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Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim has resigned after being embroiled in a scandal over the use of a credit card to buy luxury personal items.

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Africa's only female head of state, offered her resignation in the "national interest", according to her lawyer Yousouf Mohamed.

The president has been facing growing pressure, including from Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, after a local paper, L'Express, said she had used a credit card issued by an worldwide non-governmental organization to buy clothes and jewellery in Italy and Dubai.

Gurib - Fakim had earlier refused to resign, clashing with the country's prime minister Pravind Jugnauth, who led a cabinet meeting that asked her to resign or be impeached.

In a response to that announcement, the office of Gurib-Fakim, whose role as president is mostly ceremonial, released a statement detailing that she would remain in office.

"She is also willing to go to court to defend herself against the slanderous accusations against her".

Gurib-Fakim was accused of spending up to $26,000 on jewelery and clothing using a credit card provided by the NGO, which was founded by an Angolan banker with business interests in Mauritius.

Gurib-Fakim has since explained that she "inadvertently" used the PEI payment card that was identical to a bank card she already had.

Gurib-Fakim is an internationally renowned scientist and biologist.

The PEI confirmed this account, issuing a statement earlier this week saying that Gurib-Fakim "thus never received gifts, favors, wages or expenses from the PEI, nor undue benefits or advantage".

She was appointed in 2015 as the first women to hold the position of President of Mauritius.