The World Factbook (1990)/Oman

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The World Factbook (1990)
United States Central Intelligence Agency

pages 237–238


World Factbook (1990) Oman.jpg

See regional map VI


Total area: 212,460 km²; land area: 212,460 km²

Comparative area: slightly smaller than Kansas

Land boundaries: 1,374 km total; Saudi Arabia 676 km, UAE 410 km, PDRY 288 km

Coastline: 2,092 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: to be defined;
Extended economic zone: 200 nm;
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: Administrative Line with PDRY; no defined boundary with most of UAE, Administrative Line in far north

Climate: dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south

Terrain: vast central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south

Natural resources: crude oil, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas

Land use: NEGL% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 5% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 95% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: summer winds often raise large sandstorms and duststorms in interior; sparse natural freshwater resources

Note: strategic location with small foothold on Musandam Peninsula controlling Strait of Hormuz (17% of world's oil production transits this point going from Persian Gulf to Arabian Sea)


Population: 1,457,064 (July 1990), growth rate 3.1% (1990)

Birth rate: 43 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 12 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 105 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 56 years male, 58 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 6.8 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Omani(s); adjective—Omani

Ethnic divisions: almost entirely Arab, with small Balochi, Zanzibari, and Indian groups

Religion: 75% Ibadhi Muslim; remainder Sunni Muslim, Shi'a Muslim, some Hindu

Language: Arabic (official); English, Balochi, Urdu, Indian dialects

Literacy: 20%

Labor force: 430,000; 60% agriculture (est.); 58% are non-Omani

Organized labor: trade unions are illegal


Long-form name: Sultanate of Oman

Type: absolute monarchy; independent, with residual UK influence

Capital: Muscat

Administrative divisions: none

Independence: 1650, expulsion of the Portuguese

Constitution: none

Legal system: based on English common law and Islamic law; ultimate appeal to the sultan; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Executive branch: sultan, Cabinet, State Consultative Assembly

Legislative branch: none

Judicial branch: none; traditional Islamic judges and a nascent civil court system

National holiday: National Day, 18 November

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Sa'id Al Said (since 23 July 1970)

Political parties: none

Suffrage: none

Elections: none

Other political or pressure groups: outlawed Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman (PFLO), based in South Yemen; small, clandestine Shi'a fundamentalist groups are active

Member of: Arab League, FAO, G-77, GCC, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB—Islamic Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, ITU, NAM, OIC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Awadh Bader AL-SHANFARI; Chancery at 2342 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 387-1980 through 1982; US—Ambassador Richard BOEHM; Embassy at address NA, Muscat (mailing address is P. O. Box 966, Muscat); telephone 738-231 or 738-006

Flag: three horizontal bands of white (top, double width), red, and green (double width) with a broad, vertical, red band on the hoist side; the national emblem (a khanjar dagger in its sheath superimposed on two crossed swords in scabbards) in white is centered at the top of the vertical band


Overview: Economic performance is closely tied to the fortunes of the oil industry. Petroleum accounts for nearly all export earnings, about 70% of government revenues, and more than 50% of GDP. Oman has proved oil reserves of 4 billion barrels, equivalent to about 20 years' supply at the current rate of extraction. Although agriculture employs a majority of the population, urban centers depend on imported food.

GDP: $7.8 billion, per capita $6,006; real growth rate -3.0% (1987 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.0% (1988 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $3.1 billion; expenditures $4.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.0 billion (1989 est.)

Exports: $3.6 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—petroleum, reexports, processed copper, dates, nuts, fish; partners—Japan, South Korea, Thailand

Imports: $1.9 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants; partners—Japan, UAE, UK, FRG, US

External debt: $3.1 billion (December 1989 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 5.0% (1986)

Electricity: 1,130,000 kW capacity; 3,600 million kWh produced, 2,760 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: crude oil production and refining, natural gas production, construction, cement, copper

Agriculture: accounts for 3.4% of GDP and 60% of the labor force (including fishing); less than 2% of land cultivated; largely subsistence farming (dates, limes, bananas, alfalfa, vegetables, camels, cattle); not self-sufficient in food; annual fish catch averages 100,000 metric tons

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-lm (FY70-88), $122 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $92 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $797 million

Currency: Omani rial (plural rials); 1 Omani rial (RO) = 1,000 baiza

Exchange rates: Omani rials (RO) per US$1—0.3845 (fixed rate since 1986)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Highways: 22,800 km total; 3,800 km bituminous surface, 19,000 km motorable track

Pipelines: crude oil 1,300 km; natural gas 1,030 km

Ports: Mīnā’ Qābūs, Mīnā’ Raysūt

Civil air: 4 major transport aircraft

Airports: 128 total, 119 usable; 6 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runways over 3,659 m; 6 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 63 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: fair system of open-wire, radio relay, and radio communications stations; 50,000 telephones; stations—3 AM, 3 FM, 1 1 TV; satellite earth stations—2 Indian Ocean INTELSAT, 1 ARABSAT and 8 domestic

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Royal Oman Police

Military manpower: males 15-49, 350,173; 198,149 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: 16.5% of GDP, or $1.3 billion (1990 est.)