Young Scientists

Hamidou Tembine: "Returning in Africa is a long process"

Hamidou Tembine left Mali for France in order to obtain his PhD. Now professor at the New York University, the mathematician want to return to Africa. But this process takes time.

Who are you?

My name is Hamidou Tembine, I am a professor at New York University. I work in game theory and its applications in energy, transportation and communication networks.

Why did you go to Europe for your PhD?

I left Africa because I had opportunities after science olympiads. I won a scholarship in France. So I took this opportunity to go in France and continue my studies.

Why didn’t you come back in Africa after your PhD?

When I completed my studies, I wanted to settle in Africa and begin my research there. But I did not have the opportunity. There are still discussions about this return. Most importantly, we are preparing this return, because it will not happen without a preparation. We are currently setting some collaborations for a gradual and long term return.

What are the obstacles to this return?

Among the difficulties, there is a data problem. We learn theory, and based on the theory, we have to collect data on the field. Which mean test the theories. But to collect these data, we need some equipment. It is the minimum. Often, we do not have this equipment in Africa. We have to look for funding. And looking for funding from Africa when you come back from Europe is difficult. That is why it is such a long process. We start academic collaborations with also a support from some industrial companies. Step by step, we are creating summer schools and local contacts.

Interview by Anthony Audureau


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