Belgian officials commend Sultanate's efforts in economic diversification

September 13, 2019

  • Officials stressed on importance of Invest in Duqm campaign to increase cooperation and attract investments

As part of the ongoing “Invest in Duqm” promotional campaign in Belgium, His Excellency Yahya bin Saeed Al Jabri, Chairman of the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (SEZAD), met with Cathy Berx, the Governor of the Province of Antwerp and other Belgian officials. During the meetings, officials commended the Sultanate's efforts towards achieving economic diversification, plans to reduce dependence on oil and focus on other non-oil sectors.  

In her speech to the campaign’s delegation, the Governor of the Province of Antwerp stated that the Sultanate has identified five major economic sectors during its current five-year plan, including logistics, industry, tourism, mining and fisheries. She also highlighted Oman’s key strategic projects like the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZD) which serves to attract local and international investments.

Cathy Berx highly praised the economic and investment cooperation between the Sultanate and Belgium, noting that there are many factors supporting the various economic and investment relations between the two countries and contributing to its growth. She also stressed on the significant need for such bilateral visits to exchange ideas and expertise that help promoting economic relations between both countries.

“As we are optimistic about the future, still there are certain challenges that need to be tackled. However, through joint forces between Duqm and Antwerp, we can overcome these challenges” commented Cathy Berx, the Governor of the Province of Antwerp.

On the other side, His Excellency Yahya bin Saeed Al Jabri, Chairman of the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (SEZAD), gave a briefing to the Belgian officials on SEZAD and the government's efforts striving to well establish the infrastructure of the Zone and prepare it to attract investments of different kinds and scales.

His Excellency highlighted the various advantages of the 2000-square kilometer Zone in Duqm, the largest in the Middle East and North Africa. The Port of Duqm, Dry Dock, Duqm Refinery, the airport, heavy industrial, medium and light industries, residential, commercial, tourism and logistics areas were also mentioned as key businesses in Duqm. As well, he touched on the facilities and incentives provided by SEZAD to attract international investors.

Therefore, Al Jabri urged Belgian officials and businessmen in Antwerp to explore the investment opportunities offered by the SEZD and highlighted SEZAD’s interest to build more partnerships with companies operating in Antwerp. Detailed presentations were also delivered to the audience by the SEZAD, Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Ithraa), Port of Duqm, Oman Dry Dock, Oman Oil Company and Duqm Quarries.

Generally, the “Invest in Duqm” promotional campaign was well received by Belgian companies and government officials who stressed on the need to identify opportunities for partnership and investment. Annick De Ridder, Vice Mayor of Antwerp and Vice President of the Antwerp Port Authority commented that Port of Duqm is an important maritime gateway in the region stressing on the many potential opportunities for success and growth at Duqm Special Economic Zone .