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Oman vs. Saudi Arabia

Introduction

OmanSaudi Arabia
BackgroundThe inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered from Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, the nascent sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, although the Sultanate never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al-Said overthrew his father, and has since ruled as sultan, but he has not designated a successor. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world, while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK and US. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with its neighbors and to avoid external entanglements. Inspired by the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa beginning in January 2011, some Omanis staged demonstrations, calling for more jobs and economic benefits and an end to corruption. In response to those protester demands, QABOOS in 2011 pledged to implement economic and political reforms, such as granting legislative and regulatory powers to the Majlis al-Shura and increasing unemployment benefits. Additionally, in August 2012, the Sultan announced a royal directive mandating the speedy implementation of a national job creation plan for thousands of public and private sector Omani jobs. As part of the government's efforts to decentralize authority and allow greater citizen participation in local governance, Oman successfully conducted its first municipal council elections in December 2012. Announced by the Sultan in 2011, the municipal councils have the power to advise the Royal Court on the needs of local districts across Oman's 11 governorates. The Sultan returned to Oman in March 2015 after eight months in Germany, where he received medical treatment. He has since appeared publicly on a few occasions.
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded in 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman Al SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. One of his male descendants rules the country today, as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwait became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country in 2003. Major terrorist attacks in May and November 2003 spurred a strong ongoing campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism.
From 2005 to 2015, King ABDALLAH incrementally modernized the Kingdom. Driven by personal ideology and political pragmatism, he introduced a series of social and economic initiatives, including expanding employment and social opportunities for women, attracting foreign investment, increasing the role of the private sector in the economy, and discouraging businesses from hiring foreign workers. Saudi Arabia saw protests during the 2011 Arab Spring but not the level of bloodshed seen in protests elsewhere in the region. Shia Muslims in the Eastern Province protested primarily against the detention of political prisoners, endemic discrimination, and Bahraini and Saudi Government actions in Bahrain. Riyadh took a cautious but firm approach by arresting some protesters but releasing most of them quickly and by using its state-sponsored clerics to counter political and Islamist activism.
The government held its first-ever elections in 2005 and 2011, when Saudis went to the polls to elect municipal councilors. In December 2015, women were allowed to vote and stand as candidates for the first time in municipal council elections, with 19 women winning seats. King SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud ascended to the throne in 2015 and placed the first next-generation prince, MUHAMMAD BIN NAIF bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, in the line of succession as Crown Prince. He designated his son, MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, as the Deputy Crown Prince. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia led a coalition of 10 countries in a military campaign to restore the government of Yemen, which had been ousted by Huthi forces allied with former president ALI ABDULLAH al-Salih. The war in Yemen has led to civilian casualties and shortages of basic supplies, which has drawn considerable international criticism. In December 2015, Deputy Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN announced Saudi Arabia would lead a 34-nation Islamic Coalition to fight terrorism (it has since grown to 41 nations). In January 2016, Saudi Arabia executed 47 people on charges of terrorism, including Shia Muslim cleric NIMR al-Nimr. Iranian protesters overran Saudi diplomatic facilities in Iran to protest al-NIMR’s execution and the Saudi government responded by cutting off diplomatic ties with Iran.
The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds about 16% of the world's proven oil reserves as of 2015. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification, particularly since Saudi Arabia's accession to the WTO in 2005, and promotes foreign investment in the Kingdom. In April 2016, the Saudi government announced a broad set of socio-economic reforms, known as Vision 2030. Low global oil prices throughout 2015 and 2016 significantly lowered Saudi Arabia’s governmental revenue. In response, the government cut subsidies on water, electricity, and gasoline; reduced government employee compensation packages; and announced limited new land taxes. In coordination with OPEC and some key non-OPEC countries, Saudi Arabia agreed cut oil output in early 2017 to regulate supply and help elevate global prices.

