DNA Oman

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Key topics

Education

DNA Oman

Situational analysis

The field of education is very young in the Sultanate of Oman compared to other countries and the education system is still in the build-up phase. Nevertheless there have been a lot of achievements in the last fourty years and the country has a lot of potentials. Whereas there were only 3 schools in 1970 which were only for boys, now there are more than one thousand schools both for boys and girls.
The reforms of the past decades were mainly concerning the improvement of basic and post-basic education. The higher education is a field which still needs to be focused on, as right now there is only one public university in the whole Sultanate. Also the sector of vocational education is not yet very well developed. In order to diversify education and economy and to increase the share of Omanis in the private sector, it is essential to establish more vocational schools.
As mentioned, with Oman being still in a build-up phase it is easier to direct and guide the development through the educational sector. The high birthrate and the expected growth of population will also be a challenge in the future that has to be dealed with. An essential issue is also the already high unemployment rate which will even increase if no measures are taken.
About one third of the Omani population is now younger than 14 years. This percentage underlines the importance of developments in the field of education. With a current unemployment rate of approximately 15%, which has to be expected to be growing in the next decades, it is crucial to focus mainly on vocational and higher education and to improve the connections between educational institutions and labor market.


Developing

The field of education can definitely be seen as a big strength and future potential of Oman. There is general education for boys and girls, which is provided for free and even includes the transport to and from school. Keeping in mind the very high birthrate in the last years, investing in education is the only answer to the high unemployment rate which has to be expected. The vision DNA Oman sees the main potential of education in the improvement of vocational schools, higher education and better coordination and cooperation between educational institutions and the labor market. Specialized study fields which are related to industry, services or science can ease the burden on the public sector which now has to absorb most of the university graduates.

Networking

While the spatial allocation of elementary and secondary schools among the country is relatively good, the higher education institutions are concentrated in a few spots. It is one goal of the vision DNA Oman to establish more institutions for vocational and higher education in all regions of Oman, which are specialized on a certain sector. Thereby the regional potentials can be used and a balanced regional development can be forced.

Activating

Universities and higher education institutions are attractive locational factors for a region. Besides improving the educational situation, universities force further development of the region they are situated in and work as an attractor for investors and companies. With the planning and realization of public educational institutions the government has a powerful instrument to support development and force innovation according to the goals of DNA Oman.

Goals

- Better cooperation between educational institutions and labor market
- Diversification of study fields in higher education
- Increase of the practical experience while studying
- Improved possibilities in the private sector for highly qualified people
- Establishment of higher educational institutions all regions
- Establishment of vocational schools in all regions

Main projects

Economy & knowledge clusters


Economy

DNA Oman

Situational analysis

The economy of Oman is dominated by petroleum activities with a share of about 40% of the GDP (2009). Comparing the importance of the economic sectors, the industry is the most important with 51% of the GDP, services the second most important with 48% and agriculture with only 2% the least important. Especially the meaning of industry differs a lot from the structure of European countries.
Oil and gas are also the most important factors concerning the state’s income (about 77% of public revenues in 2010). This is why there is no personal income tax in Oman.
Like in other Gulf states, the number of expatriate workers in Oman is very high, especially in the private sector, where only 15% of the employees are Omanis.Therefore an inititative for Omanization was started, which should support the replacement of expatriate workers by Omani citizens. Up to now the initiative is only successful in the public sector. This is linked with the attitude of most Omanis that work in the public sector is more attractive, both concerning salary and status.
In 1995 the Omani government introduced a development program for Oman’s economy called „Vision 2020“. Its main goals are the diversification of economy and the reduction of the importance of oil, the Omanization especially in the private sector, the strengthening of the private sector as main income source and the development of a leading and highly competitive private sector. The Supreme High Committee of the Five Year Development Plans is working on realizing these goals step by step through five year plans and by following realistic aims. It has to be acknowledged that a lot of the goals couldn’t be reached so far.
Because of its economic stability the Sultante is generally attractive to foreign investors, although the relatively high level of bureaucracy restrains a lot of investors.

