Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

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Ameenah Gurib-Fakim
Gurib-Fakim in 2018
6th President of Mauritius
In office
5 June 2015 – 23 March 2018
Prime MinisterAnerood Jugnauth
Pravind Jugnauth
Vice PresidentMonique Ohsan Bellepeau
Barlen Vyapoory
Preceded byMonique Ohsan Bellepeau (acting)
Succeeded byBarlen Vyapoory (acting)
Personal details
Born (1959-10-17) 17 October 1959 (age 64)
Surinam, British Mauritius
Political partyIndependent
Anwar Fakim
(m. 1988)
Parent(s)Hassenjee Gurib
Firdaus Durgauhee
Residence(s)Plaine Magnien, Mauritius
Alma materUniversity of Surrey
University of Exeter
  • Politician
  • biodiversity scientist

Dr. Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim (Mauritian Creole pronunciation: [bibi amina fiːədos ɡəʁib fakim]) GCSK[1][2] (born 17 October 1959)[3] is a Mauritian politician and biodiversity scientist who served as the sixth president of Mauritius from 2015 to 2018. 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.[4]

Gurib-Fakim is the first woman elected as president of the country and is the third woman to have served as Head of State following Queen Elizabeth II and Monique Ohsan Bellepeau, who preceded her in this office and was her first Vice President. She served as a 2019 keynote speaker of Cambridge University's conference "Africa Together: Which Way Forward?" hosted by the African Society of Cambridge University.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim was born in the village of Surinam on 17 October 1959, to 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.[6]


She worked as Managing Director of CIDP Research & Innovation (formerly Cephyr, Centre for Phytotherapy Research).[7] 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).[8] She served as the Chairperson the International Council for Scientific Union – Regional Office for Africa (2011–2014).[9] In 2015, her nomination for the Presidency of Mauritius, put forward by then-PM and fellow Militant Socialist Movement member Anerood Jugnauth, was unanimously approved by the Mauritian National Assembly. She resigned in 2018 amid a financial scandal during the prime ministership of Pravind Jugnauth. The office of president remained vacant until December 2019, when Prithvirajsing Roopun took office. In the meantime, Vice President Barlen Vyapoory functioned as acting president.

Vice-chancellor appointment[edit]

In December 2013 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.[10]

Gurib-Fakim eventually left her position as Professor at the University to open her own science centre known as CIDP Research & Innovation where she is the Managing Director.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

In 1988, she married Dr. Anwar Fakim who is a surgeon.[11] They have two children; a son (Adam, born in 1992 and studied at the University of Kent) and a daughter (Imaan, who studied Computer Science).[12]


Soon after her appointment as President the former Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam raised concerns about the PhD qualifications of Ameenah Gurib-Fakim. Ramgoolam reiterated his earlier concerns when the Platinum Card Scandal came to light.[13][14][clarification needed]

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim officially resigned from the position of President of Mauritius on 23 March 2018 after the 50th anniversary of independence celebrations when L'Express newspapers leaked her bank details, although she had refunded the expenditures one year before the leak.[15][16] This resignation was mainly due to conflicts on interest and allegations arising from her involvement as Vice-Chairperson of the Charitable Organisation Planet Earth Institute (PEI), private expenditures on a credit card[17] and business trips financed by PEI and approved by the Govt. of Mauritius, given the involvement of PEI's controversial founder and businessman Álvaro Sobrinho.[18][19] Ameenah Gurib Fakim also requested that the Financial Services Commission (FSC) issue a banking license to Álvaro Sobrinho, as Chairperson of PEI to host the PASET Funds.[20][21][22]

In June 2018 the Government of Mauritius instigated a Commission of Inquiry on violation of the Constitution and other laws by former President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, led by Judge Asraf Ally Caunhye.[23] Before resigning from office in 2018, and without consulting the Cabinet of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim had nominated Sir Hamid Moollan to preside an ill-fated Commission of Inquiry on Álvaro Sobrinho's activities.[24] Despite numerous hearings over a period of nearly 3 years the inquiry has not been completed.[25][26]

Honours and awards[edit]


National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]


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.[8] 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 to 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.[30] 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).

