$210m funding boost for Duqm development project

The government of Oman has signed a deal that will see more than $210m poured into one of the country’s major industrial projects.

According to a report by the Oman News Agency, The Saudi Fund for Development has agreed to back two projects within the industrial zone at Duqm on Oman’s southern coast. The money will be used to create infrastructure, including a new highway, as well as a new fishing harbour.

The Special Economic Zone in Duqm (SEZD) is set to play a key role in helping Oman to generate new revenue streams and diversify its economy in order to reduce reliance on the country’s oil reserves.

During a visit to Duqm in 2015, former UK defence secretary Michael Fallon said he was impressed by the “scale and vision of the project”, and that the development could be of interest to Britain from both a military and a commercial perspective.

The UK’s commitment to the Duqm Port project was affirmed last September with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and Services Agreement, which allows the Royal Navy to use the facilities at Duqm Port.

Plans to build a UK Joint Logistics Support Base at Duqm were also reaffirmed at the end of last year. The multi-million pound joint venture between British defence company Babcock International and Oman Drydock Company will give the UK a permanent training facility and a key military logistics centre in the region.

Earlier today a European Union trade delegation travelled to Duqm to meet Ismail bin Ahmed al- Balushi, chief executive of the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm.

The visit, arranged by Oman’s foreign ministry, provided trade advisers from across the EU with a chance to review investment opportunities and hear presentations on a variety of initiatives including Duqm's dry dock, the city’s port and the Omani Chinese Industrial City.