Developing

The government supported industrial estates in Oman build the base to the industrial production of the country and are already well developed concerning hard locational factors. In the context of DNA Oman the industrial estates should be further developed towards economy and knowledge clusters which besides industry include services, technology and science parks and institutions of higher education. This combination will lead to innovation, support R&D and increase the importance of knowledge-based economies in Oman as well as the competitive advantage of the country.

Networking

Connected as a network the economy and knowledge clusters in different locations can specialize in distinct sectors, which helps the country to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil. The establishment of clusters in different regions and cities moreover helps to achieve balanced regional development and reduce spatial disparities. In this context it is especially important to focus on the endogenous potentials of each region and design the e&k clusters according to the opportunities in natural resources, location and human resources.

Activating

The investment in knowledge, technology and education clearly has long-term effects and helps Oman to establish a stable, competitive economy, which secures good employment and career opportunities for the country's inhabitants. Nevertheless regional planning using its instruments can only support the building of clusters and activate the cooperation between industry, education and science, the innovation has to come from the stakeholders themselves. Also the government is asked to invest and support research and development in order to raise the economic competitiveness of Oman in the global market.

Goals

- Stronger cooperation between labor market and educational sector
- Improving the image of the private sector and making it more attractive
- Support research & development to increase competitiveness of Oman
- Diversification of economy
- Overcome unemployment with high-qualification jobs
- Balanced regional development and reduction of spatial disparities

Main projects

Economy & knowledge clusters


Tourism

DNA Oman

Situational analysis

At the moment the Sultanate of Oman already presents a wide range of touristic offers. Oman owns a high number of different landscapes which all hold their unique identity. As are other things, tourism in Oman is in the building phase and thanks to the many different landscapes as the seaside, the desert, the mountain range or the many wadis it is possible to establish many different forms of tourism. It is essential to get out more of the regional potentials. The idea is to build on natural and sustainable tourism. It’s very important to put more effort in the marketing process of these offers and at the same time improve the connection between the tourism facilities.
A lot of potentials can be seen for example in the adventure tourism in the mountain ranges and deserts, the cultural tourism especially in connection with Muttrah, Nizwa and the mudbrick villages and Falaj irrigation systems in the mountain areas, the beach and sports (e.g. diving) tourism along the coast and in Musandam. The situtational analysis in this context shows touristic potentials in all region of the Sultanate.
As the Ministry of tourism is now the only official planning institution concerning tourism, a more decentralized way of organization and coordination has to be found.

Developing

To develop existing tourist areas in inner Oman is an important point in the whole development of the country. Tourism is an efficient way of bringing work and money to the regions. The developing strategy for tourism includes the goal of finding a balance of the well-being in the country especially between the coast area and the inner country. The Sultanate of Oman already provides a wide range of tourism offers, so the main strategy of DNA Oman is not to find new ways of tourism but to develop these offers further and find ways of increasing the sustainability.

Networking

Especially in the planning of future tourism, networking plays an essential role because many smaller regions have a hard time of establishing themselves in the touristic market. It is necessary to work in cooperation within the country of Oman and build up a joint strategy which can compete in an international context. To improve the marketing strategy of the country the implementation of a united brand is the main Goal of DNA Oman Tourism. Networking under one brand is not only important for the touristic marketing but also for further education and training in the sector of tourism. By exchanging knowledge it is easy to work on a steady improvement of touristic offers, marketing and education.

Activating

For the implementation of the measures of DNA Oman tourism it is essential to build up a new system of participation in the country. The goal is to involve as many parties as possible in the planning process. To organize the participation process Regional Forums should be installed which are self-governed and coordinate with the higher institutions. Finding solutions and own ways of dealing with specific topics will raise acceptance of the measures. As in Oman there are different fundamentals in the landscape and in the offers of tourism as in Europe, it is important to find own ways of defining sustainability in tourism. The more people are involved in the progress of tourism planning the better.

