IBM chief scientist Uyi Stewart is tackling Africa's so-called “brain drain” head on, urging African diaspora to return and work on the continent. As a teenager, Stewart was interested in computer sciences but his country's lack of infrastructure prompted him to look abroad as a way of” intellectual escape.” He managed to secure a scholarship at the University of Cambridge in England and with only a plane ticket and bus fare he set off for, what he called, “the new world.” After completing his education in England, Stewart moved to the U.S. where he began his career in software and services research. Stewart went on to work in IBM's Services Innovation Lab — an international program where he was responsible for the technical strategy at eight global facilities.
Now after more than two decades abroad, Stewart is committed to reverse the continent's so-called “brain drain,” the exodus of brilliant minds relocating to countries outside Africa. “I am part of the diaspora and I am home,” he says. “And I am saying 'let's come back, there is just so much' the winds of change [are] massive — let's come back and make a difference,” adds Stewart. “There is a tremendous potential for skill of impact when you innovate.”
Watch the Uyi’s full interview on CNN African voices below.
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