The UK has signed a new sovereign investment partnership (SIP) with Oman, focused on driving high-value investment in both countries.
Based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UK’s Office for Investment (OFI) and the Oman Investment Authority (OIA), the deal aims to identify and support commercial investments in areas such as clean energy and technology.
Such sectors are already an important part of the UK’s £1 billion per year trading relationship with Oman, but the SIP aims to further expand the value of trade between the two countries.
The signing of the agreement follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s meeting with the Omani Sultan Haitham bin Tarik al Said at Downing Street in December, where they discussed enhancing the bilateral relationship between the UK and Oman.
UK and Oman – a rich history in trade
UK companies have a long history of investment in Oman, with foreign direct investments from the UK accounting for nearly 50% of the foreign investment into Oman in Q4 2020.
As a sign of this growing partnership, UK waste-to-energy pioneer Greenfuels has partnered with Oman’s 44:01 and other local stakeholders to form Wakud International, a joint venture which has invested around $2 million into its Oman-based operations since last year.
Wakud’s biorefinery at Khazaen Economic City in Oman is the first solar-powered biodiesel plant in the world.
It will eventually process 20 tonnes per day of used cooking oil collected from restaurants and food processing establishments into European-standard biodiesel, for local consumption as road fuel, and for export to the UK and EU.
Expansion out of Oman into the wider Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will begin this year, and the partnership has already created new jobs in the region.
It comes as the UK and the GCC, of which Oman is a member, prepare to formally launch talks over a new free trade agreement.
Negotiations are expected to start this year, with a future deal set to boost links in areas such as investment and services.