Migrant flows are always from the poorest countries with a low probability of employment towards less poor and more dynamic countries where there is an opportunity to find some sort of job. Over the last few years international migration has intensified, with the media referring to the “regionalisation and globalisation” of migration. The major centers of attraction are the same: United States and the European Union, with countries in southern Europe gradually becoming immigrant receiving countries. The third major region that attracts migrants is the oil-rich Middle East. The fourth major region set to be the target for increasing numbers is Asia/Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand.
What are the effects of migration on the countries of origin? Funds sent by migrant to families back home often play a considerable part in the development of the local economy. However, when highly qualified people leave their home country, the investment made by the developing countries in their higher education is lost. To remedy this, programmes have to be set up to encourage immigrants to return, so that they can contribute to the economic development of their home country. The political environment in some African countries must be conflict free for African professionals overseas to return home.
Africa is certainly experiencing a debilitating flight of professionals and skilled people escaping their countries’ economic crisis. The level and trend of brain drain has reached unsustainable heights. In the last few years, the brain drain has escalated in magnitude to levels that have serious implications on economic growth in countries like Zimbabwe.
Why have African intellectuals and professionals left or thinking seriously of leaving their countries? Previous studies have discovered extremely high levels of dissatisfaction with the cost of living, taxation, availability of goods, and salaries. The number of poor living below the poverty datum line has surged progressively in the last few years because of economic crisis and spiraling inflation. The situation has been exacerbated by declining real savings compounded by high levels of taxation and rising unemployment levels. The decline in real gross domestic product(GDP), is reflective of failure to attract foreign direct investment(FDI) and increased external debt due to chronic foreign currency shortages to procure raw materials, fuel, electricity and spare parts, against a background of rising production and labour costs due to high inflation have led to declining savings. The contraction in the formal sector, owing to companies’ downsizing, reducing working periods and closure, have led to significant fall in employment levels.
Growing lawlessness and politically-motivated violence are some of the push factors for many intellectuals and professionals. The dissatisfaction goes deeper than economic and political circumstances to include housing, medical services, education, education and a viable future for children. Against this background, many skilled persons and professionals have migrated to other countries and the potential for emigrating among African university students and other is most probably very high. There is therefore need to enact policies in Africa to curb these massive brain drain and offer incentives to make staying and working in African countries attractive for professionals and skilled people1
The broad objective of this paper is to highlight African brain drain, its causes and consequences. Brain drain is seen in this paper as a complex problem created by both endogenous and exogenous factors, which prey on the disparity between 5
technologically developed and industrialized world, and the poor developing countries.
The structure of the papers is as follows;
Section I gives a general Introduction to the problem of Brain drain. Section 2 attempts briefly to conceptualize and categorize international migration and the possible...