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Nathalie Cely

Nathalie Cely

Distinguished Fellow

From January 18, 2012 until April of 2013, Nathalie Cely served as the Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States. She then returned to Ecuador to serve as Minister Coordinator of Production of Employment and Competitiveness for a second time until November 2015. One of her key achievements was the approval of a law intended to foster Public-Private Partnerships and to attract FDI into Ecuador, her native country. From May 2009 until November 2011, she was the Coordinating Minister of Production, Employment and Competitiveness. During that time, she headed the Production Policy Council and was responsible for the design and implementation of the Agenda of Competitiveness, Employment and Trade, as well as Infrastructure. During 2010 Cely lead the process of getting legislative approval of the Production and Trade Code, which became the most important instrument to foster private sector investment and modernize several institutions. Results showed a high impact in cost transaction reduction and enhancement in the competitiveness of Ecuador. During her tenure, many successful programs to foster entrepreneurship and innovation were approved such as  Emprende, Innova & Cree Ecuador.


Ambassador Cely served as Ecuador’s Coordinating Minister of Social Development from March 2007 to April 2009, during which time she led the implementation of the Social Agenda, and articulated efforts to transform the education and health sectors. Additionally, she championed socio-economic inclusion policies aimed at integrating training, technological transfer and access to markets to reduce poverty and inequality, enhancing the lives of thousands of Ecuadorians.


An economist, Ambassador Cely worked from 2002-2007 as an international consultant for the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank), the largest source of development financing for Latin America. She consulted on projects such as: designing a strategy for implementing reforms of Suriname’s elementary education system (January-December 2003); preparing reformed lending policies for an IDB Competitive Support Program for Ecuador (April-October 2003); designing an agenda for achieving more efficient and transparent social spending in Guatemala (June–December 2003); designing an action plan and terms of reference for competitiveness reform in Guyana (October-December 2004); designing an action plan for Ecuador’s business climate change (October-December 2004); consulting for the Ecuador Competitiveness Program (April-October 2005); and designing a program to implement a $25 million loan to Enhance Competitiveness of the Bahamas (October 2005-January 2006). During that time, she was president of Edúcate, a foundation that works to enhance the quality of education through the personalization of learning by using information and communication technology. She was also president of Stratega, an organization dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, innovation and the development of micro small and medium enterprises.


Since July 2009, Ambassador Cely has served on the International Advisory Board of the Netherlands Development Organization and she is the author of several articles on economics-related topics. She earned her degree in economics from the Catholic University of Guayaquil in 1990, where she received many important awards, including the Filantrópica in 1985, 1986 and 1987; and the Faculty Economics Award in 1987.


In 2001, she earned a Master’s in Public Administration and a Diploma in Public and Social Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she was an Edward Mason Fellow. She also received the Edward Mason Award for Academic Contributions to the Community. From 2005 to 2008, Cely was a candidate for a Doctorate in Development Economics at the FLACSO (Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences). Her doctoral project was on “Determinants of collective action in the generation of public and club goods to foster export networks.”


Ambassador Cely is married to Iván Hernandez, and has two sons: Iván Jr. and Daniel.

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