Sultan QABOOS' extensive modernization program opened the country to the outside world, and the sultan has prioritized strategic ties with the UK and US. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with its neighbors and to avoid external entanglements. Inspired by the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa beginning in January 2011, some Omanis staged demonstrations, calling for more jobs and economic benefits and an end to corruption. In response to those protester demands, QABOOS in 2011 pledged to implement economic and political reforms, such as granting Oman's bicameral legislative body more power and authorizing direct elections for its lower house, which took place in November 2011. Additionally, the Sultan increased unemployment benefits, and, in August 2012, issued a royal directive mandating the speedy implementation of a national job creation plan for thousands of public and private sector Omani jobs.
Although the Kingdom can finance high deficits for several years by drawing down its considerable foreign assets or by borrowing, it has cut capital spending and reduced subsidies on electricity, water, and petroleum products and recently introduced a value-added tax of 5%. In January 2016, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN announced that Saudi Arabia intends to list shares of its state-owned petroleum company, ARAMCO - another move to increase revenue and outside investment.
8 billion in 2018. GDP (purchasing power parity)$1, 609, 323, 000, 000 (2019 est. )$1, 604, 007, 000, 000 (2018 est. )$1, 565, 891, 000, 000 (2017 est. )note: data are in 2017 dollars$135. 814 billion (2019 est. )$138. 089 billion (2018 est. )$135. 696 billion (2017 est. )note: data are in 2017 dollars GDP - real growth rate-0. 9% (2017 est. 7% (2016 est. )4. 1% (2015 est. )5% (2016 est. 7% (2015 est. ) GDP - per capita (PPP)$46, 962 (2019 est. )$47, 597 (2018 est. )$47, 309 (2017 est.
Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Swahili, Urdu, Indian dialectsmajor-language sample(s):????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? (Arabic)The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information. Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and writetotal population: 95. 3%male: 97. 1%female: 92. 7% (2017)definition: age 15 and over can read and writetotal population: 95. 7%male: 97%female: 92. 7% (2018) School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 17 yearsmale: 16 yearsfemale: 16 years (2019)total: 14 yearsmale: 14 yearsfemale: 15 years (2019) Education expendituresNA6.
Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, although the sultanate never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al-Said overthrew his father, and has since ruled as sultan. Sultan QABOOS has no children and has not designated a successor publicly; the Basic Law of 1996 outlines Oman's succession procedure.
As part of the government's efforts to decentralize authority and allow greater citizen participation in local governance, Oman successfully conducted its first municipal council elections in December 2012. Announced by the sultan in 2011, the municipal councils have the power to advise the Royal Court on the needs of local districts across Oman's 11 governorates.
The government has also looked at privatization and diversification of the economy more closely in the wake of a diminished oil market. Historically, Saudi Arabia has focused diversification efforts on power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemical sectors. More recently, the government has approached investors about expanding the role of the private sector in the health care, education and tourism industries. While Saudi Arabia has emphasized their goals of diversification for some time, current low oil prices may force the government to make more drastic changes ahead of their long-run timeline.
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