UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


IIPP and Barbados launch new working partnership

8 February 2023

Professor Mazzucato met with Prime Minister Mottley last week to discuss opportunities for sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Barbados.


UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) Director Professor Mariana Mazzucato and the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley met last week to discuss a new working partnership aimed at supporting the development of an ambitious, mission-oriented economic growth path for Barbados. The meeting took place during a weeklong visit from Mazzucato and members of her team at IIPP, organised by the Government of Barbados.

Barbados is already a trailblazer when it comes to navigating a just green transition. Prime Minister Mottley has attracted international attention for her leadership of the ‘Bridgetown Initiative’, which proposes a radical overhaul of the global financial architecture to create more fiscal space for countries in the Global South to tackle climate change. Domestically, the Prime Minister’s plans are no less ambitious.

The collaboration between IIPP and the Government of Barbados will focus on unlocking the potential of Barbados to advance a different type of economic growth – focused on tackling big challenges like climate adaptation and on uniting the country around ambitious goals, or “missions”, that reimagine Barbados’ future.

Barbados was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and is contending with the growing threat of climate change. These crises have shone a spotlight on the importance of new economic thinking, economic diversification and a just green transition. Over the coming months, IIPP will support the Government of Barbados in exploring opportunities to catalyse new forms of investment, innovation, partnership and growth. This could include identifying ambitious and inspiring missions, building capacity in the public service, and designing enabling policy tools.

Barbados’ existing commitments and strengths provide a promising foundation – including its commitment to become the first 100% green and fossil-fuel-free small island state in the world, its geography as a large ocean state (with potential as a logistical hub and for blue economy investments), its emerging life sciences industry and commitments to a safe and healthy future, the potential to align its tourism sector with a just green transition, and commitment to rooting Barbados’ future in a revived sense of Barbadian culture and identity. 

The partnership was kicked off at the beginning of February 2023, with a series of presentations, meetings and discussions with leaders from government, industry, labour and media, providing Professor Mazzucato and her team with the opportunity to listen and learn about Barbados’ unique opportunities and challenges, while sharing preliminary insights based on Professor Mazzucato’s and IIPP’s previous work. 

In a prime example of IIPP’s practice-based theorising approach, this new partnership will build on Transformational change in Latin America and the Caribbean: A mission-oriented approach, a report written by Professor Mazzucato in 2022 for the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The report aims not to set out a definitive pathway for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but to offer a new vocabulary and framework for green industrial strategy in the region, as well as the policies, tools, and institutions to back them up. IIPP’s partnership with Barbados will build from this framework, adapting it to the Barbados context. This partnership also builds on a COP27 event hosted by IIPP and the Scottish Government, which featured Prime Minister Mottley on an all-female panel moderated by Professor Mazzucato, describing what is needed for states to mobilise, direct, and shape finance to align with climate and health goals.

The collaboration between IIPP and Barbados will take shape over the coming weeks.

“Some of the big challenges faced in Barbados today can be translated into opportunities for investment, innovation and growth, with the aim of building a more inclusive and sustainable economy. Prime Minister Mia Mottley has a compelling vision for the country, founded on a new social contract between government, business and labour. IIPP is honoured to be collaborating with the Government of Barbados and its partners in helping to realize this vision,” says Professor Mazzucato. 

Mariana Mazzucato met with Sir Roy Trotman and other Barbadian trade union leaders. “There is nothing inevitable in how we structure our economies. We have agency.”

Upcoming event

Join Prime Minister Mottley and Professor Mazzucato on 21st February 2023 to discuss the bold action needed from states to shape sustainable, inclusive economies and the importance of building capacity internally rather than relying on consultants - picking up on the themes in Professor Mazzucato’s new book The Big Con: How the Consulting Industry Weakens our Businesses, Infantilizes our Governments and Warps our Economies, co-authored with Rosie Collington.

For more information