North Africa and Southwest Asia are very important geographical and economic regions in the world. Egypt is the 3rd largest economy in Africa, while countries in the southwest Asia are particularly Oman are major oil producing nations. Egypt has a population of 82 million and more than 70% of its region is part of the Sahara desert. This makes water availability a crucial factor to the population. The management and utilization of the water facilities is critical to Egypt and the Middle East. On the other hand, since the discovery of oil in Oman in 1960 the country has heavily relied on oil to run its economy. This strategy is not viable in the long run. It may have dire consequences to both Omani’s and the global fraternity.
Majority of Egyptians live along the Nile. The availability of water has resulted into the establishment of urban centers along the Nile River and the Nile delta. The increased rural to urban migration, has resulted loss of vital farm farmland to human settlement. The Nile is the life line of Egypt. Safeguarding the Nile waters is what prompted the British government in east Africa during colonial time to sign the Nile treaty which restricted the use of the Lake Victoria (the source of river Nile). The construction of the Aswan high dam reduced frequent flooding regularly featured in Egypt. Agriculture is a major sector in Egypt. Improved technology has resulted to more food production and consequently a shift by farmers from the native small scale subsistence farming to a commercial farming on a large scale basis.
Oman is an Arab state southwest Asia. It is ruled by a sultan. Oman currently relies on oil and gas exports to run its economy. Petroleum products on average account for over 40% of GDP. Consequently, its citizens enjoy good living standard. However, there is doubt on the long-term sustainability of oil to run the economy. The oil reserve is likely to get depleted in the future. This impending harsh reality is what oil producing are facing. The need for diversifying and seeking other avenues for revenue is vital for economic balance and sustainable growth. The Oman has put forward a vision 2020 which emphasis on the great need for diversification. In 1988, the government formulated the Omanization policy. This policy aimed at replacing expatriate workers with trained Omani personnel. The Sultanate of Oman set quotas for various industries to reach in terms of the percentage of foreigners to Omani. This protectionist strategy has provided jobs to the local Omani improving people’s income capacities. Oman being an Arab state embraces the sharia laws which greatly demean the role of women in various societal roles. There was the establishment of Omani Women’s Association in 1970. These, however resulted to the emancipation of women as the organization educates and trains women so that they can secure good and competitive jobs.
Both Egypt and Oman play a vital role in the world economy. The success and prosperity of these two countries will have numerous ripple effects. The diversification of the Oman economy will make the economy flexible. They should take lessons from Dubai which invested on tourism as an alternative source of revenue. The success of Oman in the diversification of its economy will bring a sense of stability in the Arab world. It may result to peace in other Arab countries such as Syria which has been recently been in a brink of civil war. Egypt plays a key role in the world map. It is a favorite tourist attraction since it has a rich history. The Suez Canal is major financial link between Europe, Africa and Asia.