In March, as part of Oman Vision 2040, our government announced the ‘All of Oman’ initiative, an important reminder of the inclusive ideals that will take our nation to its next phase of growth.
Panels from the concerned committee also gathered to discuss key aspects of the vision, placing an emphasis on ‘man’ and ‘society’. Through highlighting these two aspects, the panels acknowledged the significant impact the vision would have on human beings and the society - in terms of well-being and quality of life, while underscoring the role of Omani citizens in the actual implementation of the Vision.
‘Man’ and ‘society’ are pillars of the Oman Vision 2040 that play a crucial role in allowing the long-term strategic plan to come to fruition. After all, human energy is a strong catalyst for growth and Oman’s people have always been at the forefront of its narrative.
My unwavering confidence in the abilities of our people leads me to believe that human capital is the most powerful driver of national growth.
The Arab region has witnessed some challenging times in recent years that have muddled the concept of nationalism. A large segment of our youth views nationalism solely as a struggle for freedom, while overlooking the importance of development.
However, we must remind ourselves here that development is in fact a struggle to free ourselves from an existing way of being in order to achieve a more efficient and progressive economic state.
The Omani culture is deeply ingrained in the values of our forefathers - a united spirit, an enduring harmony among official entities, an overarching respect for fellow human beings and need to protect the family unit, as well as an abiding passion and commitment to our nation and heritage. These quintessential aspects of being Omani, also inspire our countrymen to work hard and contribute towards national progress.
The vision’s ‘man’ and ‘society’ pillars reflect the importance of relying on society’s capabilities to ensure economic development through optimally utilizing available resources.
Therefore it is clear that to truly achieve harmony between our national and cultural identity on the one hand and Oman’s economic and technological progress on the other, we will need to mobilize our strengths, build our human capital and ensure it meets the market demands.
A wide cross-section of society encompassing students, women, youngsters, representatives of the public, private and civil society sectors, and people with special needs participated in the discussion panels I have mentioned above that aimed to formulate strategies to achieve the vision. The participation of varied social strata is indeed promising - it in an indicator of collective aspiration, an encouraging step towards shared success.
Participants discussed myriad issues such as education, scientific research, innovation, health, national capacities, citizenship, identity, national heritage, culture, knowledge economy, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
We need to track the progress achieved in these areas and develop a comprehensive action plan to boost education and scientific research, both vital priorities in realising the wider objectives of Oman Vision 2040.
Scientific advancement as well as research and development competencies are prerequisites for progress. We need to consider Vision 2040’s pillars, and the capacities of Omani society and the economy when we talk about scientific research. We must also remember that there is a direct correlation between building local capacities and Oman’s investment needs.
Labor markets have changed drastically in the past decade, giving employers access to a wide pool of qualified personnel that serves as a crucial catalyst in effective public and private sector partnerships.
Not very long ago, administrative bureaucracy was considered a key hindrance in investment. Today, a limited knowledge of market mechanisms is a major obstacle that we need to overcome as quickly as possible.
During the World Government Summit 2018 in Dubai, Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, highlighted Oman’s unique investments in education and commended this experience as a role model for the region and the Arab world at large.
This was certainly a very proud moment for our nation. An endorsement from a leader of Kim’s eminence is proof that the world today recognizes our efforts and our values. This brings me back to our initial premise - ‘man’ and ‘society’ have always been core priorities in Oman and are likely to remain our strongest assets on the road to achieving Vision 2040.
* The author is the Executive Chairman of Investcorp and an International Advisor to the Brookings Instituition. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman