Exiled to Australia at age 15, she spent 24 years away from East Timor. Good experience for her job as finance minister.
East Timor’s finance minister, Emilia Pires, is nothing if not ambitious for her struggling country, one of the world’s newest and poorest. It’s not enough for East Timor to become something close to viable, ten years after breaking free from a quarter-century of brutal Indonesian military rule. No, the 48-year-old Pires has a bigger idea—no less than membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development, the rich countries club. “Why can’t we aspire to be in the OECD?” she asks. “We just posted 10% economic growth in a financial crisis. We will become the next miracle of Southeast Asia.”