Geography

OmanSaudi Arabia
LocationMiddle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and the UAE
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen
Geographic coordinates21 00 N, 57 00 E
25 00 N, 45 00 E
Map referencesMiddle East
Middle East
Areatotal: 309,500 sq km
land: 309,500 sq km
water: 0 sq km
total: 2,149,690 sq km
land: 2,149,690 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparativetwice the size of Georgia; slightly smaller than Kansas
slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US
Land boundariestotal: 1,561 km
border countries (3): Saudi Arabia 658 km, UAE 609 km, Yemen 294 km
total: 4,272 km
border countries (7): Iraq 811 km, Jordan 731 km, Kuwait 221 km, Oman 658 km, Qatar 87 km, UAE 457 km, Yemen 1,307 km
Coastline2,092 km
2,640 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climatedry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south
harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes
Terraincentral desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south
mostly sandy desert
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 310 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal Shams 2,980 m
mean elevation: 665 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper
Land useagricultural land: 4.7%
arable land 0.1%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 4.5%
forest: 0%
other: 95.3% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 80.7%
arable land 1.5%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 79.1%
forest: 0.5%
other: 18.8% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land590 sq km (2012)
16,200 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardssummer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in interior; periodic droughts
frequent sand and dust storms
volcanism: despite many volcanic formations, there has been little activity in the past few centuries; volcanoes include Harrat Rahat, Harrat Khaybar, Harrat Lunayyir, and Jabal Yar
Environment - current issuesrising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; limited natural freshwater resources
desertification; depletion of underground water resources; the lack of perennial rivers or permanent water bodies has prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - noteconsists of Oman proper and two northern exclaves, Musandam and Al Madhah; the former is a peninsula that occupies a strategic location adjacent to the Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river; extensive coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal
Population distributionthe vast majority of the population is located in and around the Al Hagar Mountains in the north of the country; another smaller cluster is found around the city of Salalah in the far south; most of the country remains sparsely poplulated
historically a population that was mostly nomadic or semi-nomadic, the Saudi population has become more settled since petroleum was discovered in the 1930s; most of the economic activities - and with it the country's population - is concentrated in a wide area across the middle of the peninsula, from Ad Dammam in the east, through Riyadh in the interior, to Mecca-Medina in the west near the Red Sea

Demographics

OmanSaudi Arabia
Population3,355,262 (July 2016 est.)
note: immigrants make up over 40% of the total population, according to UN data (2015)
28,160,273 (July 2016 est.)
note: immigrants make up more than 30% of the total population, according to UN data (2015)
Age structure0-14 years: 30.14% (male 518,600/female 492,782)
15-24 years: 19.11% (male 336,310/female 304,871)
25-54 years: 43.41% (male 843,531/female 613,004)
55-64 years: 3.91% (male 69,904/female 61,248)
65 years and over: 3.43% (male 56,816/female 58,196) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 26.56% (male 3,835,472/female 3,644,041)
15-24 years: 18.85% (male 2,843,422/female 2,465,027)
25-54 years: 46.4% (male 7,401,654/female 5,663,769)
55-64 years: 4.86% (male 747,307/female 620,100)
65 years and over: 3.34% (male 478,244/female 461,237) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 25.4 years
male: 26.5 years
female: 24 years (2016 est.)
total: 27.2 years
male: 27.9 years
female: 26.2 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.05% (2016 est.)
1.46% (2016 est.)
Birth rate24.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
18.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate3.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
3.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-0.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.38 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.14 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.99 male(s)/female
total population: 1.19 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.31 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.21 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.05 male(s)/female
total population: 1.19 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 13.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 13.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 15.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 75.5 years
male: 73.5 years
female: 77.5 years (2016 est.)
total population: 75.3 years
male: 73.2 years
female: 77.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.84 children born/woman (2016 est.)
2.11 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.16% (2014 est.)
NA
Nationalitynoun: Omani(s)
adjective: Omani
noun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian
Ethnic groupsArab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African
Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS2,400 (2014 est.)
NA
ReligionsMuslim 85.9%, Christian 6.5%, Hindu 5.5%, Buddhist 0.8%, Jewish <0.1%, other 1%, unaffiliated 0.2% (2010 est.)
note: Omani citizens represent approximately 60% of the population and are overwhelming Muslim (Ibadhi and Sunni sects each constitute about 45% and Shia about 5%); Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists accounting for roughly 5% of Omani citizens
Muslim (official; citizens are 85-90% Sunni and 10-15% Shia), other (includes Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh) (2012 est.)
note: despite having a large expatriate community of various faiths (more than 30% of the population), most forms of public religious expression inconsistent with the government-sanctioned interpretation of Sunni Islam are restricted; non-Muslims are not allowed to have Saudi citizenship and non-Muslim places of worship are not permitted (2013)
HIV/AIDS - deathsless than 100 (2014 est.)
NA
LanguagesArabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
Arabic (official)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.1%
male: 93.6%
female: 85.6% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.7%
male: 97%
female: 91.1% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 15 years (2015)
total: 16 years
male: 17 years
female: 15 years (2014)
Education expenditures5% of GDP (2013)
5.1% of GDP (2008)
Urbanizationurban population: 77.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 8.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 83.1% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 95.5% of population
rural: 86.1% of population
total: 93.4% of population
unimproved:
urban: 4.5% of population
rural: 13.9% of population
total: 6.6% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 97% of population
rural: 97% of population
total: 97% of population
unimproved: urban: 3% of population
rural: 3% of population
total: 3% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 97.3% of population
rural: 94.7% of population
total: 96.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2.7% of population
rural: 5.3% of population
total: 3.3% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationMUSCAT (capital) 838,000 (2015)
RIYADH (capital) 6.195 million; Jeddah 4.076 million; Mecca 1.771 million; Medina 1.28 million; Ad Dammam 1.064 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate17 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
12 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures3.6% of GDP (2014)
4.7% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.54 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
2.57 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density1.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)
2.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate26.5% (2014)
33.7% (2014)
Contraceptive prevalence rate29.7% (2014)
23.8% (2007)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 30
youth dependency ratio: 26.7
elderly dependency ratio: 3.4
potential support ratio: 29.8 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 45.9
youth dependency ratio: 41.7
elderly dependency ratio: 4.2
potential support ratio: 24 (2015 est.)

