The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU PhD student Javier Jileta leads the conceptualisation of a Prosperity Atlas for Mexico

13 July 2022

Congratulations to DPU PhD student Javier Jileta who, in his appointment as Head of Investment Promotion at the Mexican Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led the conceptualisation of a Prosperity Atlas for Mexico with UN Habitat and UN Industrial Development Organisation.

Aerial photo of shipping containers

Based on his PhD research he has been conducting on the study of Mexican state-level GDP, it became clear that there was a disconnect between global economic opportunities and the availability of resources to enable growth and community development. With a view that it is critical to set clear roles for the government to act as a platform to facilitate investment that generates benefits for local communities, several sectors were selected. These included agro-economy to pharmaceuticals, and generated evidence of areas of the country not previously thought as prone to economic or social development.

The Atlas focused on five prosperity corridors of crucial assets of the Mexican economy and urban settlements. The aim was to generate industrial policy that has an urban justice approach. Javier notes that industrial development generates value but without being able to generate change for local communities, it is pointless. The Atlas therefore supports future industries whilst bearing in mind Mexico’s local communities and urban asset distributions. While industrial enclaves have been typical in Mexico and primarily prosperous in the north, there was little that linked clear clusters of urban settlements to global value chains.

Javier observed that, while the Atlas is consistent with the political discourse of President López Obrador, the global discourse for industrial development in Mexico was adverse. Therefore, the Atlas had to provide relevant data that could draw investment and investors into seeing viable opportunities. A key point about the Atlas is that it uses all national accounting systems and global value chain measurements to link them towards territorial development. That is, seeking to develop more equal and prosperous communities in Mexico as the priority that investment for GDP growth should sustain. It has helped the 32 local ministers of the economy to question what their policies for economic development of urban settlements. This novel form of empowerment contrasted strongly with the norm of Federal government determining the agenda and led to several local economic promotion agencies forming that prioritise prosperity for local communities.

For more details see https://unhabitat.org/un-habitat-and-unido-partner-with-mexico-for-novel-urban-planning-perspectives


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