While Oman benefits from a quiet, stable and sound economy, a page has turned with the loss of its leader His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
Now, the future has to provide the same feeling but with a long-term vision. The world has changed and what was existing in the early 1970s is a part of a past. The speed at which the world is changing requires adaptation. In the early 1970s, there were no mobile phones, no robots, not many TV channels and no Internet.
The transformation of Oman’s future needs to take into account some new factors: Reduce the dependence on oil. The country is rich in mining, history, etc. There is no need to copy what neighbouring countries are doing. There is enough history in Oman to be developed and enhanced to boost tourism, medical treatment, education, etc. How about teaching robotics in schools to prepare the young generation for the rapidly arriving new world? How about developing computer-based schools and at the same time developing calligraphy?
Obviously, the country needs to develop its economy and boost its revenues, but what are the ways which will allow this transformation? The best way will be to match the development with the world’s growth and have alliances with countries which have always been on Oman’s side, have a global vision for the region, and encourage the younger generation to be creative. As a foreigner in Oman, I continue to be amazed by the wealth which exists in Oman but which is not seen by the majority of the people. Oman has been on the silk-road for centuries and possesses a variety of landscapes. It has 1,700km of coastline, varied climate and rich land and sea resources.
Developing proper medical services could allow the country to become a new centre for treatment, and develop into a regional centre, such as Thailand, attracting patients from everywhere, once specialties are properly developed and available. Develop centres where languages can be taught, for better communication with the world, spreading awareness on protecting the ecology and respect for nature can enhance the perception of Oman as a little paradise of the region.
But the most important aspect is that the change comes from the people and not from the authorities. Realising that each and every person can contribute to the improvement of his country and consequently of himself. The sooner this is achieved, the quicker the country will flourish.
It is a common job, not the one brought by the authorities. I am confident that the country will soon make its new start with a solid new vision, and my advice will be to ‘look around and enhance what you already have’.