The Sultanate’s eleven governorates are expected to develop into economic hubs in their own right by 2040, each with its own specific forte based on competitive advantages such as industrial or manufacturing, logistical, mineral, green resource-based, topographical, and other considerations.
This ambitious vision, which had been stated in the country’s National Spatial Strategy, which was prepared and published by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning earlier this year, is in line with Oman’s Vision 2040 development strategy as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.
The Observer explores each governorate’s visions as well as the primary factors highlighted by the Ministry’s planners and experts for achieving its economic and development aspirations:
AL BATINAH NORTH AS A LOGISTICS ECONOMIC HUB
Al Batinah North, which is already a key industrial and nautical center connecting Oman to worldwide markets, has the potential to become a “premier centre for international trade, with value-added operations based on the Governorate’s industrial, mineral, and agricultural resources” by 2040.Sohar, which will use its port and airport facilities to improve access to overseas markets and develop as a National Gateway city, will be at the center of this expansion. They will form the Greater Sohar urban area with Liwa to its north, bolstered by the rise of Al Suwaq as a major agricultural processing center.
AL DAKHILIYA AS THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE ECONOMY
Nizwa – The administrative center – will be a “hub of high value economy,” encompassing business, design, fashion, and culture, and thus ideal for services and entertainment catering to the entire Interior of the country, based on its great history and antiquity, of which its oases are an integral parts.By 2040, the wilayats of Al Hamra, Bahla, and Adam, that at the border of Nizwa, are expected to rise as well, as Nizwa develops as a hub for integrated tourism that combines commerce, entertainment, and culture.
AL WUSTA AS RENEWABLES ENERGY HUB
Al Wusta’s wide desert expanse will be exploited for renewable energy as an alternative to oil and gas. It is anchored by Duqm, which has been recognized as one of Oman’s National Gateways. Haima is projected to be built as a Regional Hub with contemporary public and private sector infrastructure. Adventure tourism will be allowed in the governorate’s enormous natural wilderness, although protected areas will be preserved.
MUSANDAM AS THE KEY OF TOURISM AND RELATIONSHIP
Tourism will be the primary economic driver in Musandam, supported by sectors such as fisheries, agriculture, trade, and quarrying. A key goal will also be to preserve the governorate’s outstanding natural beauty.
INTEGRATED ECONOMY AT BATINAH SOUTH
By 2040, economic growth will occur not only along the traditional coastal belt, but also inland, with Al Rustaq growing as the governorate’s main administrative center and becoming a significant tourism center. Barka and Al Musanaah will also expand, while the Khazaen Economic Zone, which is linked by rail to Sohar Port, will become a major job creator. Tourism will thrive in Al Rustaq, Nakhal, Wadi Al Maawil, and Al Awabi wilayats. Al Musanaah will help agriculture, fishing, and coastal tourism.
AL DHAHIRAH AS A PRODUCTIVE TRIANGLE
“Al Dhahirah will gradually strengthen its position in high-value production in major engineering industries, logistics, food processing, and national scale advanced agriculture, accelerating diversification from oil and gas and capitalizing on improved access to international and regional centers through its connections to Suhar and Buraimi to the north and Nizwa/Duqm to the east and south,” as stated in the report Ibri will support an incubator cluster or tech park with its renewable energy projects, while Dhank and Yanqul will develop interconnected and complementary economic sectors.
AL SHARQIYAH NORTH AS FORWARD-THINKING ECONOMIC
According to the report, Al Sharqiyah North will change course and transform its towns and economy while retaining a strong emphasis on preserving local culture and balancing its distinctive natural heritage of mountains, desert, and agricultural plains. Ibra, as a center for applied technology and tech-engineering, is driving this transformation.It will also be as a hub for new business development and advanced manufacturing. Sinaw will be a hub for the Omani food industry, while Bidiya will be a nationally innovative hub for camel-related industries such as breeding, rearing, trading, racing, and tourism.
AL SHARQIYAH SOUTH IS THE BLUE ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT
The Blue Economy will be the focus of investments in this governorate, with a focus on industry, research, management and administration, tourism, and fisheries. Sur will develop into a well-developed urban, commercial, and tourism center, with expanded agriculture, aquaculture, and tourism activities.
AL BURAIMI IS THE GREEN TECHNOLOGY
Taking advantage of its strategic location, Al Buraimi will become a local leader in the research and application of Green Technology, creating jobs. Al Sunainah, a major dairy farming and processing center, will see an increase in desert tourism activities, while Mahdah will support mining, livestock rearing, and tourism.
MUSCAT IS THE GATEWAY TO THE WORLD
According to the report, Muscat will be transformed into a “world-class, cosmopolitan, and sustainable metropolis firmly based on Oman’s traditional cultural values” by 2040. It will continue to be a financial, trade, hospitality, and tourism hub. Mass transit systems will be an important component of urban transportation.with a commuter rail line that extends all the way to Suhar and a light metro that connects Ruwi and Seeb.
DHOFAR AS THE ECONOMY IN BALANCE
Salalah is a new National Gateway City supported by distinct Local Centres located throughout the Governorate. In and around the port, free zone, and airport, high-tech industries will thrive. The jabals will be revitalized, and the Nejd will host numerous food security-related projects.