You are a young smart and ambitious African woman (or man), and you are living outside of your country of origin. After a couple of years studying and/or working abroad, you start asking yourself if you should move back to the motherland. Maybe you have the impression that you hit a glass ceiling in your country of residence, because of your origins, or simply because there is not much room for growth in that country/industry/company. Maybe you sometimes miss the warmth and the sense of belonging of your home country, and you think you could be of a greater impact there. In the past years, you have seen many of your friends and contacts moving back, you seen all those press articles, those success stories, these conferences that might be proofs of the transformation of the African narrative and they make you want to be a part of it.
A thousand questions are probably swirling in your mind. Should you make the jump and go? When? How? Why? What if it doesn’t work? Is it going to impact your personal life? Should you risk decreasing your income if you move back? Should you wait to have more experience?
I have been in your shoes and have asked myself these questions several times, and if you have read about me, you know I finally moved back. But let me tell you, it was not a walk in the park.
As some of you may know, I was born in France from Cameroonian parents but spent a significant part of my life in Cameroon before moving to Côte d’Ivoire for work. From there, I went back to France for Business School. Several years later, I moved back to Cameroon to be the country manager of the local subsidiary of the biggest ecommerce company in Africa. Today, among other projects, I am working with a prominent US Ivy League University in West Africa, as an innovation & entrepreneurship specialist. While being “back” in Africa, I have regularly the pleasure to travel to Europe and US for training, networking, business and personal purposes. It allows me to connect with friends, take a stroll in city centers, shop, work with a very decent internet connection and enjoy the best of both worlds.
This could be you. Or not.
I believe there is a time and place for everyone’s purpose. And no, I do not think that all Africans should move back to “help build” Africa, except if you benefited from a scholarship from your government, or if your residency permit is expired. You absolutely have the right to stay in France, UK, US, Canada, Germany or wherever you choose to work/study/live and be happy to. However, if you are considering moving (back) to Africa, we could work together and assess if it is the right decision for you at this moment, and if yes, strategically define the steps to take to make that dream a fulfilling journey.
So what now? You must feel a little bit scared, but if that little voice keeps asking you “what if?”, and if your heart beats a little bit faster when you see someone move back to Africa, then don’t wait anymore. Fill the contact form below, and let’s build the first pages of your African success story.
Forbes Afrique, June 2015