In a bit to widen its economic prospects, the Sultanate has proposed projects and investments that fare approximately RO 100m – to build a new sector focusing on Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The ICT industry currently generates a mere 2.1 percent contribution towards Oman’s overall GDP.
ICT and the Fourth Industrial Revolution Lab Seminar
However, according to plans put forth during the “ICT and the Fourth Industrial Revolution Lab” event held by the Ministry of Transport and Community and the Information Technology Authority (ITA) in association with the Implementation Support and Follow-up Unit at the Oil and Gas Institute (ISFU), the percentages are sure to rise. Attended by several industry leaders, the 4-week long seminar held discussions about the feasibility of the ICT sector, its ability to draw fruitful investments, and the challenges that need to be overcome to make the sector’s initiation a success. The event’s outputs were based on month-long consultations and expert opinions from private and public sector stakeholders.
What does ICT Industry Entail?
The formation of an ICT sector will bring with it – opportunities for hardware and software solutions, cybersecurity, data storage, data recovery – especially during calamities, shared IT solutions, and artificial intelligence, to name a few. The three central focus areas of the industry being hardware and software, services, and enablers. The ICT sector formation will also give rise to investments for devices related to ICT like smart meters, IoT devices, etc.
Localization and Economic Prosperity
Oman’s strategic location makes it an ideal location for setting up an ICT industry. Banking on its strong connectivity with submarine cables that pass through the region – alone, the Sultanate can give tough competition to other countries involved in the Global ICT market. As of now, Oman’s import of ICT services is greater than its export, leading to a significant trade deficit, and loss of profit. Fully realizing the Sultanate’s potential to localize these services can help minimize imports and usher in a wave of self-sufficiency within the Sultanate.
Rise of Job Opportunities via ICT
In a report published on the “ICT and the Fourth Industrial Revolution Lab” seminar, Dr. Salim bin Sultan al Ruzaiqi, Chief Executive Officer of Oman’s ITA stated that “The 11 initiatives of the Lab include 28 projects, 15 of which are primary projects and 13 are secondary projects. These projects will attract an investment of RO 104 million by 2023 and will provide about 2,282 direct jobs and more than 9,000 on-the-job training opportunities by 2024 for Omanis.”
The establishment of a new Information and Communication Technology (ITC) sector will not only help localize capital and knowledge within the Sultanate but whilst being a separate economic sector of its own, the ITC sector will double as a supporting base for all other sectors within the Sultanate.