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Saudi fund agrees $67m deal to support Omani SMEs

Officer, Person, Adult Saudi Press Agency via Reuters
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, right, receives Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, upon his arrival to Muscat, Oman, in 2021
  • Deal with Oman Development Bank
  • Finance for startups and youth employment
  • Part of a $150m support package

The Saudi Fund for Development in Oman has signed an OR 25 million ($67 million) deal with the Oman Development Bank to finance startups and create more jobs for the sultanate’s youth.

The agreement is part of a wider $150 million package of support provided by the Saudi government through the fund, which offers loans to owners of self-employment enterprises.

“The agreement aims at generating more employment opportunities for Omani youth by providing soft financing for economic and social development projects,” according to a report by the state-run Oman News Agency.

It follows a similar funding deal announced by the Saudi Fund for Development in Oman last September provide $53 million for small and medium enterprises in the sultanate.  

Saudi-Omani ties have improved since Sultan Haitham bin Tariq took power in 2020, signing a pact on closer cooperation during his first foreign trip to Riyadh in 2021. 

In June, the countries’ tourism ministers said they were looking at the possibility of a joint tourist visa. The following month, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund signed a memorandum of understanding to invest up to $5 billion in Oman.

With oil and gas still providing almost 80 percent of total public revenue, Oman remains more vulnerable to global oil price swings than its wealthier Gulf Cooperation Council neighbours.

In January this year the sultanate launched a $5.2 billion fund to encourage more investment in local small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Research by the venture capital firm Wamda found startups in the Gulf state raised $4.8 million in eight deals last year, a year-on-year increase of 39 percent.

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