OBG Event

16 Dec 2010

New guide explores drive to diversify economy as downstream activities gather strength

Brunei Darussalam’s plans to reshape its economy by shifting some of the emphasis from oil and gas to knowledge-based downstream activities are mapped out in a wide-ranging report just published by Oxford Business Group (OBG).

The Report: Brunei Darussalam 2010 provides in-depth coverage of the Sultanate’s aims to boost growth in emerging sectors, such as information and communications technologies (ICT) and Islamic financial services, in keeping with its long-term economic development plan, Wawasan Brunei 2035.

The global publishing, research and consultancy firm’s latest country report was launched on 16th December at the Empire Hotel and Country Club, Jerudong, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The event was attended by around 150 high-profile representatives from the country’s political and business spheres.

OBG’s new report includes a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors, together with
a wide-ranging interview with the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. The publication features key contributions from a number of prominent political, economic and business leaders, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, the Second Minister of Finance Pehin Abdul Rahman Ibrahim and the Minister of Energy Pehin Mohammad Yasmin Umar.

The opinions of high profile international representatives, such as the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Tan Dung, the US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt M Campbell and the Director of the IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Shogo Ishii, are also given coverage.

With a dominant hydrocarbons industry still accounting for nearly half of GDP, The Report: Brunei Darussalam 2010 looks at the Sultanate’s prospects for further exploration which have been bolstered by the end of a border dispute with Malaysia. It assesses the key factors which could play a pivotal part in further expansion within the sector, including the use of new smart field and drilling technologies.

OBG’s new report also charts the rise of Brunei Darussalam’s ICT sector, which is widely expected to be a significant component in the success of both Wawasan 2035 and the country’s e-government initiative. There is comprehensive coverage of the government’s bid to propel the sector forward by offering incentives to smaller businesses aimed at encouraging them to invest in new technology.

Brunei Darussalam’s fast-growing reputation as a centre for Islamic financial services is put under the spotlight in OBG’s 2010 report. The publication provides in-depth analysis of the success which has been generated by the country’s adherence to Sharia compliance and legislative reforms. It also explores the move to give Islam a priority in the education system aimed, in part, at priming Sharia scholars to play an active role in the Sultanate’s financial services sector.

The Report: Brunei Darussalam 2010 looks in detail at the government’s plans to carve out a niche for the country as a hub for medical tourism. It maps out the Sultanate’s efforts to promote the high standard of its health care industry, while analysing data which forecasts a rise in the number of visitors expected over the next few years.

The Report: Brunei Darussalam 2010 has been produced in partnership with the Prime Minister’s Office. Contributions have also been made by Dr Colin Ong Legal Services as OBG’s legal partner and Deloitte and Touche Brunei as its accountancy partner.

Paulius Kuncinas, OBG’s Regional Editor, said that Brunei Darussalam had taken significant steps forward in diversifying its oil and gas industry by ushering in reforms, galvanising industry and boosting exports.

“Brunei has introduced a number of key legislative changes, particularly in Sharia practices, which are extending the reach of Islamic financial services and allowing the country to edge the competition. Similarly, planned reforms to permit application processes should also help the government in its bid to attract investment to the construction industry,” he said. “I am confident that The Report: Brunei Darussalam 2010 has captured these significant developments which are undoubtedly changing the Sultanate’s economic landscape.”

Kuncinas also had words of praise for OBG’s partners who worked with the group’s team in the information-gathering process for The Report: Brunei Darussalam 2010. “Oxford Business Group has long recognised the important role that our partners play in contributing to the groundwork of our reports,” he said. “Our partners in Brunei, who are leaders in their field, have undoubtedly helped us to maintain the highest standards in our new report and provide business leaders around the world with a first-class guide to the country’s heightened economic activity and exciting investment opportunities.”

The Report: Brunei 2010 marks the culmination of more than six months of field research by a team of analysts from OBG, assessing trends and developments in all major sectors of the economy, including energy, industry, finance, banking, tourism, transport and real estate. It will be available in print form and online.