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Kessler, Ph.D.

Principal Associate, Chief of Party, International Development

Timothy Kessler is an international development professional with more than 12 years of experience in project management, competitiveness and competition, financial access for small business, private sector innovation, government transparency and stakeholder engagement. His expertise is a rare combination of policy-focused project management, academic training, and international experience that makes him highly effective in assisting government and nongovernmental organizations to improve competitiveness.
Kessler joined Abt in 2008, serving as chief of party (COP) for USAID's Mexico Competitiveness Program, where he managed program efforts to foster improved governance to increase economic competitiveness and strengthen institutional capacity of federal and state programs to promote innovation and SME (small and medium enterprise) development. He has been COP of the USAID Mexico Economic Policy Program since April 2013, working with national and state-level governments on SME innovation, competition policy, streamlining business regulation, and digital government. Kessler has worked closely with the Mexican government’s principal economic, regulatory, and environmental organizations, as well as with numerous states and municipalities. He has extensive experience with diverse partners, including USAID, counterpart agencies, and more than 100 subcontractors, in reaching mutual agreement about goals for maximum programmatic impact.
Prior to joining Abt, Kessler served as COP of USAID’s Greater Transparency and Accountability Project, guiding the program's transition from a focus on citizen responsiveness to economic competitiveness. For two years he managed the creation and development of two important Mexican policy networks: the Red Mexicana de Energia and Red PyME. Kessler also managed USAID's capacity-building initiative with Mexico's Federal Competition Commission. His career has included management of a World Bank research project in Mexico on watershed management and the production of an Inter-American Development Bank-financed book on the North American Free Trade Agreement.


  • Project management in competitiveness programs
  • International development – Mexico
  • Private sector development and business innovation
  • Economic competition
  • Natural resource management
  • Value chain development
  • Environmental policy, renewable energy, climate change
  • Language: Spanish (fluent)

Key Projects

  • Mexico Economic Policy Program, USAID
  • Mexico Competitiveness Project, USAID

Selected Publications

  • Apoyando la innovación de las PyMEs: El estado del arte. (Co-Editor) Fundación IDEA and USAID. 2008.
  • Lecciones del TLCAN para Centroamerica. Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo, A.C. 2007.
  • Assessing the Risks in the Private Provision of Essential Services, G-24 Discussion Paper Series, No. 31, Inter-Governmental Group of Twenty-Four, United Nations, October 2004.
  • “The Millennium Development Goals in an Unaccountable Global Order,” Global Future, 1st Quarter, 2004.
  • “From Social Contract to Private Contracts: A Review of Privatization Experiences,” in The Poor and the Market: Social Watch Report 2003. Social Watch, Montevideo, Uruguay. 2003.
  • “Causes and Consequences of the Mexican Peso Crash,” in Riordan Roett (ed.) Latin American Currency Crises of the 1990s. Brookings Press. 2000.
  • Global Capital and National Politics:Reforming Mexico’s Financial System. Praeger. 1999.