Oman and the Indian Ocean Rim – Economic Integration Across Conventional Meta-Regions

  • Steffen WippelEmail author
Part of the United Nations University Series on Regionalism book series (UNSR, volume 6)


Very often economists and politicians tend to analyse past trends and future opportunities of regional economic integration in terms of pre-defined regional entities. More recent concepts across the disciplines emphasise a more open approach to regionalisation processes, focusing on region-building and on a more open definition of regions. Whereas Oman is regularly considered to be situated in MENA/the Arab world, the paper takes a different perspective and sees it as part of the Indian Ocean world. It focuses on three dimensions of this integration process: on the institutional aspect, such as membership in regional organisations or bilateral economic agreements; on the development of material economic links, mainly regional trade and secondarily firm cooperation; and on the self-positioning and branding of Oman with respect to its regional orientation and belonging.

The author shows that Oman has and is developing strong economic links with Indian Ocean rim countries and actively places itself in the area. The main motives behind this are to be found in endeavours to prepare the national economy for the post-oil era. Attempts to position Oman as a production place, a trade hub and a tourist destination have been strengthened. All this means that Oman is trying to produce and communicate a favourable geo-economic position. Finally, the presentation shows that the Indian Ocean is not a homogenous entity, but has differing shapes, in accordance with different temporal, institutional, material or discursive perspectives.


