Robert Mogielnicki

Resident Scholar

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.

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Oman Jump-Starts Its Slow-Moving Technology Initiatives

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.

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China Strengthens its Presence in Gulf Renewable Energy

The global economic slowdown presents Chinese entities with a cost-effective opportunity to expand investments in strategic sectors across the Gulf region.

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund Goes on a Spending Spree

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.

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As the Gulf’s Digital Economy Accelerates, Speed Bumps Await

Smart spending on the enhancement of Gulf governments’ digital capabilities and the development of technology-focused industries is needed to bolster future growth.

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After Hard Landing, Gulf Aviation Industry Braces for Slow Takeoff

Abrupt and potentially lasting changes to the Gulf’s air transport sector threaten existing business models over the short and medium terms.

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Oil Price War Tests Saudi-Russian Investment Cooperation

The collapse of the OPEC+ production agreement and the ensuing oil price war place pressure on joint investment initiatives spearheaded by Saudi and Russian sovereign wealth funds.

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Oil Outlook, Coronavirus Challenge Gulf’s Economic Diversification

The region’s digital economy is poised to play a greater role in economic diversification strategies as crisis management measures give way to longer-term planning.

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Free to Game: E-sports in the Gulf

Discussions over establishing an e-sports free zone in Dubai reflect the high-growth potential of competitive online gaming across the broader Gulf region.

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Water Worries: The Future of Desalination in the UAE

With few available alternatives for accessing water resources, the UAE is continuing to expand existing desalination facilities and construct new desalination plants.

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Saudi Fund of Funds Bets $1.07 Billion on Small, Local Firms

Saudi Arabia’s new $1.07 billion fund, Jada, aims to redirect investments toward small and medium-sized enterprises in the country’s domestic market.