|6th President of Mauritius|
5 June 2015
|Prime Minister||Anerood Jugnauth
|Vice President||Monique Ohsan Bellepeau
|Preceded by||Monique Ohsan Bellepeau (Acting)|
|Born||(1959-10-17) 17 October 1959
|Spouse(s)||Anwar Fakim (1988–present)|
|Alma mater||University of Surrey
University of Exeter
Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, GCSK CSK had born 17 October 1959. She is a Mauritian biodiversity scientist who has served as the President of Mauritius since 2015. In December 2014, she was selected to be the presidential candidate of the Alliance Lepep. After Kailash Purryag resigned on 29 May 2015, both Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth and Leader of the Opposition Paul Berenger positively welcomed her nomination, which was unanimously approved in a vote in the National Assembly.
One of female presidents in Africa
Gurib-Fakim is the first woman elected President of the country and is the third woman to serve as Head of State following Elizabeth II and Monique Ohsan Bellepeau, who acted as President in 2012 following the resignation of President Anerood Jugnauth, and again in 2015 following the resignation of President Kailash Purryag.
She worked as Managing Director of CIDP Research & Innovation, where she devoted her time to researching the medical and nutritive implications of indigenous plants of Mauritius. Previously, she was a Professor with a personal chair in Organic Chemistry at the University of Mauritius (2001) and where she served successively as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Pro–Vice Chancellor (2004–2010). She also worked at the Mauritius Research Council as Manager for Research (1995–1997). She served as the Chairperson the International Council for Scientific Union – Regional Office for Africa (2011–2014).
Awarded President Gurib Fakim
Gurib-Fakim has also been the recipient of various international awards including the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science (2007), Laureate for the National Economic and Social Council (2007), the CTA / NEPAD / AGRA / RUFORUM for ‘African Women in Science’ and the African Union Award for Women in Science.
She was also made Commander of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (CSK) by President Anerood Jugnauth in 2008 for her contribution in the education and the scientific sector.
She was awarded the Order of the ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques’ by the Government of France in 2009.
Upon becoming President, she was automatically elevated to the highest civilian award of Grand Commander of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (GSCK).
In 2015, she was named the vice-chairman and trustee of the Planet Earth Institute.
Since early 2017, Gurib has been subjected to huge financial contreversy with her relationship with Álvaro Sobrinho who is an African businessman with major allegations about financial fraud and crimes from states including Portugal and Switzerland.
Early life and education
Ameenah Gurib was born in the village of Surinam on 17 October 1959 and her parents Hassenjee Gurib and Firdaus Durgauhee. She grew up in Plaine Magnien and completed her studies at the primary school in Saint-Patrice. She then moved to Mahébourg Loreto Convent, finishing her Higher School Certificate at Loreto convent Quatre Bornes before flying to England for her undergraduate degree in chemistry. She graduated from the University of Surrey in 1983 with a BSc degree in chemistry. After obtaining her PhD degree in organic chemistry at Exeter University, she returned home in 1987 to take employment at the University of Mauritius.
In 1988, she married Dr. Anwar Fakim who is a surgeon. She has two children; a son and a daughter. She is currently resident of the town of Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius. She lives with her husband, children and her elderly parents.
In December 2013 Dr. Gurib-Fakim made a complaint to the Mauritian Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) alleging religious discrimination in the consideration of her application for Vice Chancellor of the University of Mauritius (UoM). The EOC investigation found that this was not the case, but noted shortcomings in the selection process. The report cited the lack of clear criteria and mark sheets for evaluating candidates. Similarly, the last word went to Professor Jugessur, then president of the Council of the UoM if tiebreak.
Gurib-Fakim eventually left her position as Professor at the University to open her own science center known as CIDP Research & Innovation where she is the Managing Director.
Since early 2017, President Gurib has been facing immense controversy due to her relationship with Álvaro Sobrinho who is an African businessman with major allegations about financial fraud and crimes from states including Portugal and Switzerland. There has been repeated allegations of the Portuguese press this week that the Angolan billionaire is suspected of having diverted an amount of about $500 million while he was president of the Banco Espírito Santo Angola (BESA).
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, in a statement to the Mauritian nation, announced that in her capacity as President of the Republic she would write to all relevant institutions in Mauritius, including the Bank of Mauritius, Financial Intelligence Unit, the Financial Services Commission and the Prime Minister’s Office to ask them to investigate all Alvaro Sobrinho’s financial activities and criticisms made through the media.
Gurib was then confirmed to be a Director of the Planet Earth Institute which is a company based in London and which is owned by Sobrinho. She later resigned from the position due to her constitutional post of President. It was declared by Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth on parliamentary questions that Sobrinho had access to the VIP lounge of the SSR International Airport. He had meetings including lunch and rendez-vous with President Gurib.