Government

OmanSaudi Arabia
Country name"conventional long form: Sultanate of Oman
conventional short form: Oman
local long form: Saltanat Uman
local short form: Uman
former: Sultanate of Muscat and Oman
etymology: the origin of the name is uncertain, but it apparently dates back at least 2,000 years since an ""Omana"" is mentioned by Pliny the Elder (1st century A.D.) and an ""Omanon"" by Ptolemy (2nd century A.D.)
"
"conventional long form: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
conventional short form: Saudi Arabia
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Arabiyah as Suudiyah
local short form: Al Arabiyah as Suudiyah
etymology: named after the ruling dynasty of the country, the House of Saud; the name ""Arabia"" can be traced back many centuries B.C., the ancient Egyptians referred to the region as ""Ar Rabi""
"
Government typeabsolute monarchy
absolute monarchy
Capitalname: Muscat
geographic coordinates: 23 37 N, 58 35 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Riyadh
geographic coordinates: 24 39 N, 46 42 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions11 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafaza); Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Buraymi, Al Wusta, Az Zahirah, Janub al Batinah (Al Batinah South), Janub ash Sharqiyah (Ash Sharqiyah South), Masqat (Muscat), Musandam, Shamal al Batinah (Al Batinah North), Shamal ash Sharqiyah (Ash Sharqiyah North), Zufar (Dhofar)
13 provinces (mintaqat, singular - mintaqah); Al Bahah, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah (Northern Border), Al Jawf, Al Madinah (Medina), Al Qasim, Ar Riyad (Riyadh), Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern), 'Asir, Ha'il, Jazan, Makkah (Mecca), Najran, Tabuk
Independence1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)
23 September 1932 (unification of the kingdom)
National holidayNational Day, 18 November; note - coincides with the birthday of Sultan QABOOS, 18 November (1940)
Saudi National Day (Unification of the Kingdom), 23 September (1932)
Constitutionhistory: promulgated by royal decree 6 November 1996 (the Basic Law of the Sultanate of Oman serves as the constitution); amended by royal decree in 2011
amendments: promulgated by the sultan or proposed by the Council of Oman and drafted by a technical committee as stipulated by royal decree and then promulgated through royal decree; amended in 2011 (2016)
history: 1 March 1992 - Basic Law of Government, issued by royal decree, serves as the constitutional framework and is based on the Qur'an and the life and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad
amendments: proposed by the king directly or proposed to the king by the Consultative Assembly or by the Council of Ministers; passage by the king through royal decree; Basic Law amended many times, last in 2005 (2016)
Legal systemmixed legal system of Anglo-Saxon law and Islamic law
Islamic (sharia) legal system with some elements of Egyptian, French, and customary law; note - several secular codes have been introduced; commercial disputes handled by special committees
Suffrage21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military and security forces by law cannot vote
21 years of age; male; male and female for municipal elections
Executive branchchief of state: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said (sultan since 23 July 1970 and prime minister since 23 July 1972); note - the monarch is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said (sultan since 23 July 1970 and prime minister since 23 July 1972)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
elections/appointments: members of the Ruling Family Council determine a successor from the sultan's extended family; if the Council cannot form a consensus within 3 days of the sultan's death or incapacitation, the Defense Council will relay a predetermined heir as chosen by the sultan
chief of state: King and Prime Minister SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 23 January 2015); Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 31 August 1985); note - the monarch is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: King and Prime Minister SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 23 January 2015); Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (born 31 August 1985)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch every 4 years and includes many royal family members
elections/appointments: none; the monarchy is hereditary; note - an Allegiance Council created by royal decree in October 2006 established a committee of Saudi princes for a role in selecting future Saudi kings
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral Council of Oman or Majlis Oman consists of the Council of State or Majlis al-Dawla (85 seats including the chairman; members appointed by the sultan from among former government officials and prominent educators, businessmen, and citizens) and the Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (85 seats; members directly elected in single- and two-seat constituencies by simple majority popular vote to serve renewable 4-year terms); note - since political reforms in 2011, legislation from the Consultative Council is submitted to the Council of State for review by the Royal Court
