Young Scientists

Marco Komé: "What prevents the return to Cameroon is finding a secure job"

Who are you?

My name is Marco Komé. I am in the third year of my PhD. I work on security and authentication problems in the field of connected objects. I am Cameroonian and I have been here for 12 years.

Why do you attend the YASE meeting?

It was an opportunity to reconnect with the issues of the continent. Because when you do a PhD, you are easily locked up and I needed to open up a little. What I really like about the idea is that it's pan-African.

Do you need a particular motivation to return working in Africa?

Normally I shouldn't need any, because it's the call of the heart. But with the generations who came to study in Europe before us, the main argument is job security. Because we all want to help. A proof is the flow of money which shows that Africans participate a lot in the economy of their countries of origin.

What are the other obstacles to African scientists return?

Beyond employment, it's information. I thought I was the only one, but this first part of the conference showed me that this concern is widely shared. There is a lot of information missing. We are far from home, and we need to be sure before we return, so we're looking for information. And phone calls are not enough. We are used to look for work, first by prospecting, by learning about companies, when we are here in Europe. Already, to leave Europe for America we start like that with the Internet, then we sharpen with the contacts we have in the field. It is not the same in Africa, especially in Cameroon. There is no information. We just hear: "there are positions". But we don't have the feeling that it's real. And with the bad experiences of our elders, we don't believe it too much.

What should be done to allow African scientists to return?

Listen to them. I think it's the basis of everything. My elders tell me: "You are doing a PhD, you are still young, here doctors are old." I don't think young people are much listend to in Africa. It is like: "Your time will come, and then you will do what you want." But in the meantime, old people come first. I think that youth brings many fresh and new ideas.

Interview by Jean-Bruno Tagne

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