Goals

- Diversication of touristic offers
- Sustainable and environmental friendly forms of tourism
- Tourism based on the cultural heritage and potentials of Oman
- Building up a network of touristic offers including technical infrastructure, touristic schools, activities,...
- Building up a knowledge network about competetive and sustainable tourism (trainings, schools,...)
- Improving cooperation between tourism facilities

Main projects

Certification network

Regional forums


Building structure

DNA Oman

Situational analysis

Whereas the traditional Omani settlements were orientated at the topography and landscape, the last 30 to 40 years had made a big influence on the structures and architecture of the Omani cities. The increase of overall wealth and growing population is creating an increasing pressure on new, more comfortable housing which is causing abandoning of the old part of towns, their partial destruction and expanding of the new settled areas. A new type of the residential home is emerging which doesn’t really fulfill the traditional oasis settlements building principles. The new detached, invidual standing house, surrounded by tall walls, built in open space right next to a street, enabling fast transport everywhere in the area is the new model of modern housing in Oman. The consequence of this building style is the high amount of energy needed for climatic conditioning, complicated and mostly limited water resources and in some areas cutting down date palm trees which are essential for clime regulation in oasis settlements.
At the moment the building structure is therefore very widely spread, especially on the countryside the distances between houses and settlements and to the nearest public buildings are enormous. It is generally not possible to reach public buildings like hospitals or schools by foot. In the context of sustainability it has to be a goal to increase the density of building structure and improve the accessibility of public facilities.
Beside the structure on the countryside it is also important to consider the bigger cities of Oman. Currently the urban feeling in the cities is very low because of the homogenous building styles, which is no deficiency but through the rapid growth and development it will be necessary to launch more urban segments. The main issue both on countryside and in the cities is however the increase of density.

Developing

As Oman is a country where fast development takes place it is important and necessary to guide these development in an organized way. Oman has to find its identity in building culture and develop concepts for city and regional planning. The traditional housing units should not be abandoned but there has to be found a way of increasing the density of the settlements in order to improve energy efficiency and reduce infrastructure costs.

Networking

The concept for planning in Oman should be coordinated all over the country and adapted for the particular requirements. The planning system in Oman should be better coordinated within the country. Every region has its own landscape and building requirements, so regional masterplans for the system of building plots could be a method of finding efficient solutions for each region.

Activating

Activating in the context of building structure and style means the implementation of a planning concept which includes the participation of the Omani population. As already mentioned, every region has its own needs and people who actually live in these regions will know how to use the land in the best way. It is important to involve more people in the planning process especially when bigger projects are concerned.

Goals

- Higher density in the urban areas
- Compact building style in the rural areas
- Energy efficient building style (district cooling, solar energy)
- Step by step Urbanization in the big cities starting in the Industrial Estates

Main projects

Row housing

Urbanization


Mobility

DNA Oman

Situational analysis

The rapid development in the last decades brought a lot of building activity also concerncing transport infrastructure. Whereas in 2003 there wer only 12.000km of asphalted roads, in 2009 there were more than twice as many, almost 26.000km. Although this can be seen as an essential infrastructure improvement, it entails the focus of transportation on the individual car.
In Oman transportation is mainly oil based and it is necessary to build up a more sustainable way of living. One reason for the use of the private car is certainly the high temperature in summer which will be bearable through the air conditioning system. The challenge is to implement a system of sustainable and at the same time comfortable public transportation system. Oman is already doing a lot of research in these sectors like for example there is by now an existing project about an Oman-build electric car.
Another important issue is traffic safety. The statistics show an extremely high number of traffic accidents in Oman. Whereas the total number of accidents is decreasing since 2003, the number of seriously injured or dead people is increasing.
Concerning public transportation the situational analysis showed a lack of offers in the whole country. Besides some busses there are hardly any possibilities to use public transport instead of individual cars. According to a survey the population regards public transport as less safe, comfortable, convenient and flexible than individual transport.

