Celebrating women in science during Women's Month, and commemorating the Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke, a female trailblazer and icon of South Africa's past.

 

Passionate about advancing, science, technology and innovation (STI) on the continent, Mmampei Chaba believes that locally produced STI is central to Africa's prosperity.

 

Chaba is the Chief Director: Multilateral Cooperation and Africa at the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). Her portfolio includes the strategic management of South Africa's partnerships with multilateral global and African STI organisations.

 

To advance science in Africa, infrastructure is required to carry out significant research. This is expensive, says Chaba, but if the continent's nations pool their resources and create hubs for scientific research that can be shared, this will address the challenge of costs.

 

Chaba served as the DSI's Deputy Director: Multilateral Cooperation from 2004 to 2006, and as Director: Multilateral Cooperation from 2006 to 2010. In 2008, she was seconded to the United Kingdom on behalf of the DSI to support the partnership between South Africa and the Seed Foundation, which promotes global innovations.

 

Prior to joining the DSI, Chaba served as a medical scientist at the Department of Health from 1999 to 2004. Before that, she was a researcher at the then Medical University of South Africa, now the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. During this period, she published a number of articles in the South African Journal of Chemistry.

 

Her background is in the natural sciences. She obtained a BSc in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Cape Town, and a BSc Honours in Genetic Epidemiology followed by a Master's in Business Management from the University of Pretoria.

 

Highly skilled and educated, and with a drive to ensure that Africa's STI landscape is adequately resourced to accelerate economic growth, eliminate poverty and reduce the disease burden, Chaba stands out as a phenomenal woman of excellence.