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African Union - Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus/New York (SRDC/NY)

African Brain Drain
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This Day (Lagos)
13 May 2007
Posted to the web 14 May 2007

African Brain Drain

A recent United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report has
revealed that Africa is suffering from massive brain drain. The
manpower needed for the economic growth of the continent is being
lost to outsiders. According to the report, Africa, since 1990, has
been losing 200, 000 professionals every year. Consequently, the
continent spends a whopping $4 billion every year in the employment
of 150 expatriates to fill the human resource gap created by this
mass exodus of qualified Africans out of their continent .

This indeed is a very worrisome report corroborated by the mass
exodus of qualified Nigerians to America, Europe and other more
developed continents . Every day, our airports are crowded with our
best brains fleeing Nigeria in search of the so-called greener
pasture abroad. Foreign embassies in Nigeria are daily swamped with
young Nigerian talents scampering for visa to flee the country . The
most regrettable aspect of the phenomenon is that while Nigeria is in
this sorry state, the economy and technology of advanced countries
are being driven by some Nigerian geniuses living abroad.

The tragedy of brain drain in Africa is that it is self-inflicted.
Africa cannot be complaining of the loss of its human capital when it
lacks the enabling environment for the flourishing of this essential
capital. The continent is plagued from top to bottom by pervasive
poverty, war, environmental hazards and diseases. Social
infrastrutural and institutional decay is another problem. In
Nigeria, for example, the supply of electricity is epileptic. But a
worse problem besetting Africa which is the principal cause of
capital decumulation is unemployment. There are many young
professionals roaming the African streets without jobs. Faced with
unemployment frustration, many of these jobless youth are lured into

Obviously, without employment and job security, Africans in the
disapora will not find the African soil attractive. That is why we
agree with the UNDP Administrator, Kemal Deris, that one of the
greatest developmental challenges facing Africa at the moment is to
convert the pattern of growth in Africa into a pro-poor and economic-
centered growth. The elimination of poverty and satisfying of basic
human needs in Africa will definitely act as incentives to Africans
in the diaspora to return home and get involved with the development
of their respective countries.

The economic policies in Africa
should focus on retaining the human
capital needed for economic growth. A continent which is undergoing
the process of decumulation of its human capital largely due to socio-
economic deprivations, is far from being an ideal continent for
sustainable democracy and human development.

Human beings are our hope of a better Africa .
Every society grows at
its own pace according to the aspiration of its own people. Impelled
by the philosophy of Pan-Africanism, qualified Africans in the
diaspora should head back home to develop their continent. Home is
home. If the mass exodus continues unabated, Africa will become a
deserted continent and foreigners will inherit our lands.

The challenge before African leaders therefore is to create the
enabling environment for its skilled man-power. That way, the
incidence of braindrain will be greatly curtailed.