Following Oman’s graduation from World Bank lending in 1987, a framework agreement for annual technical cooperation between Oman and the World Bank was signed in 1991. The technical cooperation program included supporting labor market reform and SME development, education and health expenditure reviews, advisory services to the Capital Market Authority (CMA), and a mid-term assessment of the implementation of Vision 2020.
More recently, a significant Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) program has been under implementation. The current program covers the areas of Budget System Modernization - with the assistance of a resident World Bank advisor, preparation of the 2016-2020 9th Development Plan, private sector development (Investment Climate Assessment, diversification report, foreign investment laws update), fisheries sector development, and transport sector institutional reorganization.
Following cooperation with the Central Bank to improve the payments system in 2013, the Bank was asked to assist with building capacity and strengthening the legal and regulatory framework. The new National Payment Systems law will be adopted upon Cabinet approval.
The size of the RAS portfolio in Oman has increased from less than $100,000 in 2011 to an excess of $2.5 million in 2015.
Engagements with Oman are expected to grow. Once a new package of strategy, action-plan, and investment projects for the fisheries sector – that was prepared with World Bank assistance – is adopted, cooperation to implement this new sector approach is expected to be launched. An engagement is expected to start very soon with the Sultan Court to support Public Private Partnership efforts as well as cooperation to prepare Vision 2040.