OMAN, tourism and investment opportunities

OMAN, tourism and investment opportunities

Oman has been named the safest and the friendliest country in the world and number one in terms of safety and security for expats. The country provides a high quality of life due to its leisure options, personal happiness, travel and transportation, health and wellbeing, safety and security and digital life.

The peaceful country, “has a very healthy economy and supports small and medium-sized businesses. The people of the country are cordial and extremely hospitable. Despite the multicultural community, they still maintain the spirit of tradition and strong humble faith in one God. They are one of the richest countries in the GCC, and in addition to excellent economic conditions and a wealth of minerals, Oman is a land of endless tourism and investment opportunities.”

My sincere thanks go to one of the best bankers in the country who opened the door to his leadership skills with great humility and respect. Mr. Mustafa Ali Mukhtar is a highly regarded expert in investment security and wholesale banking.  Thank you for sharing your enormous knowledge.

Le Globless: I know that you have huge experience in the economic sector, cooperation with private investors as well as states. Please say something about your work.

Mr. Mustafa Ali Mukhtar:

I have been involved in the banking sector for much of my working life, in fact for more than 32 years in all in the banking sector. I’m now businessman and also an Advisor to various Large  Corporates and Government Directorates within and outside of Sultanate of Oman. Beside this I’m currently working on two projects in Oman with Foreign Investors. I also have strategic partners for investments and finance within & outside Oman.

Financial institutions, trading finance, investments … my portfolio is really very diverse and I am naturally in contact with the outside world. I work on several of my projects here in Oman and a few outside Oman.

Among these business activities, I trade with commodities, oil, natural gas, and also LNG. I am constantly building my network of importers and exporters, communicating with people from all over the world and, of course, before doing business, I will do an in-depth analysis of the potential partners. That’s the main thing I’m doing at the moment.

Le Globless: It just sounds amazing. You are an expert in the financial and economic sector, which opens the door to the whole world. At the same time, it makes you a very strong and trustworthy partner in business. Which countries do you work with?

Mr. Mustafa Ali Mukhtar:

I definitely work a lot with Oman, as when I was more than 20 years old and a Member of the Council of Arab African Economy , we were in charge of investment projects, development under government and their explosion. We have been expanding to other countries, so I naturally have very good relations and cooperation with GCC, some Arab countries, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Germany, Italy, Holland, UK, Japan, China, Uzbekistan, USA and I’m finalizing cooperation agreements with Tanzania, Ethiopia, Republic of Guinea Bissau and Sudan and keep on exploring other countries, too.

I have a few credentials including the fact that I’m an honorable representative of The Republic of Uzbekistan. I have three sets of credentials as Chairman/ Deputy of committees under the Arab African Council under the League of Arab States, recognized by the United Nations and discussions are underway for some more Honorable Representations.

,,How do I choose people for cooperation?“

Before I start any cooperation with anyone, I will prepare an in-depth analysis and only then will I begin direct communications. Of course, I try to find out as much information as possible with the help of my former colleagues, because there is a huge risk associated with business.

I was head of Wholesale Banking that includes Financial institutions and correspondent banks, so before moving ahead in any business and partnership I do research and ask my fellow bankers about the potential investor / financier or trader and upon receipt of satisfactory information I then plan a visit for further discussion. Also at times, I call for past performance track record reports through banking channels, via authenticated messages, for review and to take decisions before moving forward.

I travel a lot, and before closing a deal I want to get to know and see a person directly ‘face to face’, of course, to get their bankers credit option & past performance track records and whether the bank supports them in projects and buying large quantities of commodities. Then I will connect the people and sign the contract. Then it’s just about the bank transaction.

Le Globless: What does the current situation with investor projects in Oman look like?

Mr. Mustafa Ali Mukhtar:

Oman is an attraction for many investors and investment projects, while Investors still preferring a partnership with locals of about 80%. In Oman we have everything from petrochemicals, cement companies, plastics and manufacturing. However, the capacity here is not very large, and many things are still interesting to us, such as robotics, as in any country.

Since last year more incentives and benefits have been introduced by amending the laws and regulations for foreigners, hence they can establish their companies without having Local Partners in various industries. However joint ventures are available with strategic local partners. The Government’s vision is to diversify more into manufacturing so there is no or less dependency on oil, hence the Government encourages these industries and provides lots of support & incentives.

