Dr. Abrahamse is a natural scientist trained in Zambia and the UK with a wide range of management and leadership experience in environmental and developmental policies and processes.
Dr. Abrahamse played a key role in the Reconstruction and Development Programme under President Nelson Mandela’s leadership. As head of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa from 2000, she sat on all key tourism bodies, led the Black Economic Empowerment process and advised on public–private partnership policy development. She received the African Tourism Achiever Award in 2005.
In 2007 Dr. Abrahamse was appointed the first CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), a public entity responsible for biodiversity research, policy support, knowledge and information, human capital development and the National Botanical Gardens network. She has successfully restructured SANBI to meet its mandate, and transformed and raised its profile at home and abroad.
Over the past two decades she has sat on many advisory boards, panels and committees, both nationally and internationally, in the areas of development, tourism, biodiversity, and leadership. Recently she was appointed to the UN Secretary General’s inaugural 26-person Scientific Advisory Board.