Furthermore, it was discovered by the press that President Gurib had intervened through the bias of an email that she personally sent to the Financial Services Commission for Sobrinho to obtain a banking license in Mauritius.
Both opposition and some government members of parliament later requested the President to resign as a sign of respect to the office of the Presidency.
Honours and awards
- Commander of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean
- France: Member of the Order of Academic Palms, 3rd Class
- Castroan Royal Family of Two Sicilies: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I
- Mauritius: Laureate for the National Economic and Social Council
Foreign and international awards
- African Union: African Union Award for ‘Women in Science’ (2009)
- African Union: Laureate for the CTA/NEPAD/AGRA/RUFORUM for ‘African Women in Science’ (2009)
- France: Honorary Degree of the Pierre and Marie Curie University
- Jordan: Fellow of the Jordanian Islamic Academy of Science
- Nigeria: Fellow of the African Institute of Science and Technology
- UNESCO: Laureate of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science for Africa
- United Kingdom: Elected Fellow of the Linnean Society of London (2007)
- Aumeeruddy-Elalfi, Z.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Mahomoodally, F. “Antimicrobial, antibiotic potentiating activity and phytochemical profile of essential oils from exotic and endemic medicinal plants of Mauritius”. Industrial Crops and Products. 71: 197–204. doi:10.1016/j.indcrop.2015.03.058.
- Seebaluck, R.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Mahomoodally, F. “Medicinal plants from the genus Acalypha (Euphorbiaceae)–A review of their ethnopharmacology and phytochemistry”. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 159: 137–157. PMID 25446604. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.10.040.
- Rangasamy, O.; Mahomoodally, F. M.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Quetin-Leclercq, J. “Two anti-staphylococcal triterpenoid acids isolated from Psiloxylon mauritianum (Bouton ex Hook.f.) Baillon, an endemic traditional medicinal plant of Mauritius”. South African Journal of Botany. 93: 198–203. doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2014.03.017.
- ElSawy, N. A.; Hadda, T. B.; Bakr, E. H.; Header, E.A.M.; Fakim, A. G.; Mabkhot, Y. N.; Aljofan, M. “Effects of Crude Aqueous Extract of Origanum vulgaris in Developing Ovary of Rabbits Following in Utero, Adolescent and Postpubertal Exposure.”. Vedic Research International Phytomedicine. 2: 73. doi:10.14259/pm.v2i3.142.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Mahomoodally, M. F. “African Flora as Potential Sources of Medicinal Plants : Towards the Chemotherapy of Major Parasitic and Other Infectious Diseases : A Review”. Jordan Journal of Biological Sciences. 6: 77–84. doi:10.12816/0000263.
- Mahomoodally, F. M.; Subratty, A. H.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Choudhary, M. I. “Antioxidant, antiglycation and cytotoxicity evaluation of selected medicinal plants of the Mascarene Islands”. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 12. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-165.
- Mahomoodally, F.; Mesaik, A.; Choudhary, M. I.; Subratty, A. H.; Gurib-Fakim, A. “In vitro modulation of oxidative burst via release of reactive oxygen species from immune cells by extracts of selected tropical medicinal herbs and food plants”. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine. 5: 440–447. doi:10.1016/S1995-7645(12)60075-3.
- Mahomoodally, M. F.; Subratty, A. H.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Choudhary, M. I.; Khan, S. N. “Traditional Medicinal Herbs and Food Plants Have the Potential to Inhibit Key Carbohydrate Hydrolyzing Enzymes In Vitro and Reduce Postprandial Blood Glucose Peaks In Vivo”. The Scientific World Journal. 2012: 1–9. doi:10.1100/2012/285284.
- MAHOMOODALLY, M.; GURIB FAKIM, A.; SUBRATTY, A. H. “INHIBITORY EFFECTS OF A TRADITIONAL ANTIDIABETIC MEDICINAL FRUIT EXTRACT ON THE TRANSPORT OF INORGANIC PHOSPHATE AND D‐GLUCOSE ACROSS RAT EVERTED INTESTINAL SACS‐ POSSIBLE RELATIONSHIP WITH A “CRABTREE EFFECT””. Journal of Food Biochemistry. 36: 107–115. doi:10.1111/j.1745-4514.2010.00504.x.
- Leyssen, P.; Litaudon, M.; Guillemot, J.; Rasoanaivo, P.; Smadja, J.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Canard, B.; Guéritte, F. “PHYTOCHIK: Biodiversity As A Source of Selective Inhibitors of CHIKV Replication”. Antiviral Research. 90: A36–A37. doi:10.1016/j.antiviral.2011.03.048.
- Mahomoodally, M. F.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Subratty, A. H. “Screening for Alternative Antibiotics: An Investigation into the Antimicrobial Activities of Medicinal Food Plants of Mauritius”. Journal of Food Science. 75: M173–M177. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01555.x.