elections: Consultative Assembly - last held on 25 October 2015 (next to be held in October 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; note - organized political parties in Oman are legally banned
description: unicameral Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (150 seats; members appointed by the monarch to serve 4-year terms); note - in early 2013, the monarch granted women 30 seats on the Council
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the 9-member Supreme Judicial Council (chaired by the monarch) and appointed by the monarch; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Administrative Court; Courts of First Instance; sharia courts; magistrates' courts; military courts
highest court(s): High Court (consists of the court chief and organized into circuits with 3-judge panels except the criminal circuit, which has a 5-judge panel for cases involving major punishments)
judge selection and term of office: High Court chief and chiefs of the High Court Circuits appointed by royal decree following the recommendation of the Supreme Judiciary Council, a 10-member body of high-level judges and other judicial heads; new judges and assistant judges serve 1- and 2-year probations, respectively, before permanent assignment
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; Specialized Criminal Court, first-degree courts composed of general, criminal, personal status, and commercial courts; Labor Court; a hierarchy of administrative courts
Political parties and leadersnone; note - organized political parties are legally banned in Oman, and loyalties tend to form around tribal affiliations
none
Political pressure groups and leadersnone
other: gas companies; religious groups
International organization participationABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
ABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BIS, CAEU, CP, FAO, G-20, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Hunaina bint Sultan bin Ahmad al-MUGHAIRI (since 9 November 2005)
chancery: 2535 Belmont Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-1980
FAX: [1] (202) 745-4933
chief of mission: Ambassador KHALID BIN SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since April 2017)
chancery: 601 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 342-3800
FAX: [1] (202) 944-5983
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Marc J. SIEVERS (since 7 January 2016)
embassy: Jamait Ad Duwal Al Arabiyya Street, Al Khuwair area, Muscat
mailing address: P.O. Box 202, P.C. 115, Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos, Muscat
telephone: [968] 24-643-400
FAX: [968] 24-643-740
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Christopher HENZEL (since 20 January 2017)
embassy: P.O.Box 94309, Riyadh 4693
mailing address: American Embassy, Unit 61307, APO AE 09803-1307; International Mail: P. O. Box 94309, Riyadh 11693
telephone: [966] (11) 488-3800
FAX: [966] (11) 488-7360
consulate(s) general: Dhahran, Jiddah (Jeddah)
Flag descriptionthree horizontal bands of white, red, and green of equal width with a broad, vertical, red band on the hoist side; the national emblem (a khanjar dagger in its sheath superimposed on two crossed swords in scabbards) in white is centered near the top of the vertical band; white represents peace and prosperity, red recalls battles against foreign invaders, and green symbolizes the Jebel al Akhdar (Green Mountains) and fertility
"green, a traditional color in Islamic flags, with the Shahada or Muslim creed in large white Arabic script (translated as ""There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God"") above a white horizontal saber (the tip points to the hoist side); design dates to the early twentieth century and is closely associated with the Al Saud family which established the kingdom in 1932; the flag is manufactured with differing obverse and reverse sides so that the Shahada reads - and the sword points - correctly from right to left on both sides
note: the only national flag to display an inscription as its principal design; one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides - the others are Moldova and Paraguay
"
National anthem"name: ""Nashid as-Salaam as-Sultani"" (The Sultan's Anthem)
lyrics/music: Rashid bin Uzayyiz al KHUSAIDI/James Frederick MILLS, arranged by Bernard EBBINGHAUS
note: adopted 1932; new lyrics written after QABOOS bin Said al Said gained power in 1970; first performed by the band of a British ship as a salute to the Sultan during a 1932 visit to Muscat; the bandmaster of the HMS Hawkins was asked to write a salutation to the Sultan on the occasion of his ship visit
"
"name: ""Aash Al Maleek"" (Long Live Our Beloved King)
lyrics/music: Ibrahim KHAFAJI/Abdul Rahman al-KHATEEB
note: music adopted 1947, lyrics adopted 1984
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)khanjar dagger superimposed on two crossed swords; national colors: red, white, green
palm tree surmounting two crossed swords; national colors: green, white
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Oman
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: unknown
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Saudi Arabia; a child born out of wedlock in Saudi Arabia to a Saudi mother and unknown father
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

