Global investors have given a resounding vote of confidence to the Sultanate’s economic future. Oversubscribing the long-term $5-billion international bonds by four times the investors are sending a message on the robust performance of the Sultanate’s economy. They are showing full faith in the nation’s leadership and its capability to steer the economy no matter what the fluctuating oil prices do in future. It is also a thumping vote for the government’s Tanfeedh diversification efforts devised to drive the economy away from overdependence on oil. The tranches were $1billion of five-year term and $2 billion each of 10- and 30-year terms. The development also shows that the world is confident about the investment climate prevailing in the nation. The fact that even the 30-year bonds were lapped up by the investors shows that they expect the economy to do well even in distant future. This confidence stems for their appreciation of Tanfeedh initiative that focuses on three crucial areas of economy – manufacturing, logistics and tourism. The nation has inherent strengths in these interrelated areas and the national planners have leveraged these strengths to spur economic growth and generate more employment. The nation’s pivotal geographical location is also a factor in choosing these sectors. There would also be considerable efforts to incentivise the mining and fisheries sectors through regulatory easing and infrastructure investments. Under the Tanfeedh programme dozens of projects that would drive the economy to newer heights and generate more jobs have been framed.
The abundance of technically skilled labour and good road and port infrastructure make the nation prime area for manufacturing. The industrial estates and special economic zones are bedrocks on which rapid industrial growth will be possible. A recent Labour Market Efficiency workshop was timely in discussing globalisation of the economy, demographic shifts, evolution of skills, changes in education sector and workforce training. Some of the best minds in academics and industrial and business management and labour training took part in the workshop. The workshop took note of the sultanate’s success in moulding the next generation of potential business leaders. The global scenario in which the millennial generation born between 1980 and 2000 will be taking over 75 per cent of jobs by 2025 was discussed in detail. This generation is better educated and more diverse and the career trajectory of members of this generation is likely to be unlike what the world has seen so far. The positioning of the nation as an international logistics hub is also founded on sound reasoning. The nation’s east-facing ports are an asset. The excellent logistics infrastructure that the nation has built in these ports provides a dream situation for them. The quality road network and proposed rail network are expected to make movement of goods easy from manufacturing hubs. The nation’s tourism sector is primed for explosive growth because of massive investments in the pipeline. The Sultanate’s fabled tourism assets are so diverse that they can cater to diverse segments of travellers. There may be several nation’s as richly endowed as the Sultanate in terms of resources. But the will and skill of the leadership in making use of these resources is what marks the nation apart.