MOHIUDDIN MOHAMAD ALI

Oman 2020 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

For investors, the current environment is stressful because demand has not kept up with supply.

Mohiuddin Mohamad Ali
BIOGRAPHY

Mohiuddin Mohamad Ali is a civil engineering graduate from Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to his role at MFAR Group, he is vice chairman of Galfar Engineering & Contracting SAOG. He is also on the board of other engineering, construction, drilling, and contracting companies in the GCC and India. He is on the board of directors and board of trustees for the Caledonian College of Engineering and Oman Medical College, both premier private educational institutions. In addition, he is director of Indian School Al Ghubra.

What major gaps does Oman's education sector face?
The education sector has come a long way, but from a capability, quality IP, and research output standpoint, it is not yet globally competitive; however, it has been identified as a key development area, with institutions purposely created to focus on this. The private sector and universities have a large role, since the country has only one major higher education institution that does global-level research. Another issue is 80-85% of the student body are female. Somewhere else, this is would be considered an achievement, but it begs the question why young men are not seeking out higher education. To address this issue, there needs to be a change in mentality, since a job is seen as a right in Oman. We are not building competitiveness in our human capital, and the private sector has not created enough jobs to support a competition mentality.

How can Oman fully unlock its hospitality and tourism potential?
We have seen development in the hospitality area over the last two years, with the total number of rooms almost doubling, a new airport, and convention center. For investors, the current environment is stressful because demand has not kept up with supply. Over the long term, these stress factors will be mitigated. However, hospitality is not just about building hotels, but also about developing the entire value chain of tourism and hospitality, from the moment one enters the country to the moment they leave. We must ensure visitors can easily experience local culture. The government has done a lot to open up, and the population is also working to open up, yet there is more to be done. Freedom of movement and ease of experience are what make Oman a great experience. We need to create an economy around this, which we are actively working toward.