Dr Tanya Ethel Abrahamse is the CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the organisation that leads and coordinates research on, and monitors and reports on the state of, biodiversity in South Africa, she also seats on the South African Tourism Board.
The South African National Biodiversity Institute provides knowledge and information, gives planning and policy advice, and runs South Africa’s nine botanical gardens.
Her previous positions include Executive Director of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa; Deputy Director-General in the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism; and Chief Director in President Nelson Mandela’s office.
Tanya Abrahamse earned a BSC. in Biology from the University of Zambia; an MSc and DIC in Applied Entomology and Insect Ecology from Imperial College, University of London; and a PhD from the University of Westminster. She has been active in many policies and decision-making processes that have contributed to the success of the transition in South Africa before and since 1994, and participated in post-apartheid policy discussions on land reform, rural development, economic scenario planning and gender matters.
Tanya Abrahamse is a natural scientist with a wide range of management and leadership experience.
She joined President Mandela’s Office to play a key role in the Reconstruction & Development Programme, later Environment & Tourism Department to lead transformation and head the Resource Use branch. Between 1994 and 2000 she participated in many international engagements representing her country.
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 and was her country’s nominee for SG of the World Tourism Organisation.
In 2007 she was appointed the first CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute, a public entity responsible for Biodiversity research, policy support, knowledge & information, and the National Botanical Gardens. She has successfully restructured to meet the mandate, transformed, and raised the profile of SANBI – at home and abroad.
Over the past two decades, she has sat on many advisory boards, both nationally and internationally, in development, tourism, biodiversity, and leadership.
She received the African Tourism Achiever Award in 2005 and was her country’s nominee for the post of Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization.