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Oman’s public sector reform risks brain drain

By letting go of thousands of foreign experts, Oman risks losing the know-how central to achieving economic diversification.
General view of old Muscat the day after Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said was laid to rest in Muscat, Oman, January 12, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike - RC2FEE93ZHFJ

“Slimming the government apparatus is one of the prime initiatives in the Vision 2040,” public policy analyst Ahmed al-Mukhaini told Al-Monitor. In his capacity within the national development strategy, he contributed to Oman’s latest reform: the contracts of 70% of foreign experts and consultants working in civil and government units will not be renewed

The move is arguably one of Oman’s boldest labor market reforms in recent years. Tackling a long-standing dependence on foreign workers is key to reforming the poorly diversified rentier economy. Yet in the short-term their know-how comes in handy to drive the transition.

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