Muscat, 25 December 2017

Muscat National Development and Investment Company (ASAAS) is organising its annual knowledge sharing workshop on “Economic Development and Diversification: Why & How?” on 27th December 2017 between 9am and 4:30pm. The one-day workshop is part of ASAAS’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme “Intelligence Talks” and will be hosted at the new Crowne Plaza at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event is expected to attract more than 200 key decision-makers and policy-makers from both government and private sectors from across the country. As ASAAS acts as a catalyst for the economic diversification, this workshop aims to reinforce our vision and raise awareness on this important topic. “For the continued progress of Oman’s economic development and growth, it is important in the current economic climate that all stakeholders in the country are aligned and collaborate with each other in a meaningful manner so economies of scale and scope are achieved. ASAAS truly believes in collaboration with both private and public institutions to assist the government in successful diversification of the economy” commented CEO of ASAAS, Eng. Khalid Al Yahmadi.

The workshop will be delivered by Dr Raed Safadi, a renowned economic expert and currently the Chief Economic Advisor to Dubai Department of Economic Development. Prior to his current position, Dr Safadi was the Deputy Director and the Chief Trade Economist for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), where he was responsible for developing policies and strategies in agriculture, trade and development. Dr Safadi was also the Chief Economist for the Government of Dubai where he was entrusted to define the economic pillars in Dubai’s Strategic Plan 2015 and to shield its economy from the global economic crisis. He also built and implemented the first ever macro-economic model for Dubai. Previously, Dr Safadi spent 5 years with the World Bank as a Senior Economist. “ASAAS is pleased to have a renowned and experienced personnel deliver this workshop for us and we are thankful to Dr Safadi for accepting our invitation” commented the COO of ASAAS, Mohammed Al Ghufaili.

The daylong workshop will be divided into three sessions. Session 1 will set the scene by exploring the fundamental principles of economics, and the driving forces behind development and diversification with a particular focus on natural, resource-based economies. Session 2 will discuss policy options and approaches to growth and diversification drawing on practical case studies of different countries that have successfully managed their transition away from natural resources and toward a diversified economic base. The third and last session will take a deep dive into Oman’s Ninth Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020), and the policy levers that will support the realization of its vision. On this occasion, Dr Safadi commented: “The importance of economic diversification cannot be overemphasized. It is the key to unlock an economy’s path towards sustainability, resilience and growth. It requires realigning incentives for workers and firms that, in turn, necessitates strong government leadership and deep and continuous engagement between government, industry, labor, and foreign investors. This workshop seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the Sultanate’s efforts in this area by taking a deep dive into the most critical aspects in the economic transformation plans underway in Oman.”


Muscat National Development and Investment Company (ASAAS) was founded in 2014 through the concerted efforts of 10 key government entities. The company aims to increase the economic contributions of the non-oil and gas sectors by identifying new opportunities and intelligent solutions that meet public needs and enrich the quality of life of people in Oman.

ASAAS’ business strategies challenge the status quo by adopting a holistic approach to deliver sustainable economic returns and impactful social value through the integrated development of core sector supply chains. Over the next five to ten years, the company will be collaborating with public and private players in the areas of tourism, logistics, retail, transportation, healthcare and education to develop a diverse portfolio of projects valued at approximately OMR 1 Billion.

These will include hotels, Mixed-Use developments with residential and commercial components as well as theme parks to name but a few; all of which will contribute to the country’s diversification strategy and connect people to the national agenda. One of ASAAS’ anchor projects is Oman’s first budget airline, which is anticipated to advance the country’s tourism and aviation sectors.