Emília Pires was Timor-Leste's Minister of Finance from 2007 to 2015 under the leadership of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. In July 2012, Ms. Pires was appointed by the Secretary-General of United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, to the 26-member High-level Panel of Eminent Persons advising the United Nations on the post 2015 global development agenda.
In 1975 Emilia Pires left Timor-Leste for Australia as a refugee, with her parents, brothers and sisters. At the time, she and her family believed they would be able to return after only a few days. However, exile lasted for 24 years before Pires was able to return to Timor-Leste.
As Minister of Finance, Ms. Pires expanded decentralization to expedite service delivery, pioneering one of the first fragile and post conflict countries to go from negative growth rates to three years of average double digit economic growth making Timor-Leste one of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world between 2008 and 2011.
Before becoming Minister of Finance, Ms. Pires held senior positions with the World Bank as Senior Aid Management Specialist in West Bank and Gaza; and the United Nations, as Senior Advisor to the Timor-Leste Ministry of Planning and Finance.