President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim who was appointed as the first female President in Mauritius on the 5th of June 2015 has called on African Governments to invest more in scientific research.
Speaking from her home country, Gurib-Fakim highlighted the recent Ebola outbreak as a signal that shows that Africa isn’t well developed in the areas of science and research. The shortage of clinical scientists, epidemiologists and diagnostics laboratories to survey and curtail the disease have had a devastating impact also on West Africa.
She also spoke on the disconnection between policy and research in Africa also stressing the climate change impacts on the continent although it contributes below 3 percent to the carbon emissions in the world.
One of the cons of this oversight has been a brain drain in the region. Many talented Africans have left to greener pastures in the West. The need to provide an enabling environment, and to prevent this drain of talent, is high on government agenda. In Mauritius, the government is enacting policies and providing incentives like a 10-year tax holiday for those who return.
Currently, it is tough for African scientists who have chosen to stay behind. They are forever fighting to secure funding to further their ideas and research activities. We need to ensure that funding from international partners complements government funding. Investing local funding will ensure that the research done in Africa helps to meet the continent’s pressing needs. It would also help to ensure the sustainability of programmes after donor funding has dried up. Then trained young scientists can also be assured of a brighter future.
African governments must join hands with strong and credible international partners to invest in local research. Without funding and the necessary regulatory environment and policies, the benefits of the scientific results emanating from research work won’t be harvested.
It is worthy of note that she is a researcher in biodiversity where she excelled excellently in a field dominated by men. She is known to be the first female Professor of the University of Mauritius, in the same University, she became the first female dean of the faculty of science, serving from 2004 to 2010.