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Flag of Oman
Map of Oman
Introduction Oman
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 Oman
Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE
Geographic coordinates:
21 00 N, 57 00 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 212,460 sq km
land: 212,460 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Kansas
Land boundaries:
total: 1,374 km
border countries: Saudi Arabia 676 km, UAE 410 km, Yemen 288 km
2,092 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south
central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal Shams 2,980 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas
Land use:
arable land: 0.12%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 99.74% (2005)
Irrigated land:
720 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
summer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in interior; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; very limited natural fresh water resources
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
Geography - note:
strategic location on Musandam Peninsula adjacent to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
People Oman
note: includes 577,293 non-nationals (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 42.7% (male 675,423/female 648,963)
15-64 years: 54.7% (male 1,001,917/female 695,578)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 44,300/female 36,048) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 19 years
male: 21.7 years
female: 16.5 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
3.28% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
36.24 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
3.81 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.44 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.23 male(s)/female
total population: 1.25 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 18.89 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.65 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.37 years
male: 71.14 years
female: 75.72 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
5.77 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
1,300 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 200 (2003 est.)
noun: Omani(s)
adjective: Omani
Ethnic groups:
Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African
Ibadhi Muslim 75%, Sunni Muslim, Shi'a Muslim, Hindu
Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
definition: NA
total population: 75.8%
male: 83.1%
female: 67.2%
Government Oman
Country name:
conventional long form: Sultanate of Oman
conventional short form: Oman
local long form: Saltanat Uman
local short form: Uman
former: Muscat and Oman
Government type:
name: Muscat
geographic coordinates: 23 37 N, 58 35 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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*, Musandam*, Zufar (Dhofar)*
1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)
National holiday:
Birthday of Sultan QABOOS, 18 November (1940)
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
Legal system:
based on English common law and Islamic law; ultimate appeal to the monarch; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
in Oman's most recent Majlis al-Shura elections in 2003, suffrage was universal for all Omanis over age 21 except for members of the military and security forces; the next Majlis al-Shura elections are scheduled for 2007
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); note - the monarch is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary
Legislative branch:
bicameral Majlis Oman consists of an upper chamber or Majlis al-Dawla (58 seats; members appointed by the monarch; has advisory powers only) and a lower chamber or Majlis al-Shura (83 seats; members elected by popular vote for four-year terms; body has some limited power to propose legislation, but otherwise has only advisory powers)
elections: last held 4 October 2003 (next to be held October 2007)
election results: NA
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court
note: the nascent civil court system, administered by region, has judges who practice secular and Shari'a law
Political parties and leaders:
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
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 through 1981, 1988
FAX: [1] (202) 745-4933
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] 24-698989
FAX: [968] 24-699771
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
Economy Oman
Economy - overview:
Oman is a middle-income economy in the Middle East with notable oil and gas resources, a substantial trade surplus, and low inflation. Sustained high oil prices in recent years have helped build Oman's budget and trade surpluses and foreign reserves. Oman joined the World Trade Organization in November 2000 and continues to liberalize its markets. To reduce unemployment and limit dependence on foreign labor, the government is encouraging the replacement of foreign expatriate workers with local workers. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$43.88 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$27.23 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
6.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$14,100 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.6%
industry: 38.8%
services: 58.7% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
920,000 (2002 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
15% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
14.2% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $14.33 billion
expenditures: $12.81 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:
4.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
dates, limes, bananas, alfalfa, vegetables; camels, cattle; fish
crude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production; construction, cement, copper, steel, chemicals, optic fiber
Industrial production growth rate:
5.9% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
14.33 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
13.33 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
769,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
60,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
721,000 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:
4.7 billion bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
17.2 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
6.77 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
10.43 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
829.1 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
$7.097 billion (2006 est.)
$24.73 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles
Exports - partners:
China 21.6%, South Korea 19.3%, Japan 14.2%, Thailand 12.6%, UAE 7.1%, Taiwan 4.1% (2005)
$10.29 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants
Imports - partners:
UAE 22.4%, Japan 15.7%, UK 7.7%, US 6.7%, Germany 5.8%, India 4.2% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$4.908 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$4.259 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$76.4 million (1995)
Currency (code):
Omani rial (OMR)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Omani rials per US dollar - 0.3845 (2006), 0.3845 (2005), 0.3845 (2004), 0.3845 (2003), 0.3845 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Oman
Telephones - main lines in use:
265,200 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.333 million (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system consisting of open-wire, microwave, and radiotelephone communication stations; limited coaxial cable
domestic: open-wire, microwave, radiotelephone communications, and a domestic satellite system with 8 earth stations
international: country code - 968; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 9, shortwave 2 (1999)
1.4 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
13 (plus 25 low-power repeaters) (1999)
1.6 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
3,555 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
245,000 (2005)
Transportation Oman
137 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 6
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 131
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 52
914 to 1,523 m: 35
under 914 m: 35 (2006)
1 (2006)
gas 4,072 km; oil 3,405 km (2006)
total: 34,965 km
paved: 9,673 km (including 550 km of expressways)
unpaved: 25,292 km (2001)
Merchant marine:
total: 1 ship (1000 GRT or over) 10,797 GRT/5,040 DWT
by type: passenger 1
registered in other countries: 2 (Kazakhstan 2) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Mina' Qabus, Salalah
Military Oman
Military branches:
Royal Omani Armed Forces: Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Sultanat Oman, RAFO) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 719,871
females age 18-49: 508,621 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 581,444
females age 18-49: 435,107 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 26,391
females age 18-49: 25,466 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$252.99 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
11.4% (2003)
Transnational Issues Oman
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 have not been made public
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Oman is a destination country for men and women primarily from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India who migrate willingly, but may subsequently become victims of trafficking when subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers; there have been occasional reports that expatriate children engaged in camel racing may transit or reside in Omani territory
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Oman is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List because of a lack of evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons in 2005

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007