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Middle East - Evolving Approaches to an Increasingly Multi-Polar Economic World

The Southern Talks #8 - Full Webinar

Transnational - Socio Economic - Format: Video - Size: 0 Bytes - Date: May, 2024 - Pages: - Copyright: NATO Strategic Direction South HUB - Tags: Economy, Resilence, Policy

The Southern Talks #8

Middle East: Evolving approaches to an 

increasingly Multi-Polar Economic World 

Our esteemed guest, Dr. Robert Mogielnicki, a political economist, specializing in the political and economic trajectories of Gulf Arab states, China-MENA relations, and regional technology trends, began by offering his vast knowledge and perspectives. Dr. Mogielnicki began by introducing BRICS, the key aspects of the Middle East and North Africa's political economy and the widely diverging economic trajectories of MENA states, and the key motivations behind recent MENA government engagement with new economic/security partners. 

Dr. Mogielnicki then went on to discuss some of the key entities and policy tools used by MENA governments in what they perceive as an increasingly multipolar world, what the MENA region's biggest economic risks and opportunities are and how NATO can proactively engage with MENA governments and other prominent actors in the region.


  • As regards recommendations to NATO concerning proactive engagement with MENA governments and other prominent actors in the region, the focus could be on cyber-security in support and capacity building and safeguarding critical infrastructure, including desalinisation.
  • There is no comparison between US investment and any other. China would have the 2nd highest, and Russia’s is insignificant.
  • Saudi Arabia and other ME countries tend to balance their competing priorities, hedging their bets by not putting all their eggs in the one basket. This justifies signing agreements such as BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement etc, while still making sure not to distance themselves too much from Western collaboration and aid.
  • Viewing the economic world as an ever-growing, multi-polar environment, provides a greater degree of agency and leads to many MENA countries opening their doors to a wider group of economic partners, cherry-picking to best suit their interests.
  • In the economic sphere, countries coming out of conflict situations, possibly with weak governance (e.g. Egypt and Yemen), can rarely be considered in the same vein as those who are stable and focusing on social and economic growth.
  • Special Economic Zones are becoming a more frequent way to tweak economic conditions to increase partnering opportunities.
  • Considering the economic domain without balancing it with political considerations is not fruitful. Thus, a Political Economy approach is required nowadays.
  • Despite recent references to a new BRICS currency, the likelihood of it going ahead and/or having substantial effect is slim.
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