According to Booz and Company, countries in the GCC region would benefit greatly from cross-border trade and investment, as well as from a single common currency.
The Ideation Centre, the company’s Middle East think tank, recently stated that any progress made so far is a result of individual efforts instead of a coordinated effort of the region.
Hatem Samman of Ideation Centre said “There has been progress but more could be done to bring more benefits. There is still a lot of focus on the individual but if you complement that with an integrated view, it will do the region good.”
According to the report, the 2010 withdrawal “of the UAE and Oman from the proposed common currency is a major setback to its creation. It is difficult to imagine a monetary union and currency regime that excludes two of the GCC’s members.”
Still, despite the common currency issue, cross-border trade and international investment have been growing in the GCC countries, including Oman.
Just recently, the Oman-India Investment Fund Muscat announced its plans to expand a number of its projects. According to HE Anil Wadhwa, trade between the two countries has surpassed $4.5 billion.
“We have registered impressive growth if you look at the figures for bilateral trade in 2006 which were less than $750 million. India ranked as the fifth largest source of imports into Oman. In 2010, India ranked second among the destinations of Omani non-oil exports and third among the top destinations of Omani crude oil exports,” Wadhwa said. He added that imports between the two countries are continuing to grow.