Regional policymakers must grapple with how the political and economic systems that they plan to sustain with today’s debt can meet tomorrow’s obligations.
Robert Mogielnicki is a resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. An expert in the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa, he previously served as a senior analyst with the Siwa Group and head of public relations and marketing for Oxford Strategic Consulting, a United Kingdom/Gulf Cooperation Council-focused research consultancy. Prior to his consulting career, he worked as a journalist covering political and economic developments in post-revolutionary Egypt and Tunisia. His work and commentary on the region have appeared in Foreign Policy, Bloomberg, Axios, Forbes, Reuters, Financial Times, The Banker, The Washington Post, Vox, Los Angeles Times, S&P Global, and the Nikkei Asian Review, among other prominent outlets.
Mogielnicki received his PhD from the University of Oxford’s Magdalen College, where he conducted research in conjunction with the Oriental Institute and Middle East Centre. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait, his dissertation examines the political economy of free zones in Gulf Arab countries. He earned his MA in modern Middle Eastern studies from St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, and completed a master’s thesis on labor policy formulation and implementation in the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He received his BA from Georgetown University as a double major in Arabic and government, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Mogielnicki specializes in the intersection of politics and economics across Gulf Arab states. He is particularly interested in how these geostrategic states engage in processes of economic transformation through trade and investment policies, labor market interventions, economic diversification, and technological innovation.
Mogielnicki speaks Modern Standard Arabic and the Egyptian dialect, and possesses a working knowledge of the Tunisian dialect. He is a former recipient of the Sultan Qaboos Arabic Language Scholarship (2007-11) and served as a Critical Language Scholar in Tunisia in 2011. Mogielnicki has lived in the UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, and Jerusalem.
As Gulf Arab policymakers continue to confront an ambiguous future, they will rely heavily on familiar economic policy measures and avoid straying from the status quo as long as possible.
Implementing stronger corporate governance frameworks that apply to regional startups is a good starting point to increase investor confidence in a challenging economic climate.
The coronavirus pandemic and oil price rout have provided China the opportunity to expand its dimensions of economic influence in the Gulf.
Oman’s precarious reliance on energy exports to China and insufficient Chinese investment in non-oil segments of the Omani economy leave the sultanate in a weak position to address urgent economic challenges.
Advancing Oman’s technology initiatives can help the government address economic challenges that have assumed a new degree of urgency following the coronavirus outbreak and oil price collapse.
The global economic slowdown presents Chinese entities with a cost-effective opportunity to expand investments in strategic sectors across the Gulf region.
A tense period in U.S.-Saudi relations has not dissuaded the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund from investing in major U.S. companies during an opportunistic spending spree.
Smart spending on the enhancement of Gulf governments’ digital capabilities and the development of technology-focused industries is needed to bolster future growth.
Abrupt and potentially lasting changes to the Gulf’s air transport sector threaten existing business models over the short and medium terms.