Earlier this year, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley won a second term in office by a landslide after restoring economic stability during her first term. Prime Minister Mottley has become the de facto spokesperson for small island states that are the hardest hit by climate change. During her recent intervention at the United National General Assembly, Mottley urged world leaders to “use the power of the pen” and impose natural disaster and pandemic clauses in developing countries’ debt, as well as remove the current barriers to accessing financial assistance from multilateral development banks. The prime minister spoke extensively about the need to reform the aging global financial architecture to better reflect today’s realities, for instance making it easier for climate-stricken countries to access capital.
Prime Minister Mottley often pushes the leaders of larger nations to recognize their contributions to climate change and their responsibility to help combat its disastrous effects, especially in smaller island nations. As such, in September 2022, Barbados became the first country to reach a staff-level agreement on access to long-term IMF funds aimed to build resilience against climate change (IMF). The country has experienced significant financial, ecological, and health crises in the past decade and incurred significant debts from managing the consequences of COVID-19 and climate change disasters.
How will access to long-term lending help Barbados strengthen its financial and economic infrastructure to better withstand both physical threats of climate change and shifting global financial conditions? What lies ahead as the country continues its fight against COVID-19? The Georgetown Americas Institute is pleased to welcome the Honorable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime MInister of Barbados, for a discussion on the challenges and opportunities ahead for Barbados. The event will be moderated by GAI Founding Director Alejandro Werner.
Read the event summary here.
The Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Q.C., M.P., became Barbados' eighth and first female prime minister on May 25, 2018. Prime Minister Mottley was elected to the Parliament of Barbados in September 1994 as part of the new Barbados Labour Party Government. Prior to that, she served as one of two opposition senators between 1991 and 1994. One of the youngest persons ever to be assigned a ministerial portfolio, Prime Minister Mottley was appointed minister of education, youth affairs and culture from 1994 to 2001. She later served as attorney general and deputy prime minister of Barbados from 2001 to 2008 and was the first female to hold that position. Prime Minister Mottley is an attorney-at-law with a degree from the London School of Economics, specializing in advocacy. She is also a barrister of the Bar of England and Wales. In 2002, she became a member of the Local Privy Council. She was also admitted to the Inner Bar, becoming the youngest ever Queens Counsel in Barbados.
Alejandro Werner is the founding director of the Georgetown Americas Institute and a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute. He recently completed almost nine years as director of the Western Hemisphere Department at the International Monetary Fund. Prior to that appointment, he was undersecretary of finance and public credit in Mexico’s Finance Ministry and held several positions in that ministry and the Central Bank. He also taught at leading universities in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in economics from ITAM.