Indian Ocean Foreign Direct Investment Trade Intensity Arab World Gulf Cooperation Council 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Anon. (2003). Second UMIOR general conference. Thai Higher Education Review, 1(3), 7.Google Scholar
  2. Anon. (2005). Oman, a seafaring nation (3rd ed.). Muscat: Ministry of National Heritage and Culture.Google Scholar
  3. Bachmann-Medick, D. (2006). Cultural turns: Neuorientierungen in den Kulturwissenschaften. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt.Google Scholar
  4. Ben Arrous, M. (1996). Beyond territoriality: A geography of Africa from below. Dakar: Codesria.Google Scholar
  5. Bøås, M., Marchand, M. H., & Shaw, T. M. (Eds.). (2005). The political economy of regions and regionalisms. Houndmills/Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  6. Bouchard, C. (2000). L’espace indianocéanique: Un système géopolitique en recomposition. Ph.D. thesis, Faculté des études supérieures & Faculté des Lettres, Département de géographie, Université Laval, Quebec.Google Scholar
  7. Brand Oman. (2011). The story behind the brand mark. Accessed 17 Nov 2011.
  8. Business Information Services for the Indian Ocean Rim Countries. (2004, August 23). Report of the working group on trade and investment. Colombo, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Accessed 21 Feb 2006.
  9. Chaudhuri, K. N. (1990). Asia before Europe: Economy and civilisation of the Indian Ocean from the rise of Islam to 1750. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Christiansen, T., Petito, F., & Tonra, B. (2000). Fuzzy politics around fuzzy borders: The European Union’s ‘near abroad’. Cooperation and Conflict, 35(4), 389–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DG Trade (European Commission). (2011, June 8). Oman: EU bilateral trade and trade with the World. Accessed 12 Sept 2011.
  12. Embassy of India. (2011a). Major Indian companies represented in Oman. Accessed 16 Sept 2011.
  13. Embassy of India. (2011b). India-Oman economic relations. Accessed 16 Sept 2011.
  14. Freitag, U., & von Oppen, A. (2010). Introduction: ‘Translocality’: An approach to connection and transfer in area studies. In U. Freitag & A. von Oppen (Eds.), Translocality: The study of globalising processes from a Southern perspective (pp. 1–21). Leiden/Boston: Brill.Google Scholar
  15. Gopalan, S., & Rajan, R. S. (2009). Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC). Arlington: Mimeo. Accessed 15 Nov 2010.
  16. Hettne, B., & Söderbaum, F. (2000). Theorising the rise of regionness. New Political Economy, 5(3), 457–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. IMF – International Monetary Fund, Statistics Department. (2007). Direction of trade statistics (1980–2005). CD-ROM. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  18. INORI – Indian Ocean Research Initiative. (2005). Neuere Literatur zum Indischen Ozean – eine kritische Würdigung. In C. Marx (Ed.), Periplus 2005: Jahrbuch für außereuropäische Geschichte, 15 (pp. 141–172). Münster/Hamburg/London: LIT.Google Scholar
  19. IOR-ARC Secretariat. (2010). Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC): Documents for the Twelfth Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO). Sana’a, Republic of Yemen, Tuesday August 3rd, Wednesday August 4th. Accessed 22 July 2011.
  20. Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines. (2009, June 30). 15th Business Forum of Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) to be held in Yemen. Tehran. Accessed 9 Mar 2011.
  21. ITC – International Trade Centre, Market Analysis and Research. (2011). Trade Map: Trade statistics for international business development. Accessed 12 Sept 2011.
  22. Kéchichian, J. A. (2008). A vision of Oman: State of the Sultanate speeches by Qaboos Bin Said, 1970–2006. Middle East Policy, 15(3), 112–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kelegama, S. (2000). Open regionalism in the Indian Ocean: How relevant is the APEC model for IOR-ARC? Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, 5(3), 255–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Knowledge Oasis Muscat. (n.d.). A technology park. Muscat.Google Scholar
  25. Krause, R. F. (1993). Orient, Naher und Mittlerer Osten: Die Begriffe im Wandel der Zeit. Geographische Rundschau, 45(1), 4–9.Google Scholar
  26. Lewis, M. W., & Wigen, K. E. (1997). The myth of continents: A critique of metageography. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  27. McGuire, G. (2003). Barriers to trade in Indian Ocean rim countries. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Accessed 25 July 2005.
  28. McPherson, K. (1993). The Indian Ocean: A history of people and the sea. Delhi/New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Ministry of Information, Sultanate of Oman. (2008). Oman 2008–2009. Muscat: Ministry of Information.Google Scholar
  30. MoFA – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sultanate of Oman. (1996). Speech of his Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said on the occasion of the 26th National Day. Accessed 11 Sept 2011.
  31. Mohamedbhai, G. (2008). Mauritius. In D. Teferra & J. Knight (Eds.), Higher education in Africa: The international dimension (pp. 262–302). Chestnut Hill/Accra: Boston College Center for International Higher Education & Association of African Universities.Google Scholar
  32. MoNE – Ministry of National Economy, Sultanate of Oman. (2008). Statistical yearbook 2008 (Issue 36). Muscat. Accessed 4 Mar 2009.
  33. MoNE – Ministry of National Economy, Sultanate of Oman. (2010). The statistical year book 2010 (Issue 38). Muscat. Accessed 22 Mar 2011.
  34. MoNE – Ministry of National Economy, Directorate General of Economic Statistics, Sultanate of Oman. (2011). Foreign investment 2005–2009 (5th issue). Muscat. Accessed 6 Aug 2011.
  35. Ociped – The Omani Centre for Investment Promotion and Export Development. (2009a). Solid value: Goods from the Sultanate of Oman. Muscat: Ociped.Google Scholar
  36. Ociped – The Omani Centre for Investment Promotion and Export Development. (2009b). Market studies. A collection of document files on USB-Stick, presented by Ociped [Muscat].Google Scholar
  37. Porter, I. W. (1997). The Indian Ocean rim. African Security Review, 6(6). Accessed 2 Mar 2009.
  38. Reddy, J. M. (2000). Overview. In J. M. Reddy (Ed.), Trade and investment: Issues in the Indian Ocean rim (pp. 1–20). New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Private Ltd.Google Scholar
  39. Salalah Port Services Co. (n.d.). The Port of Salalah – Your Gateway to the Indian Ocean rim countries. Muscat/Salalah.Google Scholar
  40. Salalah Port Services Company SAOG. (1998). Rewriting the history of an important ancient trade route. Muscat/Salalah.Google Scholar
  41. SFZ – Salalah Free Zone. (n.d.). Investor guide: One free zone. Many amazing advantages. Muscat/Salalah.Google Scholar
  42. Shand, R., & Kalijaran, K. P. (1997). Yamazawa’s open economic association: An Indian Ocean grouping for economic cooperation. The Developing Economies, 35(1), 3–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Singh, M. (2011, August). Take off stage. Oman Economic Review. h Accessed 16 Sep 2011.
  44. Soesastro, H. (1998). “Offener Regionalismus” im asiatisch-pazifischen Raum. In H. W. Maull (Ed.), Regionalismus in Asien Pazifik (pp. 7–58). Bonn: DGAP.Google Scholar
  45. Tiwari, S. K. (2004). Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC): Problems and prospects. Delhi: Abhijeet Publications.Google Scholar
  46. UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (1990, October 30). Address by Mr Federico Mayor, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) at the ceremony to launch the Maritime Route Expedition of the Unesco integral study of the silk roads: Roads of dialogue. DG/90/39. Venice. Accessed 17 Mar 2010.
  47. Vines, A., & Oruitemeka, B. (2008). India’s engagement with the African Indian Ocean rim states. London: Chatham House, Africa Programme Paper 1/08. Accessed 4 Mar 2009.
  48. Werlen, B. (2000). Alltägliche Regionalisierungen unter räumlich-zeitlich entankerten Lebensbedingungen. Informationen zur Raumentwicklung, 9(10), 611–621.Google Scholar
  49. Wippel, S. (2010). Between the Arab world and the Indian Ocean: Dimensions of Oman’s economic regionalisation. Leipzig: Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Sciences of the Research Academy Leipzig.Google Scholar
  50. Wippel, S. (2011, July 7). Globalisation, regionalisation and economic change in Salalah (Oman). Paper, Gulf Research Meeting 2011, Workshop 5: Modernization and socio-economic changes in the Gulf Arabic cities. The Gulf Research Centre, University of Cambridge, Cambridge (in preparation).Google Scholar
  51. Wriggins, H. W. (1992). The dynamics of regional politics: An orientation. In H. W. Wriggins & F. G. Gause III, et al. (Eds.), Dynamics of regional politics: Four systems in the Indian Ocean rim (pp. 1–21). New York/Oxford: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar

Internet Links

  1. Accessed 18 Mar 2010.
  2. Accessed 12 Sept 2011.
  3. Accessed 3 Oct 2010.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO)BerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations