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April 19, 2024

A Conversation with Minister of Finance of Paraguay Carlos Fernandez

Event Series: Conversations with Leaders

Showing the A Conversation with Minister of Finance of Paraguay Carlos Fernandez Video

The Paraguayan economy has experienced consistent growth over the last two decades. While it is the eighth largest economy in Latin America, as a significant exporter of agriculture, livestock, and hydropowerwhich comprise up to 80% of its direct exportsthe country is vulnerable to external shocks. The country has made progress in poverty reduction; between 2003 and 2022 the poverty rate dropped from 51.4% to 24.7%. However, according to a 2024 World Bank report, Paraguayans continue to experience persistent issues such as underinvestment in public infrastructure, high unemployment rates for young people, high rates of informality in the labor force, and high vulnerability to effects of climate change. 

How is the current Paraguayan administration addressing these issues to continue the country’s path to economic stability and social prosperity? The Georgetown Americas Institute is pleased to host Carlos Fernández Valdovinos, Paraguayan minister of finance, to discuss the current state of economic affairs in Paraguay and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The conversation will be moderated by Alejandro Werner, GAI founding director.


Carlos Fernández Valdovinos has been Paraguay’s minister of finance since 2023. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Universidad Federal do Paraná, Brazil in 1990, a master of science degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1994, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago in 1999. Previously, he was governor of the Central Bank of Paraguay between 2013 and 2018. During his tenure, he received several international awards and recognitions for his work, including Central Bank Governor of the Year 2017 and 2018 by Central Banking Magazine and Central Banker of the Year, Americas 2017 by the Banker Magazine, a publication of the Financial Times. He also served as an economist at the World Bank from 2004 to 2006 and the International Monetary Fund from 2006 to 2013, where he was appointed as the IMF resident representative for Bolivia and Brazil in 2011. In academia Fernández Valdovinos has been a professor in Paraguay at the Universidad Nacional de Asunción and Universidad Católica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. He has also lectured at the University of Chicago, Georgetown University, and Universidad San Andres, Argentina. His extensive publication record includes articles in numerous collective volumes and academic journals. He also has co-authored or edited several books and monographs on the Paraguayan economy.

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 Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).