Introduction    Oman Top of Page
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 the restrictive rule of his father; he has ruled as sultan ever since. 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.
   Geography    Oman Top of Page
Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE
Geographic coordinates:
21 00 N, 57 00 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 309,500 sq km
land: 309,500 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Kansas
Land boundaries:
total: 1,374 km
border countries: Saudi Arabia 676 km, UAE 410 km, Yemen 288 km
2,092 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south
central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south
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:
arable land: 0.12%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 99.74% (2005)
Irrigated land:
720 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
1 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.36 cu km/yr (7%/2%/90%)
per capita: 529 cu m/yr (2000)
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 fresh water 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    Oman Top of Page
note: includes 577,293 non-nationals (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 42.7% (male 744,265/female 714,116)
15-64 years: 54.5% (male 1,079,511/female 783,243)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 55,180/female 41,770) (2009 est.)
Median age:
total: 18.8 years
male: 21.1 years
female: 16.7 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate:
3.138% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:
34.79 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate:
3.65 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
urban population: 72% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.38 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.32 male(s)/female
total population: 1.22 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 16.88 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.29 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.16 years
male: 71.87 years
female: 76.55 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:
5.53 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
1,300 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)
noun: Omani(s)
adjective: Omani
Ethnic groups:
Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African
Ibadhi Muslim 75%, other (includes Sunni Muslim, Shia Muslim, Hindu) 25%
Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 81.4%
male: 86.8%
female: 73.5% (2003 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 11 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
4% of GDP (2006)
   Government    Oman Top of Page
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
Government type:
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:
5 regions (manatiq, singular - mintaqat) and 4 governorates* (muhafazat, singular - muhafazat) Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Batinah, Al Buraymi*, Al Wusta, Ash Sharqiyah, Az Zahirah, Masqat (Muscat)*, Musandam*, Zufar (Dhofar)*
1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)
National holiday:
Birthday of Sultan QABOOS, 18 November (1940)
none; note - on 6 November 1996, Sultan QABOOS issued a royal decree promulgating a basic law considered by the government to be a constitution which, among other things, clarifies the royal succession, provides for a prime minister, bars ministers from holding interests in companies doing business with the government, establishes a bicameral legislature, and guarantees basic civil liberties for Omani citizens
Legal system:
based on English common law and Islamic law; ultimate appeal to the monarch; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military and security forces are not allowed to 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 the 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
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: the monarch is hereditary
Legislative branch:
bicameral Majlis Oman consists of Majlis al-Dawla or upper chamber (71 seats; members appointed by the monarch; has advisory powers only) and Majlis al-Shura or lower chamber (84 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms; body has only advisory powers)
elections: last held 27 October 2007 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: new candidates won 46 seats and 38 members of the outgoing Majlis kept their positions; none of the 20 female candidates were elected
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court
note: the nascent civil court system, administered by region, has judges who practice secular and Sharia law
Political parties and leaders:
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hunaina bint Sultan bin Ahmad al-MUGHAIRI
chancery: 2535 Belmont Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-1980
FAX: [1] (202) 745-4933
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Richard J. SCHMIERER
embassy: Jameat A'Duwal Al Arabiya Street, Al Khuwair area, Muscat
mailing address: P. O. Box 202, P.C. 115, Madinat Sultan Qaboos, Muscat
telephone: [968] 24-643-400
FAX: [968] 24-699771
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
   Economy    Oman Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Oman is a middle-income economy that is heavily dependent on dwindling oil resources. Because of declining reserves, Muscat 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 to 9% by 2020. Tourism and gas-based industries are key components of the government's diversification strategy. By using enhanced oil recovery techniques, Oman succeeded in increasing oil production in 2009, giving the country more time to diversify. The drop in oil prices in 2008 and the global financial crisis reduced Oman's budget surplus in 2009 and slowed the pace of investment and development projects, but GDP growth still was positive, in part because Muscat implemented an expansionary fiscal policy.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$69.43 billion (2009 est.)
$67.67 billion (2008 est.)
$63.6 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$52.34 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.6% (2009 est.)
6.4% (2008 est.)
