President Gurib-Fakim: A Woman With An “Agenda”

Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

By She Leads Africa magazine — AFRICA’s  newest female President, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, has stressed the need for Africa to invest in young people,  if Africa was to become a knowledge-based continent.

“We must invest in equipping our people with the skills they need to thrive.” She said, adding: “They must be problem solvers; job creators; innovators.”

She told the audience at the launch of the “Her Excellency Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim PhD Scholarship Programme,” that “We must not fail our young people.”

The PhD Programme is a PEI and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiative in partnership with the African Academy of Sciences.

President Gurib-Fakim said the programme was about offering “a new and exciting opportunity for Mauritian researchers.” It is also to take a further step towards “Africa taking its rightful place as a leader in global science race,” she said.

Starting with Mauritius as a laboratory the programme is expected to scale up across Africa to support young entrepreneurs as well as the development of research critical to the future of Africa.

I have come here with science technology agenda…an agenda to promote entrepreneurship…to promote think tanks.

Mrs Gurib-Fakim became Africa’s newest female Head of State in June 2015. She is the 6th ceremonial head of state of the Republic of Mauritius and the first woman to hold the office in the Indian Ocean island nation.

Shortly after coming into office, she told BBC Africa Business Report in an interview that she had come to the highest office with an agenda.  “I have come here with science technology agenda, I have come here with an agenda to promote entrepreneurship and I have come here to promote think tanks.”

Africa is a continent with huge youth dividend, she had said. Explaining that “Africa is perhaps the only continent welcoming about 11 million graduates every year to the market.”

The President said: “There was no way any government will be able to produce that many jobs.” Her agenda therefore, was to push for youth entrepreneurship in agriculture and science among others.

Africa and Elected Women leaders

When ask why Africa in 2016 is still struggling with the idea of elected women leaders President Gurib-Fakim talked about what should be the priority for women who find themselves in the highest office.

“When you are in a position, being it the Prime Minister or being it at the level of President, you should be able to take the gender component out. Because (in) this position you need to be driven with result, you need to be able to show accountability, you need to be able to show at the end of the day that you have left a legacy.”

President Gurib-Fakim heads one of the richest and least corrupt nations in Africa. Her challenge will be how to use her expertise in science to better the lives of the people of Mauritius.

Prior to Becoming President

President Gurib-Fakim was the Managing Director of Centre for Phytotherapy Research, which researches into plants for use in cosmetics, nutrition and therapy. As a scientist, her focus has been on research to produce safe plant-based medicines to combat common ailment like diarrhea and infectious diseases.

The University of Exeter and University of Surrey alumni was chair of organic chemistry at University of Mauritius.

She was the former pro vice chancellor of University of Mauritius and has worn many accolades. She was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 2007. And she also received the L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award for Africa. In 2013, she was elected Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.

Photo Credit: facebook profile

Related Posts