portraits
Portrait
Sciences
Digital

Yvonne Mburu

I was once told that there were more Beninese doctors in France than in Benin. And 99% of members of the African diaspora are wondering how to help develop their country of origin."

Connecting African doctors with each other and highlighting female scientists: Yvonne Mburu's mission is intersectional and resolutely "Afro-optimistic".

Updated on 09/08/2019

2 min

Born in Kenya, Yvonne Mburu left her homeland at the age of 18. Initially a researcher in chemistry and biology in Canada, she then moved to the United States and obtained her PhD in immunology and oncology from the University of Pittsburgh. She joined the Curie Institute in Paris in 2012, the year in which her aunt's cancer was diagnosed in Kenya. Yvonne Mburu then decided to work to strengthen research and medical treatment in Africa. Winner of numerous awards, such as the first Young Leaders prize at the Next Einstein Forum, Yvonne Mburu also takes part in French government actions on the African continent and campaigns for better representation of women in science.

As a scientist as well as an entrepreneur, in 2017 Yvonne Mburu founded Nexakili, a network halfway between Facebook and LinkedIn, aimed at African doctors and scientists.

Nexakili is a fusion of two words: “nexus”, link in Latin, and “akili”, spirit in Swahili. The aim of this platform launched by Yvonne Mburu is to create connections, exchanges and meetings between expatriate African doctors and scientists, and those residing on the African continent. Yvonne Mburu seeks to bring together [actors/protagonists] from the world of health to ”strengthen the African system as a whole”.

With more than 15 years of experience in scientific research, Yvonne Mburu defines herself as an “Afro-optimist by nature”. Appointed by French President Emmanuel Macron to the Presidential Council for Africa, Yvonne Mburu strongly defends the idea that the African continent has all the human resources within it to solve its health and social problems.

  • 2000

    2000

    At the age of 18, Yvonne Mburu leaves Kenya for Canada where she continues her biology studies, culminating in her PhD in immunology and oncology obtained in the United States.

  • 2012

    2012

    Yvonne Mburu receives the Cancer Research Institute grant in New York and then moves to Paris, where she still resides today.

  • 2017

    2017

    Launch of her platform Nexakili. The aim of the start-up is to connect African scientists with their expatriate colleagues.

  • 2018

    2018

    Winner of the Next Einstein Forum alongside the 20 best young African scientists and technologists.

  • 2019

    2019

    Yvonne Mburu co-chairs the French-African Foundation, which is behind the Young Leaders initiative, in which she won first prize in 2018.

L'Institut français and Yvonne Mburu

Yvonne Mburu is the "sciences" sectoral expert for the Africa2020 Season. They support the General Commission of Africa2020 in order to put African professionals in contact with French institutions that are partners to the Africa2020 Season.

Find out more about the Africa2020 Season.

L'institut français, LAB