Developing

In Oman transport is mainly processed by individual car, so it will be a challenge to implement a system of public transportation. Goal of the vision DNA Oman is to try and implement a system which is a marriage between individual cars and public transportation. Different regions, densities and settlement structures require different mobility solutions. For the rural areas, the vision's goal is to provide sustainable individual mobility without negative environmental impacts. In the capital area a basic approach to public transport already exists, but the attractiveness, comfort and efficiency are not compatible with the requirements of the modern Muscat. So the main idea is, to find a high tech solution for public transport which surpasses all expectations.

Networking

The vision aims for the complete provision of sustainable transportation infrastructure in the country. Local, regional and interregional transportation should be consolidated and coordinated. Beside the matched organisation another important point is the spatial closeness between the interchange stations. Because of the high temperature it is important to find a way of linking all systems of transportation.

Activating

Providing the transportation infrastructure alone won't bring change of mobility habits of the Omani people. In a parallel process it is essential to also change people’s attitude towards public transportation. The vision DNA Oman has the goal of raising awareness for the negative environmental impact of oil based transportation and showing the advantages and comforts of public transport.

Goals

- Establishment of an efficient public transport system in the Muscat area
- Reduction of the traffic volume in the capital area
- Establishing a network of public transport connections between the main cities of Oman
- Introducing environmentally friendly means of transportation
- Reducing dependency on oil in transportation

Main projects

MOMO | Muscat Optimized Mobility Organization

EMO | Electric Mobility Oman

iEMO | Individual Electric Mobility Oman


Energy

DNA Oman

Situational analysis

In Oman Energy is primarily oil-based at the moment. In the last thirteen years the production of natural gas was increased more than fourfold, but just like crude oil natural gas is a non-renewable energy source. If Oman wants to become independent from these limited resources, it has to increase its efforts concerning the introduction of renewable energy. In the last years there has already been made some research in alternative and renewable energy but this sector is still very young nowadays. The country has a lot of potential nevertheless in sustainable production and use of energy. The enormous expanse of desert landscape offers a range of opportunities of investing in solar power plants and the coastal areas hold many potentials in using the wind power. Beside the production of energy another issue is the awareness of sustainable energy use which in fact exists but should be more promoted and spread around the country.

Developing

On the topic of energy DNA Oman states, that there has to be a change on how Oman gains his energy and also in the way energy is used. Plainly this means, that Oman has to set a stronger focus on renewable energy, because first the oil sector and in the further future also the gas sector won’t be available in Oman. There is also a big potential to decrease the volume of wasted energy, for example by expanding existing and introducing new district cooling systems, instead of using the comparable energy wasting common air conditionings.

Networking

Developing renewable energy of course means that the energy system has to be well considered, and that there has to be a well coordinated network of different types of energy production. For example solar energy is produced during the peak load (while the sun is shining) and thermal energy could be responsible for the medium load. Wind energy and solar energy is most effective in the summer time, which coincide with peak periods of electricity demand in Oman. But the higher the share of renewable energy is, the more difficult it gets to produce energy only at the times, when it is needed and therefore it will be impossible not to think about energy storage systems as well. As the different regions have disstinct potentials concerning the production of energy, cooperation and coordination is essential to allow the provision of renewable energy in the whole country.

Activating

Because changing the production of energy is a long term process, which has to be done step by step and of course because it should be a sustainable change, which is supported by the population, it is important to activate the people of Oman and raise their interest for the topic of renewable energy. Besides supporting the change by financial aids for people to install solar panels at their own plot of land, the vision DNA Oman should also increase the awareness concerning the economical use of energy.

Goals

- Diversification of the energy supply
- Increase the share of renewable energy and primary energy
- Prepare the energy system for the needed capacity
- Produce the necessary energy storage systems for the new energy sectors
- Introduce off-grid systems in areas that cannot be developed economically in another way (e.g. desert camps)
- Saving energy by sustainable cooling systems (district cooling)

Main projects

CSP plants

Pilot projects photovoltaic

Wind parks

District cooling

Geothermic research

Green campaign