- Mahomoodally, M. F.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Subratty, A. H. “Antimicrobial Activities and Phytochemical Profiles of Endemic Medicinal Plants of Mauritius”.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Gueho, J.; Sewraj-Bissoondoyal, M. “The Medicinal Plants of Mauritius – Part 1”. Pharmaceutical Biology. 35: 237–254. doi:10.1076/phbi.184.108.40.20613.
- Jelager, L.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Adsersen, A. “Antibacterial and Antifungal Activity of Medicinal Plants of Mauritius”. Pharmaceutical Biology. 36: 153–161. doi:10.1076/phbi.220.127.116.1145.
- Dutta, A.; Sarkar, D.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Mandal, C.; Chatterjee, M. “In vitro and in vivo activity of Aloe vera leaf exudate in experimental visceral leishmaniasis”. Parasitology Research. 102: 1235–1242. doi:10.1007/s00436-008-0899-2.
- Mahomoodally, M. F.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Subratty, A. H. “Effect of exogenous ATP on Momordica charantia Linn. (Cucurbitaceae) induced inhibition of D-glucose, L-tyrosine and fluid transport across rat everted intestinal sacs in vitro”. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 110: 257–263. PMID 17092672. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2006.09.020.
- Rangasamy, O.; Raoelison, G.; Rakotoniriana, F. E.; Cheuk, K.; Urverg-Ratsimamanga, S.; Quetin-Leclercq, J.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Subratty, A. H. “Screening for anti-infective properties of several medicinal plants of the Mauritians flora.”. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 109: 331–337. PMID 17011733. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2006.08.002.
- Marie, D.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Gray, A.; Waterman, P. “Constituents of Psiadia terebinthina AJ Scott, an endemic Asteraceae from Mauritius”. Natural Product Research. 20: 1169–1175. doi:10.1080/14786410600898847.
- Gurib-Fakim, A. “Medicinal plants: traditions of yesterday and drugs of tomorrow.”. Molecular Aspects of Medicine. 27: 1–93. doi:10.1016/j.mam.2005.07.008.
- Kotowaroo, M. I.; Mahomoodally, M. F.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Subratty, A. H. “Screening of traditional antidiabetic medicinal plants of Mauritius for possible alpha-amylase inhibitory effects in vitro”. Phytotherapy Research. 20: 228–231. doi:10.1002/ptr.1839.
- Mahomoodally, M. F; Gurib Fakim, A.; Subratty, A. H. “Stimulatory effects of Antidesma madagascariense on D-glucose, L-tyrosine, fluid and electrolyte transport across rat everted intestine, comparable to insulin action in vitro.”. British journal of biomedical science.
- Subratty, A. H.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Mahomoodally, F. “Bitter melon: an exotic vegetable with medicinal values”. Nutrition & Food Science. 35: 143–147. doi:10.1108/00346650510594886.
- Mahomoodally, M. F.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Subratty., A. H. “Experimental evidence for in vitro fluid transport in the presence of a traditional medicinal fruit extract across rat everted intestinal sacs”. Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology. 19: 87–92. doi:10.1111/j.1472-8206.2004.00311.x.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Subratty, H.; Narod, F.; Govinden-Soulange, J.; Mahomoodally, F. “Biological activity from indigenous medicinal plants of Mauritius”. Pure and Applied Chemistry. 77. doi:10.1351/pac200577010041.
- Govinden-Soulange, J.; Magan, N.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Gauvin, A.; Smadja, J.; Kodja, H. “Chemical composition and in vitro antimicrobial activities of the essential oils from endemic Psiadia species growing in Mauritius”. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 27: 1814–1818. doi:10.1248/bpb.27.1814.
- Mahomoodally, M. F.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Subratty, A. H. “Momordica charantia extracts inhibit uptake of monosaccharide and amino acid across rat everted gut sacs in-vitro.”. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 27: 216–218. doi:10.1248/bpb.27.216.
- Besse, P.; DaSilva, D.; Humeau, L.; Govinden-Soulange, J.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; Kodja, H. “A genetic diversity study of endangered Psiadia species endemic from Mauritius Island using PCR markers”. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 31: 1427–1445. doi:10.1016/S0305-1978(03)00131-5.
- Pedersen, O.; Gurib-Fakim, A.; H., Subratty; Adsersen, A.; Figier, J. “Pharmacological Properties of Seven Medicinal Plants of the Rubiaceae from Mauritius”. Pharmaceutical Biology. 37: 202–207. doi:10.1076/phbi.18.104.22.16800.
