Popularly called Toni, Maria Antonieta Alva, 35-year-old finance minister of Peru, is generous and her tireless work during the pandemic deserves all the praise she has been receiving. This Harvard-trained politician is sending out a fiscal package to small businesses and needy families in the nation during the COVID-19 crisis. Fans in Peru are reportedly hanging her posters with the words ‘courage and dignity’ written on it. Social media too is loving her.

Who is Maria Antonieta Alva

In October 2019, Alva was appointed finance minister of Peru. The decision was made after a cabinet reshuffle that saw a change in more than half of the country’s 19-member cabinet. “From a Latin perspective, Peru is a clear leader in terms of macro response,” said Ricardo Hausmann, a Harvard economist who was Alva’s professor, Economic Times reported.

“You could have imagined a very different outcome if Toni weren’t there,” Hausmann said about mitigating the effects of coronavirus. Since the outbreak, Alva has been rigorously working to save virus-hit Peru as it’s in a devastating state despite an early severe lockdown.

“She’s very good at communicating and that’s become much more important in the current context,” said Carlos Oliva, Alva’s predecessor.

Alva is the only woman in a group of millennial finance ministers in the region, alongside Argentina’s Martin Guzman (37), Juan Ariel Jimenez (35)from the Dominican Republic  and 39-year-old Richard Martinez in Ecuador.

Alva became Peru’s economy and finance minister last October – the youngest woman to hold the position.

Alva made a mark in the cabinet when first joined Peru’s finance ministry in 2010. She had freshly graduated in economics from the Universidad del Pacifico in 2008 and later went on to obtain a scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard University in 2014.

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How Alva is connected to India

For two months Alva was in India studying educational opportunities for girls. She returned to Peru after her voyage in the developing country and joined her country’s education ministry. She went on to become the head of its planning and budget department.

She became budget chief to finance ministry and headed a team of more than 150 people. “She’s prudent, hardworking and well-liked at the finance ministry,” former finance ministry official Pablo Secada had said of Alva last year.

“She’s very good at communicating and that’s become much more important in the current context,” said Carlos Oliva, Alva’s predecessor.

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Feature Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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