The workshop “Improving Oman – Italy SME’s Partnership and Cooperation”, organized by the Mediterranean Institute for Asia and Africa (ISMAA) in collaboration with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), was held this morning on an oline platform. The workshop was attended by important guests, including Italian Ambassador to Oman S.E. Federica Favi, Omani Ambassador to Italy S.E. Ahmed S. M. Baomar, former Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ugo Intini and Maurizio Barnaba, president of ISMAA, as well as several political authorities and members of the business community of both countries.
The Mediterranean Institute for Asia and Africa aims at promoting and sustaining economic, political, and cultural cooperation between Italy and other countries in Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean region, strengthening the internationalization of the Italian economic system through a network of bilateral agreements and institutional partnership, with a special focus on Small and Medium Enterprises.
As Secretary General of ISMAA, Vincenzo Valenti, said in his opening speech, the workshop aimed at reviving relations between the two countries after the shock caused by the pandemic: a first opportunity to promote lasting cooperation, with the objective of supporting the economic reform process the Sultanate recently initiated. “Considering on the one hand the successful story of Italian SMEs and their know-how appreciated all over the world, and on the other hand the growing importance of SMEs in Omani economy, cooperation is a win-win situation”.
The Chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, S.E. Rheda Juma Al Saleh, stressed that economic relations between the two countries are excellent: bilateral trade has been constantly increasing and Italy is now Oman’s third European partner. “We are aware of the experience and advanced technology that Italian SMEs possess. There is a common desire for increased cooperation, and we see room for it, also thanks to the stimulus plan recently approved by Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq”.
The Ambassador of Oman to Italy, Ahmed Baomar, remarked Oman’s desire for increased cooperation not only in the economic field but also on cultural matters and tourism. Italian Ambassador to Oman Federica Favi underlined that, during an international economic crisis, no one is saved alone. In her opinion, the workshop was well-timed because the Sultanate has only recently undertaken a series of economic reforms, included in the Vision 2040 plan, that aim at diversifying the economy and strengthening the private sector.
“I am convinced that Italy is the perfect partner for Oman” – concluded Ms. Favi. “The structure of both economies is based on SMEs and Italy can offer high levels of know-how and technology, as well as a good deal of experience in the internationalization of SMEs”.
As today’s event demonstrated, there is great opportunity in enhanced cooperation between two countries that, despite appearances, have many things in common, including the structure of their economies, their geographical position as the crossroad between different regions and ancient cultures deeply connected to the sea.