OmanSaudi Arabia
Economy - overviewOman is heavily dependent on its dwindling oil resources, which generate 84% of government revenue. In 2016, low global oil prices drove Oman’s budget deficit to $11.5 billion, or approximately 19% of GDP. Oman has limited foreign assets and is issuing debt to cover its deficit.

Oman is using enhanced oil recovery techniques to boost production, but has simultaneously pursued a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialization, and privatization, with the objective of reducing the oil sector's contribution to GDP from 46% at present to 9% by 2020 in accordance with Oman’s ninth five-year development plan. Tourism and gas-based industries are key components of the government's diversification strategy.

Muscat also has notably focused on creating more Omani jobs to employ the rising number of nationals entering the workforce. However, high social welfare benefits — that had increased in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring — have challenged the government's ability to effectively balance its budget in light of low export oil prices. In response, Omani officials imposed austerity measures to its gasoline and diesel subsidies in 2016, with further subsidy cuts planned for electricity and liquid petroleum gas. The spending cuts have faced some public opposition, which could hinder their implementation.
Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. It possesses about 16% of the world's proven petroleum reserves, ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 87% of budget revenues, 42% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings.

Saudi Arabia is encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. Over 6 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, particularly in the oil and service sectors; at the same time, however, Riyadh is struggling to reduce unemployment among its own nationals. Saudi officials are particularly focused on employing its large youth population, which generally lacks the education and technical skills the private sector needs.

