Oman and the Indian Ocean Rim – Economic Integration Across Conventional Meta-Regions
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.
KeywordsIndian Ocean Foreign Direct Investment Trade Intensity Arab World Gulf Cooperation Council
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