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04 Jun 2015 16:44
President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is an internationally renowned scientist and biologist.
On June 1 the government of Mauritius named Ameenah Gurib-Fakim as the Indian
Ocean island nation’s new president. Her appointment was approved by Parliament
on Thursday and her inauguration is expected to take place on Friday.
Gurib-Fakim becomes Mauritius’s first female president, the third on the African continent.
& Guardian Africa made contact with the incoming
president via LinkedIn.
about her priorities, she said that she aims to create a high-income economy and create opportunities for her people.
strongly believe that science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are
the ingredients that will help advance this vision.
will become the only current African president who did not dabble in politics
beforehand. She is an internationally renowned scientist and biologist,
describing herself on Twitter as a “Professor, Managing Director at Cephyr,
Chemist, Gardener, Photographer and Writer of books on the flora of the
tropics, medicinal plants”.
was the chair in organic chemistry at the University of Mauritius and served successively as dean of the faculty of science and pro vice-chancellor
with the university.
has co-authored more than 20 books and contributed to nearly 80 publications on
the use of African medicinal plants.
has led a number of projects supported by international agencies
such as the United Nations, the European Union and the Canadian Development
Agency. She is an adviser to the International Science Foundation of Sweden and a member of the scientific committee of the international programme in chemical
sciences at the University of Uppsala. She is an expert consultant on
infectious diseases for Unicef, the United Nations Development Programme, World
Bank and the World Health Organisation.
how she became involved in politics, she said: “I did not choose politics but
politics chose me.” She went on to explain that “the party [Lepep] wanted
someone who had never dealt in the political arena, who had credibility
locally and internationally to occupy a post which is meant to be apolitical.
So I presume I fit the profile.
“Mauritius operates in an increasingly globalised
world and faces the same challenges that many other countries face. However, we
have some good experiences and practices of living together that we can
‘export’ to the world. We have also shown that even without natural resources,
we can still make it.”
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