University of Mauritius creates new role to accelerate research and economic growth

University of Mauritius

The University of Mauritius was formed in 1965, when the former School of Agriculture (Est. 1914), the oldest faculty of the university, was incorporated with the new Faculty of Engineering. The Faculty of Engineering includes the departments of Applied Sustainability and Enterprise Development. Subsequently, additional faculties were established; the Faculty of Science (1988), the Faculty of Law and Management (1993), the Faculty of Social Studies and Humanities (1993) and the Faculty of Ocean Studies (2014).

The University is located in the central Moka District, less than 2km way from the ‘CyberCity’ of Ebene, the recently realised information technology hub for Mauritius, which forms an important link to African and Asian markets.

An island nation, Mauritius lies in the Indian Ocean, and supports a vibrant, multilingual, multi-ethnic community. Mauritian Creole, Bhojpuri, French, English, Tamil, Urdu and Hindi, are among the many languages spoken in Mauritius, with French, English and Creole being the primary languages of instruction.

SSR Chair of African Studies

To further develop its burgeoning role on the world stage, the University of Mauritius has created a new position, SSR Chair for African Studies, taking its name from the former political leader, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. The position holder will be charged with:

  • Assisting the Economic Development Board of Mauritius with it ambitious Africa strategy to promote trade and investment
  • Promoting African research groups
  • Developing the Higher Education curriculum, specifically to promote African history and culture and champion innovation in technology, engineering and the medical sciences
  • Strengthen the national identity of Mauritius
  • Promote Mauritius as a regional hub for professional services: financial services, arbitration, education, healthcare, ICT and business services.

Africa Strategy: Economic Development Board of Mauritius (EDBM)

Mauritius has built a reputation as a safe, trusted and competitive financial centre, and has been at the forefront of driving quality investments into Africa. The international investing community chose Mauritius as its hub of choice for its Africa-bound operations and investments, notably because the country has established itself as a robust, transparent and reliable business-friendly jurisdiction.[1]

Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050 to reach nearly 2 billion, making it one of the largest markets in the world. In 2018, the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA)was established to to boost trade prospects within the continent. Spending by African households is estimated to rise from USD 840 billion in 2008 to USD 1.4 trillion in 2020. With rapid urbanization, projected to reach 50 percent by 2035, 700 million housing units will be required within the next 30 years. The World Bank estimates the finance gap for Africa to reach its full potential is around USD 130-180 billion annually over the next decade. 

The SSR Chair of African Studies at the University of Mauritius will be invited to collaborate with the EDBM to develop and maintain initiatives, designed to cement relationships with several African States, and drive investment into the continent. Furthermore, the appointee will be tasked with advancing international research collaboration to further the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG’s).

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (1900-1985)

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, former statesman, politician, philanthropist, commonly known as the ‘Father of our Nation’, served as Chief Minister, Governor General and leader of the Mauritian independence movement from 1961-1968. An alumni of University College London (UCL), Ramgoolam studied medicine and attended lectures at the London School of Economics (LSE), later becoming a GP and heart specialist until his move into politics.

In 1973, Ramgoolam was awarded the United Nations prize for outstanding achievements in the field of human rights:

“As Prime Minister after independence, Sir Seewoosagur promoted free and universal primary and university education, social security and old-age pensions and comprehensive national health programs. He sought to play a moderating role among Mauritian political parties and to diversify an economy heavily dependent on sugar cane.”[2]

Ramgoolam’s legacy includes an airport, botanical gardens, hospital and medical college, which bear his name.

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015 United Nations (UN) member states agreed on the 17 goals we need to achieve by 2030 to end poverty, combat climate change and fight injustice and inequality. These are the UN Sustainable Development Goals and are commonly known as the Global Goals.

Achieving the goals in just 15 years will take unprecedented international, political, scientific business and research collaboration.

Universities play an important part through their research on global problems such as infectious diseases, sustainable energy and gender equality.

The University of Mauritius is focusing its efforts on international research collaboration, with the creation of a unique role, SSR Chair of African Studies. Learn more about this exciting opportunity, here.

[1] McQuiston, J.T. (1985) The New York Times. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam of Mauritius is Dead at 85.

[2] Economic Development Board (2019). Africa Strategy

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