Africa suffers the worst brain drain problem of any developing region with even medium level skilled workers like nurses and technicians among those who leave. In the field of science the loss is even greater. The Global State of Young Africa survey of young African scientists has been trying to identify the barriers that they face to staying in the continent. The survey concluded that “the extreme factors include war and political instability. But the more common ‘pushes’ are a desire for higher pay, better opportunities, and the search for a conducive research environment – one where infrastructure and management help drive careers and research potential.”
Though a number of African governments have launched programmes to increase the number of postgraduate students, without a supportive ecosystem that provides mentoring, facilities and so on the survey concludes such efforts will not succeed.
The Research and Development Forum for Science-led Development in Africa
had concluded a decade ago that about 30 per cent of scientists leave the continent. The result is a huge shortage of faculty in African universities and an inability to sustain research institutions in most countries. The migration figures differ from country to country. Ghana, for example, loses half of its highly-skilled professionals. But a quarter to a third of such professionals is commonplace in almost every African country that was studied.
November 29, 2018