African undergraduates and young lawyers should believe in themselves, seek out challenges, and not be afraid of going abroad for postgraduate studies, because that will advance their careers in many ways, says natural resources law expert Dr Abdoul Karim Kabèlè Camara.
“It's not only about studying, but also about learning the culture and learning how to know other people because that will help in your professional life and your social life,” says Dr Kabèlè Camara, who worked for the World Bank and African Development Bank before joining Endeavour Mining as West Africa Legal Affairs Manager. “Tomorrow they may have to negotiate with other people they met when they were studying, so they really need to embrace the world.”
Dr. Kabèlè Camara says his postgraduate studies at the University of Dundee in Scotland had a profound impact on his career in natural resources law and development.
“The region where I am from in West Africa, specifically the Gulf of Guinea, is well endowed with natural resources,” explained Dr Kabèlè Camara, recalling his thoughts as an undergrad in Burkina Faso. “I decided to go to Dundee because I wanted to specialise in that area. My goal was: How do I make sure I understand those resources that are very critical to the development of my country and the region? How do I understand the economics behind their development so I can help my country and the region the best I can?”
He began with an LLM in Mineral Law and Policy at the world-renowned Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy in Dundee. He later decided to add a second master’s in Petroleum Taxation and Finance, to ensure he’d be well-equipped to be able to help his country one day, as both investors and governments would need advice on different aspects.
Following his dual LLMs, Dr Kabèlè Camara completed doctoral studies at the University of Dundee focused on shared-use mining infrastructure development and regulation in sub-Saharan Africa. Looking back, he says he’s really happy to say he made a great choice; he now gets called by African government officials to help understand aspects of the mining, oil and gas industries.
Dr Kabèlè Camara loved his years at Dundee, enjoying the vibrant life alongside his studies, from attending philharmonic concerts in historic churches to volunteering with developmental organisations and NGOs.
While his studies were challenging at times as he’d only learned to speak English two years before moving to Dundee, Dr Kabèlè Camara says the rewards were huge. He got to publish papers in the CEPMLP Annual Review and was invited to speak at conferences. There he interacted with practitioners and specialists in the mineral and oil and gas industry, which got him noticed by people at the World Bank. He began as a researcher on the African Mining Legislation Atlas, then ended up leading the project.
To help his homeland, Dr Kabèlè Camara embraced the world. Now he’s back, looking to make a difference.
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