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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.36 cu km/yr (7%/2%/90%)
per capita: 529 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
1 cu km (1997)

Land boundaries:
total: 1,374 km
border countries: Saudi Arabia 676 km, UAE 410 km, Yemen 288 km

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

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

Map references:
Middle East

Geographic coordinates:
21 00 N, 57 00 E

Natural resources:
petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal Shams 2,980 m

central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south

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

total: 212,460 sq km
land: 212,460 sq km
water: 0 sq km

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

2,092 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Kansas

Irrigated land:
720 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; limited natural fresh water resources

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

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

Land use:
arable land: 0.12%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 99.74% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
5.62 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.4 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.29 male(s)/female
total population: 1.23 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
1,300 (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.91 years
male: 71.64 years
female: 76.29 years (2008 est.)

definition: NA
total population: 81.4%
male: 86.8%
female: 73.5% (2003 census)

Net migration rate:
0.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

Median age:
total: 18.9 years
male: 21.3 years
female: 16.6 years (2008 est.)

note: includes 577,293 non-nationals (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
4% of GDP (2006)

Population growth rate:
3.19% (2008 est.)

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

Death rate:
3.68 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 17.45 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.95 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 11 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 42.7% (male 721,796/female 692,699)
15-64 years: 54.5% (male 1,053,040/female 752,962)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 51,290/female 39,853) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
35.26 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ibadhi Muslim 75%, other (includes Sunni Muslim, Shi'a Muslim, Hindu) 25%

noun: Omani(s)
adjective: Omani

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Gary A. GRAPPO
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

National holiday:
Birthday of Sultan QABOOS, 18 November (1940)

21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military and security forces are not allowed to vote

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:

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

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
bicameral Majlis Oman consists of Majlis al-Dawla or upper chamber (70 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

Legal system:
based on English common law and Islamic law; ultimate appeal to the monarch; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

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

1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Sultanate of Oman
conventional short form: Oman
local long form: Saltanat Uman
local short form: Uman
former: Muscat and Oman

Political parties and leaders:

name: Muscat
geographic coordinates: 23 37 N, 58 35 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

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

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
elections: the monarch is hereditary

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)*

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court
note: the nascent civil court system, administered by region, has judges who practice secular and Sharia law

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
China 26.8%, South Korea 15.2%, Japan 14.3%, Thailand 10.4%, UAE 7.6%, US 4.3%, Iran 4.1% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
10.53 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
1.98% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$11.2 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$6.12 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
15% (2004 est.)

Oil - exports:
722,000 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$20,400 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
17.9% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$13.88 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$67.45 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$56.32 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Omani rials (OMR) per US dollar - 0.3845 (2008 est.), 0.3845 (2007), 0.3845 (2006), 0.3845 (2005), 0.3845 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
6.2% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$5.044 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
920,000 (2002 est.)

Imports - partners:
UAE 19.3%, Japan 17.6%, US 7.4%, Germany 5.2%, India 4.1% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
13.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.1%
industry: 37.2%
services: 60.7% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
15,440 bbl/day (2005)

$33.9 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
11 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Omani rial (OMR)

Economy - overview:
Oman is a middle-income economy that is heavily dependent on dwindling oil resources, but sustained high oil prices in recent years have helped build Oman's budget and trade surpluses and foreign reserves. As a result of its dwindling oil resources, Oman is actively pursuing 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, but many of these projects are in jeopardy because Muscat overestimated its ability to produce the natural gas on which much of its development projects are based. Oman actively seeks private foreign investors, especially in the industrial, information technology, tourism, and higher education fields. Industrial development plans focus on gas resources, metal manufacturing, petrochemicals, and international transshipment ports. High inflation levels have also been a threat to continued high levels of economic growth, but the drop in oil prices and the global financial crisis in 2008 also will affect Oman's fiscal position and it may post a deficit in 2009 if oil prices stay low. In addition, the global credit crisis is slowing the pace of investment and development projects-a trend that probably will continue into 2009.

Natural gas - exports:
13.1 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
7.29% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$11.04 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
13.58 billion kWh (2007 est.)

$13.32 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
5.5 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Natural gas - proved reserves:
849.5 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$11.11 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
69,100 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

Public debt:
2.4% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$23.06 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles

Economic aid - recipient:
$30.68 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
24.1 billion cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $18.41 billion
expenditures: $14.74 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
714,300 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
340,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
268,100 (2007)

1.6 million (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 9, shortwave 2 (1999)

1.4 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.5 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
13 (plus 25 repeaters) (1999)

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)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)

Internet hosts:
4,785 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

gas 4,126 km; oil 3,558 km (2007)

Ports and terminals:
Mina' Qabus, Salalah

2 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 3
by type: chemical tanker 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1
registered in other countries: 2 (Panama 2) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 7
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)

total: 42,300 km
paved: 16,500 km (includes 550 km of expressways)
unpaved: 25,800 km (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 130
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 51
914 to 1,523 m: 35
under 914 m: 34 (2007)

137 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

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: 663,881
females age 16-49: 543,410 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF): Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 34,238
female: 33,139 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
11.4% of GDP (2005 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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

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)

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