National awards[edit]

  •  Mauritius: Laureate for the National Economic and Social Council[27]

Foreign and international awards[edit]


Academic works[edit]

Popular publications[edit]

  • Plantes médicinales de l'Île Rodrigues (1994)
  • Plantes médicinales de Maurice (1995)
  • Natural toxins and poisonous plants of Mauritius (1999)
  • Maurice par les 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 connaître les arbres et arbrisseaux de Maurice et des îles de l'Océan 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'Île Maurice et de La Réunion (2011)
  • Trees of the World (2013)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Prime Minister's Office - National Day Honours 2008". Republic of Mauritius.
  2. ^ a b "Her Excellency Dr. (Mrs) Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, G.C.S.K., C.S.K President of the Republic of Mauritius". The President of the Republic. Archived from the original on 8 May 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Ameenah Gurib-Fakim : " Je suis une emmerdeuse, c'est ça ? "". 31 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Ameenah Gurib-Fakim: l'encombrante présidente". L'Express. 4 March 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Keynote Speakers". Africa Together Conference. Archived from the original on 28 May 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  6. ^ "AMEENAH GURIB-FAKIM: "Cette nomination a déjà fait sauter quelques verrous"". 31 May 2015.
  7. ^ [1] Archived 4 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim Joins SAA - Spa & Wellness Association of Africa". Archived from the original on 29 November 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  10. ^ "EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION—AFFAIRE GURIB-FAKIM: Troublantes révélations sur les promotions à l'UoM". 28 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Une famille accuse le Dr Fakim de négligence médicale". L'Express. 22 May 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  12. ^ Murtuza, Rahim. "Dans l'intimité de la Présidente". Defimedia. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  13. ^ Permal, Jean Denis (4 March 2018). "Navin Ramgoolam: "Ameenah Gurim-Fakim doit démissionner immédiatement"". L'Express. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Navin Ramgoolam : "Ameenah Gurib-Fakim aurait dû partir depuis longtemps"". Defimedia. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Affaire «Platinum card» : la Présidente a-t-elle tout remboursé ?". Le Defi Media Group (in French). Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Mauritius: Ameenah Gurib-Fakim resigns over credit card scandal". Al Jazeerah. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  17. ^ Rédaction, La (28 February 2018). "Affaire Sobrinho: les folles dépenses de Madame la présidente". (in French). Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Swiss froze millions linked to Banco Espirito Santo". SwissInfo. 2 April 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  19. ^ Mestry, Anne-Lise (20 March 2017). "Directrice de Planet Earth Institute: Ameenah Gurib-Fakim "n'était pas rémunérée"". (in French). Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  20. ^ "Affaire Sobrinho : Ameenah Gurib-Fakim au centre des emails échangés". Defimedia (in French). 8 April 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  21. ^ "[Vidéo] Pravind Jugnauth : "Nous ne sommes pas sur la même longueur d'onde avec Ameenah Gurib-Fakim"". Defimedia (in French). 6 March 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  22. ^ "ASA et PASET Funds : Alvaro Sobrinho met la clé sous le paillasson". Le Defi Media Group (in French). Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  23. ^ "A quoi servent les commissions d'enquête ?". L'Express. 28 February 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  24. ^ Ramdin, Al Khizr. "Les rapports des commissions d'enquête sur la vente de Britam et Ameenah Gurib-Fakim soumis d'ici fin janvier 2020". Defimedia. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Commission of Inquiry on the violation of the Constitution and any other laws". Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  26. ^ Bhuckory, Kamlesh (16 March 2018). "Mauritian Premier Says Inquiry Ordered by President Is Illegal". Bloomberg. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i "ICSU-ROA Committee Member- Biography for ICSU Website" (PDF). International Council for Science. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  28. ^ "Office of the President - Profile". Archived from the original on 8 May 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  30. ^ "Gurib-Fakim, Ameenah".[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "Ameenah Gurib-Fakim". Sorbonne Universities. 12 December 2013.
  32. ^ EPG (8 March 2024). "Sadiq Khan, Oliver Dowden, Angela Rayner top the poll at Awards". EPG Economic and Strategy Consulting. Retrieved 18 March 2024.

Further reading[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by President of Mauritius
Succeeded by