Flag of Oman

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In 1970, QABOOS bin Said al-Said ousted his father and has ruled as sultan ever since. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world and has preserved a longstanding political and military relationship with the UK. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with all Middle Eastern countries.


Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE

Geographic coordinates:

21 00 N, 57 00 E


total: 212,460 sq km
land: 212,460 sq km
water: 0 sq km

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

Geography - note:

strategic location on Musandam Peninsula adjacent to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil


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.)

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%

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:




Administrative divisions:

5 regions (manaatiq, singular - mintaqat) and 3 governorates* (muhaafazaat, singular - muhaafaza) Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Batinah, 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

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 NA 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

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. Work on a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility progressed in 2005 and will contribute to slightly higher oil and gas exports in 2006. Oman continues to liberalize its markets and joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in November 2000. To reduce unemployment and limit dependence on foreign labor, the government is encouraging the replacement of foreign expatriate workers with local workers. Training in information technology, business management, and English support this objective. Industrial development plans focus on gas resources, metal manufacturing, petrochemicals, and international transshipment ports. In 2005, Oman signed agreements with several foreign investors to boost oil reserves, build and operate a power plant, and develop a second mobile phone network in the country.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$40.22 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$25.42 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

1.9% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$13,400 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 2.8%
industry: 40%
services: 57.1% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

920,000 (2002 est.)

Unemployment rate:

15% (2004 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

0.4% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

17% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $14.36 billion
expenditures: $10.61 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

7.5% of GDP (2005 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:

0.9% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

10.3 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

9.582 billion kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

769,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:

62,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - exports:

721,000 bbl/day (2004)

Oil - proved reserves:

6.1 billion bbl (2005 est.)

Natural gas - production:

16.5 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

7.09 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - exports:

7.43 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

829.1 billion cu m (2005)

Current account balance:

$4.459 billion (2005 est.)


$19.01 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles

Exports - partners:

China 29.6%, South Korea 17.6%, Japan 11.5%, Thailand 10.3%, UAE 7.3% (2004)


$8.709 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants

Imports - partners:

UAE 21.2%, Japan 16.6%, UK 8.4%, Italy 6%, Germany 5.1%, US 4.7% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$4.747 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$4.586 billion (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$76.4 million (1995)

Currency (code):

Omani rial (OMR)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

242,700 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

805,000 (2004)

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)

Television broadcast stations:

13 (plus 25 low-power repeaters) (1999)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

3,261 (2005)

Internet users:

245,000 (2005)


137 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 6
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2005)

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 (2005)


1 (2005)


gas 3,754 km; oil 3,212 km (2004)


total: 34,965 km
paved: 9,673 km (including 550 km of expressways)
unpaved: 25,292 km (2001)

Merchant marine:

total: 1 ships (1000 GRT or over) 10,797 GRT/5,040 DWT
by type: passenger 1
registered in other countries: 2 (Kazakhstan 2) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Mina' Qabus, Salalah

Military branches:

Royal Omani Armed Forces: Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) (2005)

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