Modern states /
Sultanate of Oman
Independent monarchy, sultanate, in Asia, with 3.4 million inhabitants (2009 estimate; census of December 1, 1993 counted 2.0 million) and an area of 309,500 kmē. The capital is Musqat, which is the centre of the country's largest continous urban settlement.
Administratively, Oman is divided into 6 regions, called mintaqa.
Oman's national holiday is the birthday of the sultan, November 18, 1940. There is no day of independence, as Oman has been independent since the middle of the 17th century.
Head of state is Sultan Qaboos ibn Said, who also is Prime minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Finance.
The government of Oman is called Council of Ministers, and has a Deputy Prime minister, a Special Adviser to the sultan, 24 ministers, 2 governors and 3 Secretary-Generals.
Parliamentary functions are handled by two bodies. The Consultative Council is made up of 82 members, who are chosen by the sultan from nominees selected at national polls. The Council of State is made up of 41 members, all appointed by the sultan. The authorities of the two councils are somewhat overlapping.
Oman is a country of mountains and desert with scattered, small regions where cultivation is possible.
Oman is no. 7 among MENA countries on the Human Development Index, coming in modestly as no. 56 of the 182 states that are ranked in the world. On a scale with 1.000 as maximum, Oman gains 0.846 points.
The currency of Oman is the rial (OMR). It is semi-convertible, and it has had a fixed exchange rate to the US $ dollar since 1986.
Oman's economy is among the last emerging in Arabia, good efforts are put into developing the country, but was deep into the 1970's one of the most isolated in the world, culturally and technically. The GDP per capita at US$20,200 (2008 estimate) is 90% above world average, and the same as in Saudi Arabia. Unemployment at 15% and while there is no data on population below poverty line, Oman has not yet developed structures that include each citizen in the modern wealth.
Omani health care has been developed to reach all citizens, but less money is spent on health care and life expectancy is shorter than in neighbouring states.
Omani school system is yet under development, and Oman scores lower than many other MENA countries. Still, Oman has in short time been able develop higher institutions of elite standards.
Centuries of trade has made the Omani population multi-cultural. Oman is also one of only two countries with non-Arab peoples native to Arabia.
Diversity is even larger with languages than it is with people groups. Oman has several small and unique languages.
Oman is the only country in the world dominated by Ibadi Islam.
Oman remains a country with very high fertility rate and high population growth.
Oman has always been part of important trade routes, but it is first in the 20th century that national history begins for true.