Young Scientists

Arielle Kitio: "Everybody knows what is needed for more Africans to return"

Who are you?

I am Arielle Kitio Tsamo. I am the founder of CAYSTI, Cameroon Youth School Tech Incubator, and I am the ambassador of the Next Einstein Forum in Cameroon.

What is the award you won?

I won the "Afrique innovante" prize, awarded by the Fondation Norbert Ségard. I am absolutely delighted and I thank the organizers of YASE and the Fondation Norbert Ségard for choosing CAYSTI. We made the bet to create the new generation of technologists by infusing young people from an early age with passion, love for science and technology, as a fun, powerful and transversal tool that can be used for all Africa's problems, the world's problems and to fulfil their dreams.

What is your opinion about the return of African scientists?

It is more of a political and ecosystem issue. Many people stay in Europe because it is easier. They have a job, they are sure of the applicability of their research in the countries where they are. And sometimes they come back, and there are no accommodations. They were used to the Internet going full speed and then it's super slow. You start a project, the administration does not follow. It is normal to be afraid. But you have to ask yourself: "If I don't return, who will?" So at some point, we have to take our responsibilities, return to the country. The beginnings are always difficult, but through synergies, hard work and passion, things are getting better and better.

Did the YASE conference identify ways to smooth the return of young scientists?

Everyone knows what needs to be improved to help the return of Africans. Administrative smoothing, entrepreneurial environment, policies, applicability of research results in Africa. But at some point it's a personal question. We discussed, we had proposals for ways forward. But after the conference, each attendant will come back home and ask her or himself: "Do I commit myself? Do I decide to overcome the fear and return?"

Interview by Jean-Bruno Tagne


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