- Kodja, H.; Robene-Soustrade, I.; L., Humeau; Dulloo, E.; Figier, J.; Govinden-Soulange, J.; Gurib-Fakim, A. “Micropropagation of Psiadia arguta through cotyledonary axillary bud culture”. Plant Growth Regulation. 25: 75–80. doi:10.1023/A:1005913116300.
- Gurib-Fakim, A. “Volatile Constituents of the Leaf Oil of Artemisia verlotiorum Lamotte and Ambrosia tenuifolia Sprengel (Syn.: Artemisia psilostachya auct. non L.)”. Journal of Essential Oil Research. 8: 559–561. doi:10.1080/10412905.1996.9700689.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Sewraj, M.; J., Gueho; Dulloo, E. “Medicinal Plants of Rodrigues”. Pharmaceutical Biology. 34: 2–14. doi:10.1076/phbi.22.214.171.12477.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Bourrel, C.; H., Kodja; Govinden, J. “Chemical Composition of the Essential Oils of Psiadia lithospermifolia (Lam.) Cordem. and P. viscosa (Lam.) A. J. Scott of the Asteraceae Family”. Journal of Essential Oil Research. 7: 533–535. doi:10.1080/10412905.1995.9698579.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Sewraj, M.; F., Narod; Menut, C. “Aromatic Plants of Mauritius: Volatile Constituents of the Essential Oils of Coleus aromaticus Benth., Triphasia trifolia (Burm.f.) and Eucalyptus kirtoniana F. Muell”. Journal of Essential Oil Research. 7: 215–218. doi:10.1080/10412905.1995.9698504.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Demarne, F. “Constituents of the Essential Oil of the Leaves of Pittosporum balfourii Growing in Rodrigues.”. Planta Medica. 60: 584–585. PMID 17236088. doi:10.1055/s-2006-959581.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Demarne, F. “Aromatic Plants of Mauritius: Volatile Constituents of the Leaf Oils of Citrus aurantium L., Citrus paradisi Macfad and Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck”. Journal of Essential Oil Research. 7: 105–109. doi:10.1080/10412905.1995.9698477.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Demarne, F. “Volatile Constituents of Dracaena reflexa Lam. var. angustifolia Baker”. Planta Medica. 6: 651–652. doi:10.1080/10412905.1994.9699363.
- Gurib-Fakim. “Constituents of the Essential Oils from Piper sylvestre Growing in Mauritius.”. Planta Medica. 60: 376–377. PMID 17236059. doi:10.1055/s-2006-959506.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Demarne, F. “Essential Oil of Terminalia bentzoë (L.) L. f. subsp. rodriguesensis Wickens”. Journal of Essential Oil Research. 6: 533–534. doi:10.1080/10412905.1994.9698443.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Sewraj, M.; Gueho, J.; Dulloo, E. “Studies on the Antisickling Properties of Extracts of Sideroxylon puberulum, Faujasiopsis flexuosa, Cardiospermum halicacabum , and Pelargonium graveolens”. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 39: 175–185. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(93)90034-3.
- Gurib-Fakim, A.; Sewraj, M. “Studies on the Antisickling Properties of Extracts of Sideroxylon puberulum, Faujasiopsis flexuosa, Cardiospermum halicacabum , and Pelargonium graveolens”. Planta Medica. 58: 648–649. doi:10.1055/s-2006-961657.
- Plantes médicinales de l’Ile Rodrigues (1994)
- Plantes médicinales de Maurice (1995)
- Natural toxins and poisonous plants of Mauritius (1999)
- Maurice par des plantes médicinales (2002)
- Mauritius through its medicinal plants (2002)
- Molecular and therapeutic aspects of redox biochemistry (2004)
- An illustrated guide to the flora of Mauritius and the Indian Ocean Islands (2003)
- Medicinal Plants of the Indian Ocean Islands (2004)
- Guide illustré de la Flore de Maurice et des îles de l’Océan Indien (2004)
- Biodiversity towards drugs development (2005)
- Booklet on ‘Medicinal Plants at the state House, Le Réduit’ (2005)
- Lesser-known and under-utilised plant resources (2005)
- Ressources végétales méconnues et sous-utilisées (2005)
- Guide illustré de la Flore de Maurice et des îles de l’Océan Indien (2006)
- Medicinal Plants of Mauritius and of the World (2007, 2011)
- Plantes Médicinales de Maurice et d’ailleurs (2007, 2011)
- Plantes d’hier et médicaments d’aujourd’hui (2008)
- Mieux connaitre les Arbres et Arbrisseaux de Maurice et des Iles de l’Ocean Indien(2008)
- Towards a better understanding of Trees and Shrubs of Mauritius and the Indian Ocean Islands (2009)
- African Herbal Pharmacopoeia (2010)
- Guide des Plantes Tropicales de l’Ile Maurice et de La Réunion (2011)
- Trees of the World (2013)