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Africa and the emerging brain gain phenomenon


Africa can benefit from brain gain!


Even much better than the #AfricaRising phenomenon where, among other factors, a boom in commodity prices led to a spike in GDP rates across the continent, the current gradual return of young African elite, trained in perhaps the best traditions of western industry and civilization is opening out the prospects of a new and more sustainable burst of development for the continent through the brain gain phenomenon that is currently underway.

According to one definition, brain gain refers to ‘an increase in the number of highly trained, foreign-born professionals entering a country to live and work where greater opportunities are offered.’ In our instance however, we are looking more particularly then at the reverse brain gain phenomenon where these professionals begin to return to their initial nations of origin, bringing with them the training, skill-sets and exposure levels that they have attracted and retained over the period of their sojourn in the foreign climes.

But for the continent to take full advantage of this, two vital ingredients are needed. One, African leaders and the peoples of the continent must reach out to embrace their returning kith and kin, help make them comfortable and properly re-integrate them back into the continent’s systems with as little hassles as possible. Two, the returnees themselves must be ready and prepared to stretch themselves to accept extant conditions as they meet them and should they find some of them manifestly disagreeable, wisely work over the medium to long term towards improving upon them.

And all of these should be informed by a fundamental appreciation that the continent needs them to play their roles and bring what they have but it is not given that those who have stayed back these many years will simply hand over the reins of leadership to them; just like that!


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