger superimposed on two crossed swords; national colors: red, white, green

National anthem

name: "Nashid as-Salaam as-Sultani" (The Sultan's Anthem)

lyrics/music: Rashid bin Uzayyiz al KHUSAIDI/James Frederick MILLS, arranged by Bernard EBBINGHAUS

note: adopted 1932; new lyrics written after QABOOS bin Said al Said gained power in 1970; first performed by the band of a British ship as a salute to the Sultan during a 1932 visit to Muscat; the bandmaster of the HMS Hawkins was asked to write a salutation to the Sultan on the occasion of his ship visit

Economy

Economy - overview

Oman is heavily dependent on its now-dwindling oil resources, which generates 84% of government revenue. In 2015 low global oil prices drove Oman’s budget deficit to $6.5 billion, or nearly 11% of GDP. Oman has limited foreign assets and is issuing debt to cover its deficit.

Oman is using enhanced oil recovery techniques to boost production and has actively pursued a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialization, and privatization, with the objective of reducing the oil sector's contribution to GDP from 46% at present to 9% by 2020. Tourism and gas-based industries are key components of the government's diversification strategy.

Muscat also is focused on creating more jobs to employ the rising numbers of Omanis entering the workforce. Increases in social welfare benefits, however, particularly since the Arab Spring, have challenged the government's ability to effectively balance its budget, as oil prices decline. Omani officials intend to reduce social entitlements to cut the deficit, but have faced stiff public opposition to spending cuts, hindering their implementation.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 68/230

$171.7 billion (2015 est.)

$164.6 billion (2014 est.)

$159.9 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$60.18 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 53/225

4.4% (2015 est.)

2.9% (2014 est.)

4.7% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 31/230

$46,200 (2015 est.)

$44,300 (2014 est.)

$43,000 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 135/179

12.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

30.4% of GDP (2014 est.)

34.6% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 35.8%

government consumption: 23.8%

investment in fixed capital: 31.8%

investment in inventories: -0.9%

exports of goods and services: 57.1%

imports of goods and services: -47.6%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.4%

industry: 52%

services: 46.6% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

dates, limes, bananas, alfalfa, vegetables; camels, cattle; fish

Industries

crude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production; construction, cement, copper, steel, chemicals, optic fiber

Industrial production growth rate 124/202

1.8% (2015 est.)

Labor force 146/233

968,800

note: about 60% of the labor force is non-national (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

Unemployment rate 151/207

15% (2004 est.)

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $30.13 billion

expenditures: $36.62 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 15/219

50.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 203/220

-10.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 172/176

7% of GDP (2015 est.)

4.9% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 46/226

0.3% (2015 est.)

1% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 115/156

2% (31 December 2010)

0.05% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 144/184

5.3% (31 December 2015 est.)

5.08% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 70/192

$13.76 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$12.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 74/193

$39.85 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$35.8 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 68/191

$37.06 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$33.69 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 66/121

$20.19 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$19.07 billion (31 December 2013)

$20.27 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 180/197

-$10.16 billion (2015 est.)

$1.543 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 56/224

$39.14 billion (2015 est.)

$53.22 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles

Exports - partners

China 43%, UAE 10.3%, South Korea 8.2% (2014)

Imports 68/223

$25.1 billion (2015 est.)

$27.18 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants

Imports - partners

UAE 32.5%, Japan 12.2%, China 4.8%, India 4.3%, US 4.3%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 67/170

$15.72 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$16.32 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 106/206

$10.18 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$11.33 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$NA

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$NA

Exchange rates

Omani rials (OMR) per US dollar -

0.38 (2015 est.)

0.38 (2014 est.)

0.38 (2013 est.)

0.38 (2012 est.)

0.38 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 71/220

23.77 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 70/219

20.36 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 172/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 178/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 73/214

5.809 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 20/214

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 146/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 188/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 203/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 21/214

943,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 16/214

833,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports 101/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 24/215

5.151 billion bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 51/214

216,900 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 61/212

172,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 58/214

44,300 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 149/213

6,529 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 26/216

31.92 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 36/215

21.92 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 18/215

11.5 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 50/214

1.95 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 27/212

849.5 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 54/212

62.85 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 108/219

total subscriptions: 380,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 109/217

total: 6.2 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 192 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern system consisting of open-wire, microwave, and radiotelephone communication stations; limited coaxial cable; domestic satellite system with 8 earth stations

domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership both increasing with fixed-line phone service gradually being introduced to remote villages using wireless local loop systems

international: country code - 968; the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and the SEA-ME-WE-3 submarine cable provide connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat (2008)

Broadcast media

1 state-run TV broadcaster; TV stations transmitting from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen available via satellite TV; state-run radio operates multiple stations; first private radio station began operating in 2007 and 2 additional stations now operating (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 3, FM 9, shortwave 2 (1999)

Television broadcast stations

13 (plus 25 repeaters) (1999)

Internet country code

.om

Internet hosts 127/232

14,531 (2012)

Internet users 96/217

total: 2.1 million

percent of population: 65.8% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 44/236

132 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 13

over 3,047 m: 7

2,438 to 3,047 m: 5

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 119

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 51

914 to 1,523 m: 33

under 914 m: 26 (2013)

Heliports

3 (2013)

Pipelines

condensate 106 km; gas 4,224 km; oil 3,558 km; oil/gas/water 33 km; refined products 264 km (2013)

Roadways 69/223

total: 60,230 km

paved: 29,685 km (includes 1,943 km of expressways)

unpaved: 30,545 km (2012)

Merchant marine 128/156

total: 5

by type: chemical tanker 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 3

registered in other countries: 15 (Malta 5, Panama 10) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Mina' Qabus, Salalah, Suhar

container port(s) (TEUs): Salalah (3,200,000)

LNG terminal(s) (export): Qalhat

Military and Security

Military branches

Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF): Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman (al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Sultanat Oman) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

Military expenditures 3/132

8.61% of GDP (2012)

6.13% of GDP (2011)

8.61% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

boundary agreement reportedly signed and ratified with UAE in 2003 for entire border, including Oman's Musandam Peninsula and Al Madhah exclave, but details of the alignment have not been made public

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 5,000 (Yemen) (2015)