Anton Le Roex:
"African governments need to make opportunities available"

My name is Anton Le Roex, I'm from the University of Cape Town. I'm the dean of the faculty of science.

Why do you think important that African PhD candidates go abroad and then come back?

I think it is extremely important for African students, all students but African students in particular, to go abroad. Science is a universal subject, we don't have always the best facilities in our countries, and to achieve a high degree it's important to go overseas to learn new techniques, to learn new ideas, to learn different ways of doing science, to enable our students then eventually to return to the country, to the continent for its improvement.

What are the main challenges to come back after some time abroad?

It's extremely important to come back. Africa is a developing continent, and the only way the continent is going to improve is that the best of our young scientists return to the continent. To do that, the governments of the different countries need to understand that they need to make opportunities available, they need to fund intermediate positions in academia as post-doctoral fellows, to allow them to return and develop a reputation to be competitive. For scientists who don't come back to university, there needs to be opportunities in the private sector, in the government sector, in the semi-government sector, where job opportunities are created, where infrastructure is provided, where financial resources are made available, where equipment is made available. Such that these now young experts can do their very best to improve the science and to improve the opportunities, economics and social development in the country. That is what needs to be made available for our young scientists to return.