In 2016, the Kingdom incurred a budget deficit estimated at 13.6% of GDP, which was financed by bond sales and drawing down reserves. Although the Kingdom can finance high deficits for several years by drawing down its considerable foreign assets or by borrowing, it has cut capital spending. Plans to cut deficits include introducing a value-added tax and reducing subsidies on electricity, water, and petroleum products. In January 2016, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN announced that Saudi Arabia intends to list shares of its state-owned petroleum company, ARAMCO - another move to increase revenue and outside investment. The government has also looked at privatization and diversification of the economy more closely in the wake of a diminished oil market. Historically, Saudi Arabia has focused diversification efforts on power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemical sectors. More recently, the government has approached investors about expanding the role of the private sector in the healthcare, education and tourism industries. While Saudi Arabia has emphasized their goals of diversification for some time, current low oil prices may force the government to make more drastic changes ahead of their long-run timeline.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$173.1 billion (2016 est.)
$170 billion (2015 est.)
$164.6 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$1.731 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.711 trillion (2015 est.)
$1.653 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate1.8% (2016 est.)
3.3% (2015 est.)
2.9% (2014 est.)
1.2% (2016 est.)
3.5% (2015 est.)
3.6% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$43,700 (2016 est.)
$44,300 (2015 est.)
$44,300 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$54,100 (2016 est.)
$54,500 (2015 est.)
$53,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 1.7%
industry: 45.4%
services: 52.9% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 2.4%
industry: 42.9%
services: 54.7% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2% (2016 est.)
0.1% (2015 est.)
4.4% (2016 est.)
2.2% (2015 est.)
Labor force968,800
note: about 60% of the labor force is non-national (2007 est.)
12.02 million
note: about 80% of the labor force is non-national (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 21.4%
services: 71.9% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate15% (2004 est.)
11.2% (2016 est.)
11.4% (2015 est.)
note: data are for Saudi males only (local bank estimates; some estimates are as high as 25%)
Budgetrevenues: $20.26 billion
expenditures: $31.55 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $149.7 billion
expenditures: $236.7 billion (2016 est.)
Industriescrude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production; construction, cement, copper, steel, chemicals, optic fiber
crude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals, ammonia, industrial gases, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), cement, fertilizer, plastics, metals, commercial ship repair, commercial aircraft repair, construction
Industrial production growth rate1.5% (2016 est.)
0.6% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsdates, limes, bananas, alfalfa, vegetables; camels, cattle; fish
wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk
Exports$30.39 billion (2016 est.)
$34.43 billion (2015 est.)
$205.3 billion (2016 est.)
$202.3 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiespetroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles
petroleum and petroleum products 90% (2012 est.)
Exports - partnersChina 42.4%, UAE 12%, South Korea 7.4%, Saudi Arabia 5.2% (2015)
China 13.2%, Japan 10.9%, US 9.6%, India 9.3%, South Korea 8.5% (2015)
Imports$25.78 billion (2016 est.)
$28.27 billion (2015 est.)
$157.7 billion (2016 est.)
$155 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
Imports - partnersUAE 38.3%, Japan 6%, India 5.6%, China 5.2%, US 5%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2015)
China 13.8%, US 12.5%, Germany 7%, South Korea 6%, India 4.4%, Japan 4.3%, UK 4.3% (2015)
Debt - external$20.85 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$12.94 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$200.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$169.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesOmani rials (OMR) per US dollar -
0.3845 (2016 est.)
0.3845 (2015 est.)
0.3845 (2014 est.)
0.3845 (2013 est.)
0.3845 (2012 est.)
Saudi riyals (SAR) per US dollar -
3.75 (2016 est.)
3.75 (2015 est.)
3.75 (2014 est.)
3.75 (2013 est.)
3.75 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt18.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
8.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
31% of GDP (2016 est.)
15% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$14.54 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$17.54 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$553.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$616.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$9.783 billion (2016 est.)
-$10.81 billion (2015 est.)
-$24.91 billion (2016 est.)
-$56.72 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$59.68 billion (2016 est.)
$637.8 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$NA
$258.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$250.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
$42.95 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$37.98 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$41.12 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$37.83 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$36.77 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$421.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$483.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$467.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Central bank discount rate2% (31 December 2010)
0.05% (31 December 2009)
2.5% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate5% (31 December 2016 est.)
4.76% (31 December 2015 est.)
7.1% (31 December 2016 est.)
6.9% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$48.49 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$45.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$221.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$134.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$14.24 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$13.96 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$295.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$305.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$40.94 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$39.39 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$513.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$461.2 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues34% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-18.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
-13.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 41%
government consumption: 28.4%
investment in fixed capital: 37%
investment in inventories: -4.7%
exports of goods and services: 49.4%
imports of goods and services: -51.1% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 42.3%
government consumption: 29.6%
investment in fixed capital: 29.5%
investment in inventories: 5.9%
exports of goods and services: 30.7%
imports of goods and services: -38% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving9.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
11.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
27.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
25% of GDP (2016 est.)
26.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
38.3% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

OmanSaudi Arabia
Electricity - production28 billion kWh (2014 est.)
293 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption25 billion kWh (2014 est.)
272 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Oil - production982,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
10.05 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports7,060 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports806,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
7.416 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves5.3 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
269 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves688.1 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
8.489 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production30.9 billion cu m (2014 est.)
102.4 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption22.6 billion cu m (2014 est.)
102.4 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports10.27 billion cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - imports1.97 billion cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2014 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity8.2 million kW (2014 est.)
66 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
99.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production158,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)
1.884 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption160,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
3.141 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports33,450 bbl/day (2013 est.)
1.45 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports14,810 bbl/day (2013 est.)
497,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy69 million Mt (2013 est.)
594 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 100,000
electrification - total population: 98%
electrification - urban areas: 99%
electrification - rural areas: 93% (2013)
population without electricity: 200,000
electrification - total population: 98%
electrification - urban areas: 99%
electrification - rural areas: 93% (2013)