 Le Globless: What makes Oman special? 

Mr. Mustafa Ali Mukhtar:

Oman is known for its beautiful beaches and is a very popular tourist destination, not least because it is absolutely safe. We are a land of peace. Omani people are also well known for their hospitality and generosity. It just so happens that if you get lost in the city and ask for help, the host will not advise you, but will take you to the place straightaway.

The Omani nature is very cordial and when you visit, you are always respectfully treated to the traditional coffee with cardamom or other spices to which dates are traditionally served. Each country prepares coffee absolutely differently. When the season starts, the price are on top and in a few weeks the price will drop.

Every single house, serves coffee and dates, and as soon as you enter the house, it is ready for you in the traditional way, you just have to try it. It’s all about our culture.

Tourism:In area, Oman is very large, more than 347 square km, with around 3,000 km coast with beautiful beaches. Therefore Oman is very rich in fisheries and we export various types of fishes to many countries. We have lots of historical places, many people come from different parts of the world for diving, snorkeling and mountain climbing.

Business: We have seven Industrial Estates; four Free zones beside other places; three main commercial sea ports due to Oman’s geographical location which makes these ports very important compared to other ports. We also have three International Airports and many roads providing access to various countries for land trade.

All that you need to do is come over to Oman and set up your business or industries and all support will be given to you,  right from the time of registration until your business is in operation. We also have an exclusive Investment Authority within the Ministry of Trade. They provide all the support needed, including logistics for foreign investors.

As mentioned above, I’m open to partnerships for businesses in many different types of industries. I can actively support and assist right from inception.

The Oman government helps everyone secure an income. From the state, residents can get a grant from $15,000 to $1,000,000 to start a business. Many women, for example, work from home and start their own small businesses.

Le Globless: Do you see potential investors investing outside the GCC countries?

Mr. Mustafa Ali Mukhtar:

Countries build relations, diplomacy and state builds the commercial infrastructure. Just as we attract investors to Oman, Oman also invests in other countries in Europe, America, Africa. As well as investing in GCC countries, Oman also invests directly in them. The government invests, as well as private investors. For example, last year the state invested in Sri Lanka. Investing in a project is about building relationships, it’s never one way, it’s always about both sides.

We have free trade agreements with some countries that support trade between countries more and more.

„I invest in your country and you invest in my country.“

What matters is what the project is about. It is not so much the focus as the background and stability of the project. When the project looks really attractive and arouses my interest, I am ready to invest.

„High risk = High return.“

There is no risk-free business and I am very aware of the risks and I know exactly what I am getting into.

It’s obvious and from a reciprocal point of view and relationship, it’s a form of two way dealing. Oman invested in various countries, both Government and individuals, and the policy of investing outside Oman continues and this will also lead to bilateral trade and Free Trade Agreements (FTA).

Le Globless: What does the name ‘Leader’ mean for you?

Mr. Mustafa Ali Mukhtar:

The leader must have quality. It is very important for a leader to build relationships and trust. Trust in yourself and be trustworthy for others.

,,Better that you don‘t do business than be involved in a business without trust. In any business, some golden principles should be there like honesty, transparency, full involvement by providing time and two-way communication and that leads to success.“

The leader must be transparent at the same time be part of the team. And when something goes wrong, he has to be the first to take responsibility. He must be able to admit error and failure and be able to apologize.

„I’m nothing without you and you’re nothing without me. I need to be ready to share my success with the people who helped me achieve it and share it with them.“

A real leader is the person who leads the team towards achieving common goals. He should be part of the team. He should provide his time by being available all the time, to support, guide and assist the team and overall to take responsibility or to accept the blame for things which have gone wrong or for any collective decisions; hence this relationship goes hand in hand.

“I didn’t become a leader but a part of the company.” We just have to get more discipline, time management, and money management into our lives.

I owe my wealth to God, my parents, and my hard work, because money does not fall from the sky.

The meeting with Seniors at Ministry of Foreign Trade & Investment (Uzbekistan) for Hospitality Project granted to us.


Kinza Vierik