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Saudi Arabia, Oman discuss investment opportunities after unemployment protests

Saudi Arabia, Oman discuss investment opportunities after unemployment protests

Saudi and Omani officials have agreed on creating investment opportunities on Tuesday after mass protests broke out across the sultanate over high unemployment. Omani police launched tear gas at protesters in the northern city of Sohar after sit-ins late last month.

Amid pandemic, Oman faces the highest-ever rate of unemployment, with efforts to placate growing anger of the sultanate’s economic woes.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia supports Oman with financial assistance. This week, Saudi Investment Minister Khaled Al-Falih and Omani Commerce and Industry Minister Qais Al-Yousef participated in the virtual meeting on diversification and investment opportunities.

In its efforts to calm down the situation inside Oman, the government has revised the domestic policy. The talks follow protests in the sultanate, mostly by young Omanis, over high unemployment amid an economic slump caused by low oil prices and the coronavirus epidemic.

It was not clear whether the economic talks were a response to the protests, Reuters reported, but Oman is believed to be looking at possible bail-outs from Gulf states.

Oman’s sultan announced a job creation programme

Sultan Haithem has enacted austerity measures to cope with the economic crisis but such measures have proved unpopular with the populace. After the protests, the Omani ruler announced a job creation programme with more than 30,000 full and part-time opportunities created.

Much of Oman’s efforts in creating jobs for the growing young population have been through the nationalisation of positions occupied by expatriates.