5.8% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$20,300 (2009 est.)
$20,400 (2008 est.)
$19,800 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.1%
industry: 36.3%
services: 61.6% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
note: about 60% of the labor force is non-national (2007)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
15% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Investment (gross fixed):
31.4% of GDP (2009 est.)
revenues: $18.75 billion
expenditures: $18.35 billion (2009 est.)
Public debt:
2.8% of GDP (2009 est.) 2.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.3% (2009 est.) 12.5% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
0.91% (31 December 2008) 1.98% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
7.1% (31 December 2008) 7.29% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$5.25 billion (31 December 2008) $5.044 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$14.57 billion (31 December 2008) $11.04 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$17.83 billion (31 December 2008) $13.88 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$14.91 billion (31 December 2008) $23.06 billion (31 December 2007) $16.16 billion (31 December 2006)
Agriculture - products:
dates, limes, bananas, alfalfa, vegetables; camels, cattle; fish
crude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production; construction, cement, copper, steel, chemicals, optic fiber
Industrial production growth rate:
3.4% (2009 est.)
Electricity - production:
13.58 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
11.36 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production:
806,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - consumption:
81,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports:
593,700 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - imports:
17,290 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
5.5 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production:
24 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
13.46 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
10.89 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
350 million cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
849.5 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
Current account balance:
$612 million (2009 est.) $5.523 billion (2008 est.)
$29.34 billion (2009 est.) $37.72 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles
Exports - partners:
China 31.7%, South Korea 17%, UAE 11.7%, Japan 11%, Thailand 7.1% (2008)
$18.41 billion (2009 est.) $20.71 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants
Imports - partners:
UAE 27.2%, Japan 15.6%, US 5.7%, China 4.6%, India 4.5%, South Korea 4.2%, Germany 4.2% (2008)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$13.58 billion (31 December 2009 est.) $11.58 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$7.474 billion (31 December 2009 est.) $7.68 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
Exchange rates:
Omani rials (OMR) per US dollar - 0.3845 (2009), 0.3845 (2008), 0.3845 (2007), 0.3845 (2006), 0.3845 (2005)
   Communications    Oman Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
274,200 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
3.219 million (2008)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system consisting of open-wire, microwave, and radiotelephone communication stations; limited coaxial cable
domestic: fixed-line phone service gradually being introduced to remote villages using wireless local loop systems; fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership both increasing; open-wire, microwave, radiotelephone communications, and a domestic satellite system with 8 earth stations
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 (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 9, shortwave 2 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
13 (plus 25 repeaters) (1999)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
6,346 (2009)
Internet users:
465,000 (2008)
   Transportation    Oman Top of Page
128 (2009)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 10
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 118
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 52
914 to 1,523 m: 33
under 914 m: 25 (2009)
3 (2009)
gas 4,209 km; oil 3,558 km; refined products 263 km (2009)
total: 42,300 km
paved: 16,500 km (includes 550 km of expressways)
unpaved: 25,800 km (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 3
by type: chemical tanker 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1
registered in other countries: 2 (Panama 2) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Mina' Qabus, Salalah
   Military    Oman Top of Page
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) (2009)
Military service age and obligation:
18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 802,455
females age 16-49: 626,841 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 675,454
females age 16-49: 563,890 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 35,647
female: 34,407 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures:
11.4% of GDP (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Oman Top of Page
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
Trafficking in persons:

Current situation: Oman is a destination country for men and women primarily from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan who migrate willingly, but some of whom become victims of trafficking when subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers; mistreatment includes non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement and withholding of passports, threats, and physical or sexual abuse; Oman may also be a destination country for women from Asia, Eastern Europe, and North Africa for commercial sexual exploitation
Tier rating: Tier 3 - Oman was rated as Tier 3 for the second consecutive year because it did not report any law enforcement efforts to prosecute and punish trafficking offenses in 2007 and continues to lack victim protection services or a systematic procedure to identify victims of trafficking (2008)

This page was last updated on 14 May 2009


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