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.


Location: Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE
Geographic coordinates: 21 00 N, 57 00 E
Population: 3,090,150 (July 2012 est.)

note: includes 577,293 non-nationals

Age structure: 0-14 years: 31.2% (male 484,292/female 460,066)

15-64 years: 65.7% (male 1,133,329/female 856,701)

65 years and over: 3.1% (male 47,786/female 45,785) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: Sultanate of Oman

conventional short form: Oman

local long form: SaltanatUman

local short form: Uman

former: Muscat and Oman

Government type: monarchy
Telephones – main lines in use: 283,900 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 4.606 million (2009)
Airports: 130 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 12

over 3,047 m: 6

2,438 to 3,047 m: 5

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)

Military branches: Sultan’s Armed Forces (SAF): Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman (al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Sultanat) (2012)
Military service age and obligation: 18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)


Oman is a middle-income economy that is heavily dependent on dwindling oil resources, but 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. It ratified a free trade agreement with the US in September 2006, and, through the Gulf Cooperation Council, seeks similar agreements with the EU, China and Japan


. As a result of its dwindling oil resources, Oman is actively pursuing a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialization, and privatization, with the objective of reducing the oil sector’s contribution to GDP to 9 percent by 2020. Muscat is attempting to “Omanize” the labour force by replacing 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 transhipment ports.

Transnational Issues:

Boundary agreement reportedly signed and ratified with UAE in 2003 for entire border, including Oman’s Musandam Peninsula and Al Madhah exclave, but details of the alignment have not been made public