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In a continent of 54 countries, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for development, but the value of science and technology transcends national differences, says Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the new president of Mauritius, in this audio interview.
“We know that science and technology have been very important tools for improving livelihoods, creating wealth and, of course, changing the destiny of many countries,” she says. Mauritius is a country “at a crossroads” economically, and should now build on its strong literacy base to advance research and science-led development, she adds.
At the heart of this move to boost science should be an investigation into local and traditional knowledge, Gurib-Fakim says. Traditional healers and medicines have been overlooked for too long, and scientists and governments alike should now dig deeper into this rich repository of knowledge and ‘creole remedies’ to find and develop medicines, she explains. The kind of “translational research” that Gurib-Fakim has been doing as a chemist can help turn local knowledge into health products for use worldwide, generating new businesses and livelihood opportunities that connect the local with the global.