KEEPING TIES STRONG

Oman 2020 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

With Oman's plans to move toward digitalization, OABC is encouraging US companies to look for opportunities for new technologies in the Omani marketplace.

Ali Daud
BIOGRAPHY

Ali Daud is President & Co-Founder of OABC and Chairman & CEO of Daud Enterprises. As a family partner of the Daud Group, Daud oversees business activities ranging from distribution, building and construction supplies, real estate development, construction, retail, and oil and gas services. Daud is also the founder of Al Daud Restaurants, which is the developmental licensee of McDonald's in Oman, in addition to other companies. He has served on the OACB's board since 2004. Additionally, he has served on the Oman Tourism Board and is currently on the Board of Omanisation Strategy in the field of hospitality and tourism, created by the Cabinet. He received his BA from New York University.

What are some of the major challenges US businesses are facing in Oman, and how will these challenges evolve in the post-COVID-19 environment?
There are challenges in any environment and in any economy. All economies have their own particular challenges. Whether companies are US-based, international, or Omani, they face obstacles. With the new leadership, we are hopeful that any obstacles and difficulties will be removed, creating an even easier business environment in line with Oman's Vision 2040.

How will the nature of partnerships between local and US players change in the medium term, and what will be the main drivers of these changes?
Relationships between US and Omani companies—whether JVs, partnerships, or commercial representations—have always been healthy and will continue being so.

What new opportunities can the drive for innovation and digitization in Oman provide US firms with?
The US is a leading country when it comes to digitalization and innovation. The opportunity is like an open canvas. Oman is still in its infancy in these sectors, but there is a strong desire at both the business level and the government level to move in this direction in a robust way, so US companies are encouraged to bring their know-how into Oman, explore its potential, and look for opportunities for new technologies.

Why should US public and private investors look at deploying capital in the Sultanate, and what investments do you most recommend?
Why does any company invest anywhere? It is to make money. Oman has a number of benefits for investors. First of all, Oman is one of the few countries that has a FTA with the US. Oman is an emerging market with an FTA, and we have a legal infrastructure that protects foreign investment and allows for repatriation of funds. Oman has great opportunities: it is safe for both business and living and offers a high quality of life. The Sultanate also offers a young, prosperous, and growing economy and population.