If you ask policy analysts this question “what are major problems facing Africa?” They will give you a long list of issues like poverty, hunger, corruption, political instability and just anything that characterises a developing continent. Maybe after the list is complete, they will then chip in “brain drain”, some don’t even mention it at all. Are all the previously stated problems prevalent? Yes, they are. But beyond the critical things that characterise Africa as an underdeveloped continent, we can classify brain drain as a silent killer of Africa’s economy.
What is Brain Drain?
In the 1950s, a member of the royal society described the emigration of scientists and technologists from post-war Europe to North America, and then he used the term “Brain Drain”. Brain Drain emphasises the emigration of skilled labour as a net cost for the country of leaving.
Simply put, brain drain is when skilled labour and professionals leave a country due to various factors like underemployment, political instability, corruption etc., and move to another country in search of greener pastures. While this means better opportunities for the leaving parties, it is also a considerable loss and cost for the country left.
Is Brain Drain’s effect that bad?
Africa isn’t the only continent experiencing a brain drain, as the term was coined to show how labour is leaving Europe for other continents. The thing is that continents like Europe and North America have found a way to increase their skilled labour regardless of how much brain drain they face. We can call it Brain circulation at this point.
These continents tend to have suitable systems, strong educational background and economies that are laudably attractive for people looking for greener pastures. On the other hand, a brain lost in Africa might be the end of that skill existing. Because of the flawed educational system, we know that skilled labour might be hard to come by. Even if skilled labour still exists within the economy, they just might be planning their subsequent emigration move in search of greener pastures.
Brain drain comes with a vicious cycle. The more people leave a country, the more the systems and structures worsen with no skilled hands to take care of it, and then, the more people will want to leave. It is a non-ending cycle.
The link between brain drain and other problems experienced by Developing countries is this non-ending cycle. Brain drain causes these problems, and these problems also cause brain drain.
One skilled labour leaving the economy might not seem like a big deal till you aggregate all the leaving labour to discover how much skill loss Africa has experienced.
Brain Drain should begin to be treated as a big problem to be solved in Africa. We might all be looking at reversing Brain drain by trying to keep people within the continent as a solution, but the truth is migration is not a problem. The answer to brain drain is brain circulation, and more skilled labour will only come into the African continent when they see the continent as “a greener pasture” for themselves.
We as a people need to build Africa’s systems in our little way. We need to ensure that the prevalent problems in Africa drastically reduces. With the skills we currently have, every African should be looking to contribute positively to the growth of their respective sectors. When that is