Young Scientists

Abdoulaye Sidiki Ba : "I want to return to Mauritania, but with more experience"

Returning to Africa after a PhD abroad is a matter of preparation. Abdoulaye Sidiki Ba learned it the hard way. After a unsuccessful try, he wants to build a strong project for the next try.

Who are you?

My name is Abdoulaye Sidiki Ba, I am the Next Einstein Forum Ambassador for Mauritania. I live in Paris and I am from Mauritania. Currently I am a highschool professor near Paris.

Why did you go to Europe for your PhD?

It was a natural choice because of the history between France and the ancient French colonies. I did all my curriculum in French, and when I obtained my high school diploma, I wanted to go in France to continue my high studies. I had some opportunities to go to universities with good reputations, with good diplomas.

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

When I completed my studies, I went back to Mauritania and tried to find a job. It was not easy. During my PhD, my research was about metamaterials. I did not have the opportunity to continue on this in my country because we do not have the infrastructure which would help me doing my research easily.

Do you have any plans for a return in Africa?

I still want to come back in my country and contributed in her development. But I think that the good strategy for me is to have more experience first, and then return to Mauritania with a strong project.

What would you say to young African PhD candidates who want to return to Africa?

To quote Frantz Fannon, each generation must in relative opacity, discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it. And I think young Africans must fulfill their mission by returning in Africa with strong projects. There are always difficulties and obstacles in Africa, but there are a huge amount of opportunities. When you had the chance of being trained abroad, you can develop your country through your research or your experiences.

Interview by Anthony Audureau


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