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close this bookBedouins, Wealth, and Change: A Study of Rural Development in the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman (UNU, 1980, 63 pages)
close this folderPART III. Case study: The sultanate of Oman
View the document(introductory text...)
View the document1. An introduction to the new developments in the sultanate of Oman with reference to mobile population groups
View the document2. Changes in the nomad region of Oman
View the document3. Settlement projects in inner Oman, and other measures to develop the rural/nomad region
View the document4. Summary and evaluation of results in the rural/nomad region

4. Summary and evaluation of results in the rural/nomad region

Summary of Results

  1. Up to the time of writing there have been no government policies guiding the development of the rural/nomad area.
  2. The government has opened up numerous opportunities which have made participation in the development of the country by mobile population groups possible.
  3. The nature of this participation differs according to the importance of the individual tribe to the nation's economy.
  4. In general, the following developments can be noted:
  • a decrease in animal husbandry
  • a decrease in the frequency and a reduction in the distance of nomadic movements
  • a transition to permanent housing and settlement
  • an increase in non-pastoral activities, especially outside Oman
  • the introduction of scattered location and lay-out in the housing areas
  • a differentiation, both within tribes and between tribes, of the mobile population on the basis of economic criteria between those for whom the new developments in Oman have had a positive and those for whom they have had a negative effect. The size of each group differs according to tribe (see table 24).

Criteria used in the above evaluation were: type of construction used in housing, means of transportation, nonpastoral labour, women's jewelry, foodstuffs, number of animals owned, ownership of land, number of motorized pumps.


Since changes in the bedouin/nomad area of Oman are recent and are still in progress, a final evaluation cannot be made. In general, however, the government appears to have encouraged the positive participation of all population groups in the modern development of the country. For local and intra-tribal reasons some population groups have been more involved in the changes than others. Further research into this aspect of development would help the Omani government to facilitate decision-making and would contribute to the formulation and realization of specific projects.

TABLE 24. Percentage of the Tribal Population Participating Positively or Negatively in the Modern Economic Development of Oman (as of September 1978)



Tribe Positive Negative/Nil
Duru* 90 10
Afari* 45 55
Jenabah* 40 60
Wahibah* 30 70
Harasis** 5 95
Coastal bedouins** 55 45
Bedouins in Dhofar* * 50 50
Musandam * * 10 90
Oman Mountains* 70 30

Source: * Enquiries and ** estimates by the author in 1974, 1976, 1977, and 1978.

The present study is designed to emphasize the necessity for such interdisciplinary research projects. Such projects must, however, be implemented quickly if the results are to have any practical value.