Muscat: In an increasingly globalised world, countries as well as cities have to stand out from the crowd to attract investment and talent.
And while the economic fundamentals of a place are crucial to investors, quality of life, infrastructure, housing, healthcare, entrepreneurial ecosystem and the cultural scene all play an important role in promoting the Sultanate’s offer to the international business community.
Getting to grips with these issues, Ithraa’s upcoming Inside Stories, at the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) Training Centre on April 23 will explore exactly what it means in today’s digital economy to bring in investment and have talent call Oman home.
“For us to remain successful we have to satisfy both the economic and lifestyle criteria of people looking for an attractive destination for their investments. The same applies to getting talent to bring their skills here. Striking this balance isn’t easy, but it’s achievable with the right approach. Indeed, in today’s highly competitive environment, quality of place attributes are key to bringing in, and retaining, both investment and talent,” remarked Is’haq Al Busaidi, Ithraa’s Director General of Marketing and Media, Organiser of the popular Inside Stories initiative.
Cities that have thrived in the past and attracted talent and investment are not necessarily guaranteed success in the new economy. Increasingly, that success is dependent on public-private co-operation, smart public policies and a web of partnerships and collaborations.
“In fact, for many, the question of how Oman’s cities can attract top firms is really: how to attract top talent. And how cities attract top talent is they are desirable places to live,” Al Busaidi said.
Put simply, investors are attracted to cities if there are opportunities to make money. And they assess the attractiveness of a city’s opportunities by estimating their likely return or profit, and are drawn to places that offer them the best combination of scale, risk and return.
Generally, investors will cite five important characteristics they are looking for in a city: a strong economy with growth potential; excellent transport connections; access to talent; pro-growth leadership; and quality of life.
“Everyone has their own idea of what a great city looks like, but most would agree that they should be safe, accessible, energetic, interesting and affordable. In fact, affordability is where ambitious cities, like Muscat, can really set themselves apart. Big name cities have many amenities by virtue of their age or location, but many have become incredibly expensive. Indeed, many mid-sized cities around the world aren’t merely the drivers, but the accelerators of growth. Their economies are agile and ripe for investment,” explained Sajda al- Ghaithy, Ithraa’s Director of Media.
Concluding, Al Busaidi said: “We’re at the dawn of an extraordinary technological revolution. The digital economy is still in its infancy, but when we think about how to attract investment and talent perhaps we need to think about writing a new playbook?”
The panel line-up for Ithraa’s ‘Attracting Investment and Talent’ Inside stories session includes Sayyid Dr. Adham al-Said, Founder and CEO, The Firm (Moderator); Abdulmalik al-Balushi, CEO of Oman Post; Shabib Al Ma’amari, Group Chief, Sector Development and Promotion at Oman Aviation Group; Simon Adcock, General Manager, Country Head of Commercial Banking of HSBC; and Abdulaziz al-Raisi, Studies Expert, Officer of the Advisor for Studies and Research at the Diwan of Royal Court.