Appointed the first female leader of Mauritius on June 5, 2015, President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim may be Africa’s No. 1 voice in support of developing African science and research.
In her work as a biodiversity scientist, Gurib-Fakim wrote more than 28 scientific books that sold worldwide and are used as reference by students and researchers. She holds an honorary doctorate from Pierre and Marie Curie University — formerly known as the Sorbonne. She is also an honorary professor at Pretoria’s University of South Africa (UNISA).
She achieved many firsts in a male-dominated environment including first female professor at the University of Mauritius and first female dean of the faculty of science, serving from 2004 to 2010.
She oversaw preparation of the first inventory of aromatic and medicinal plants in Mauritius, providing scientific analysis of a number of plant alternatives to medicines for use against fungal diseases and diabetes.
Now she’s using the visibility of her name and presidency to lead the call for more investment in science and research by African governments.