France and the Sultanate of Oman maintain a good partnership, based on a shared vision for regional security and the conviction that conflicts are resolved through dialogue, in accordance with international law, and in multilateral forums.
The relationship between our two countries is long-standing and there have been no historical disputes.
The Secretaries-General of the French and Omani Foreign Ministries meet regularly as part of bilateral strategic dialogue (most recently in Paris in March 2019). A France-Oman joint commission on economic and cultural issues meets every two years or so.
There are 700 French nationals on the consular register.
The French Minister of Defence, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, visited Oman in September 2016, and met his Omani counterpart in Paris on 16 January 2018. Mr Yusuf bin Alawi, Omani Minister with responsibility for Foreign Affairs, met Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in Paris in September 2019.
- Ambassador of France to Oman: Mr Renaud Salins
- Ambassador of Oman to France: H.E. Sheikh Dr Ghazi bin Said bin Abdullah Al-Bahr Al-Rawas
Bilateral trade between France and Oman stood at €529 million in 2019, up 17.3% on the previous year. This growth stems both from a rise in exports (16% year-on-year, to €424 million in 2019), still driven by the aviation sector, and from an increase in French imports, to €105 million (22.8% rise), due to increased French purchases of refined petroleum products and coke (82% of French imports). In this context, our trade surplus with Oman grew by 13.9% in 2019, to stand at €319 million (as against €280 million a year earlier). Oman now represents France’s 29th-largest trade surplus.
Despite the increase in trade in 2019, France’s market share continues to fall in the long term, dropping from 2.4% in 2002 to 0.7% over the first eleven months of 2019 (25th place), behind the United Arab Emirates (43.3%), China (7%), India (5.3%) and our major European competitors, Germany (2.2%), the United Kingdom (1.9%) and Italy (1.8%).
In terms of investment, France is a leading economic player in Oman, where it has a significant market share in electricity and water, waste management, oil and gas, security, logistics, retail and corporate services. Some 40 French companies are established in Oman, including Air Liquide, Axa, Carrefour, CMA-CGM, Engie, Idemia, JCDecaux, Newrest, Schneider Electric, Sodexo, Suez, Thales, Total and Veolia.
Cultural exchanges and heritage are key to our cooperation with Oman. The country is seeking to development its cultural tourism attractiveness (four UNESCO World Heritage Sites and eight on the Tentative List).
France supports the Sultanate’s efforts to promote its heritage, with the creation of exhibition exchanges, promotion of artistic exchanges, and support to archaeological missions, and the gradual establishment of the French Centre for Archaeology and Social Sciences (CEFAS) in recent years.
Educational cooperation is also fruitful, particularly as regards the teaching of French, which has been introduced in several pilot schools for the end of secondary education. The number of French-speakers is estimated at between 20,000 and 30,000. The Omani-French Centre (CFO) receives 500 French learners in each session.
The promotion of university exchanges and student mobility are also priorities of our cooperation, with the implementation of mobility programmes funded by the Omani Government and the activities of Campus France (study grants).
The Lycée Français de Mascate (LFM) French school in Muscat, under contract with the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE), has seen pupil numbers double in five years, and has relocated to a new site with modern, high-quality infrastructure.
Updated: September 2020