Telecommunications

OmanSaudi Arabia
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 434,932
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 3,746,906
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 6.647 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 202 (July 2015 est.)
total: 52.796 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 190 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: modern system consisting of open-wire, microwave, and radiotelephone communication stations; limited coaxial cable; domestic satellite system with 8 earth stations
domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership both increasing with fixed-line phone service gradually being introduced to remote villages using wireless local loop systems
international: country code - 968; the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and the SEA-ME-WE-3 submarine cable provide connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat (2015)
general assessment: modern system including a combination of extensive microwave radio relays, coaxial cables, and fiber-optic cables
domestic: mobile-cellular subscribership has been increasing rapidly
international: country code - 966; landing point for the international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and for both the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable networks providing connectivity to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and US; microwave radio relay to Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, and Sudan; coaxial cable to Kuwait and Jordan; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (3 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region) (2015)
Internet country code.om
.sa
Internet userstotal: 2.438 million
percent of population: 74.2% (July 2015 est.)
total: 19.32 million
percent of population: 69.6% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast media1 state-run TV broadcaster; TV stations transmitting from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen available via satellite TV; state-run radio operates multiple stations; first private radio station began operating in 2007 and 2 additional stations now operating (2007)
broadcast media are state-controlled; state-run TV operates 4 networks; Saudi Arabia is a major market for pan-Arab satellite TV broadcasters; state-run radio operates several networks; multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)

Transportation

OmanSaudi Arabia
Roadwaystotal: 60,230 km
paved: 29,685 km (includes 1,943 km of expressways)
unpaved: 30,545 km (2012)
total: 221,372 km
paved: 47,529 km (includes 3,891 km of expressways)
unpaved: 173,843 km (2006)
Pipelinescondensate 106 km; gas 4,224 km; oil 3,558 km; oil/gas/water 33 km; refined products 264 km (2013)
condensate 209 km; gas 2,940 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,183 km; oil 5,117 km; refined products 1,151 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Mina' Qabus, Salalah, Suhar
container port(s) (TEUs): Salalah (3,200,000)
LNG terminal(s) (export): Qalhat
major seaport(s): Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jeddah, Yanbu al Bahr
container port(s) (TEUs): Ad Dammam (1,492,315), Jeddah (4,010,448)
Merchant marinetotal: 5
by type: chemical tanker 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 3
registered in other countries: 15 (Malta 5, Panama 10) (2010)
total: 72
by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 25, container 4, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 20, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 7
foreign-owned: 15 (Egypt 1, Greece 4, Kuwait 4, UAE 6)
registered in other countries: 55 (Bahamas 16, Dominica 2, Liberia 20, Malta 2, Norway 3, Panama 11, Tanzania 1) (2010)
Airports132 (2013)
214 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 13
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
total: 82
over 3,047 m: 33
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 27
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 4 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 119
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 51
914 to 1,523 m: 33
under 914 m: 26 (2013)
total: 132
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 72
914 to 1,523 m: 37
under 914 m: 16 (2013)
Heliports3 (2013)
10 (2013)

Military

OmanSaudi Arabia
Military branchesSultan's Armed Forces (SAF): Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman (al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Sultanat Oman) (2013)
Ministry of Defense: Royal Saudi Land Forces, Royal Saudi Naval Forces (includes Marine Forces and Special Forces), Royal Saudi Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Malakiya as-Sa'udiya), Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, Royal Saudi Strategic Rocket Forces, Ministry of the National Guard (SANG) (2015)
Military service age and obligation18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP12.75% of GDP (2016)
14.58% of GDP (2015)
11.8% of GDP (2014)
15% of GDP (2013)
8.61% of GDP (2012)
13.5% of GDP (2015)
10.7% of GDP (2014)
9% of GDP (2013)
7.7% of GDP (2012)
7.25% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

OmanSaudi Arabia
Disputes - internationalboundary agreement reportedly signed and ratified with UAE in 2003 for entire border, including Oman's Musandam Peninsula and Al Madhah exclave, but details of the alignment have not been made public
Saudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the now fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities; Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue discussions on a maritime boundary with Iran; Saudi Arabia claims Egyptian-administered islands of Tiran and Sanafir
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 5,000 (Yemen) (2017)
refugees (country of origin): 30,000 (Yemen) (2017)
stateless persons: 70,000 (2016); note - thousands of biduns (stateless Arabs) are descendants of nomadic tribes who were not officially registered when national borders were established, while others migrated to Saudi Arabia in search of jobs; some have temporary identification cards that must be renewed every five years, but their rights remain restricted; most Palestinians have only legal resident status; some naturalized Yemenis were made stateless after being stripped of their passports when Yemen backed Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait in 1990; Saudi women cannot pass their citizenship on to their children, so if they marry a non-national, their children risk statelessness

Source: CIA Factbook