The reshuffling of top officials in Saudi Arabia’s flagship state-owned firms and key ministries underscores the growing authority of the Public Investment Fund.
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 Axios, Forbes Middle East, Al Jazeera’s Inside Story, MEED, Al Bawaba, The National (UAE), Gulf Daily News, Tunisia Live, Egypt Oil and Gas Magazine, and Egypt Daily News.
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.
Despite beginning as a regional policy, the VAT in the Gulf is becoming an increasingly country-focused initiative.
The heightened interest in cryptocurrencies across the Gulf is taking place alongside global efforts to both regulate digital assets and attract cryptocurrency firms.
Despite a large appetite among Gulf Arab states for Chinese investment and trade, the UAE has emerged as China’s primary economic partner in the region.
As fiscal constraints increase, tensions in the Gulf rise, and uncertainties surrounding political transition loom, Oman’s role in the Gulf Arab region could come under pressure.
Gulf Arab states are striving to become tech-driven, knowledge economies, but the digital path ahead is bound to be bumpy.
The strategic implications of interregional engagement between the Gulf and South Asia are becoming clearer and more pronounced.
The economic components of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious transformation, in which local and foreign investments play a pivotal role, ultimately hinge on the government’s ability to improve the transparency of commercial processes.
More spending, low growth, and recurring deficits are not a recipe for long-term economic sustainability, but this concoction may be a necessary pill for Gulf states to swallow as the hard work of economic reform sets in.
Uber’s acquisition of its Dubai-based rival Careem signals a promising new phase for the Gulf’s technology sector.