Muscat: A delegation from the Sultanate visited the United States to strengthen Omani-American relations and open new horizons for cooperation in the information technology sector, as well as to discover tech advancements that can contribute to Oman’s economic growth and create investment and business opportunities for interested parties.
The delegation was represented by a number of officials from a number of government entities including the Information Technology Authority (ITA), Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRAI), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) and Duqm Free Zone. Eng. Ahmed bin Hassan Al Dheeb, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, headed the delegation, accompanied by Dr Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi and some ITA board members and officials, as well as representatives from other entities.
The visit aimed to explore and highlight the investment opportunities in two states—Seattle and San Francisco (Silicon Valley)—through a number of workshops specified for critical investment key projects, including the Duqm Free Zone.
The first workshop was delivered in Seattle in the presence of Honor Cyrus Habib, Lieutenant Governor, State of Washington, and David Hamod, President and CEO of the National US chamber of commerce.
Al Dheeb delivered a speech during the workshop emphasising that the Sultanate’s future economic development vision focused on diversification of the economy from reliance on oil and gas towards industry, tourism, logistics, agriculture and fisheries, and mining.
He stated, “Our vision is to rely on emerging and future digital technologies in developing these sectors. This in turn creates many opportunities for technology companies to invest and develop services and solutions to serve these economic sectors extending many years into the future.”
Al Dheeb said: “We have achieved sustained progress in enhancing our business environment as evident in the global rankings and were ranked 31 globally in starting a business index.”
“The Invest Easy portal of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is one of the pioneering projects in this field and is designed to provide electronic services to investors, entrepreneurs, and owners of small and medium enterprises through a one-stop shop system.”
Investment in Oman
Dr Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA, gave a detailed presentation focusing on the Sultanate’s readiness and infrastructure, generally, and in the IT sector, specifically.
He highlighted the importance of critical infrastructure in the investment. “Oman’s location, political stability, legislative environment, openness and welcoming nature, readiness of the national workforce, entrepreneurship and startup drive, telecom connectivity and ICT infrastructure make our country a main investment hub in the ICT field. These factors are fundamental to the ITA vision to transform Oman into a sustainable digital society by leveraging technology to empower individuals, enrich businesses and enhance government services.”
The Special Economic Zone Authority Duqm (Sezad) representative, Saleh Hamood Al Hasani, Director General of Investment Services, presented the smart city project that will be implemented in the Duqm Free Zone and the other economic projects.
Strategic collaboration with Microsoft
During the visit to Seattle, ITA signed a Strategic Collaboration in the Fourth Industrial Revolution Technologies with Microsoft. Dr Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA, and Sheikh Saif Hilal Al Hosni, Country General Manager – Oman and Bahrain from Microsoft, signed the agreement. It focused on engaging regional and international solution providers for the region, knowledge transfer and capacity building, providing ideation workshops and technology proof of concept.