Millions of graduates quit Sub-Saharan Africa

The number of highly educated people leaving Sub-Saharan Africa to work abroad nearly doubled in a decade, a study reveals.

The research, commissioned by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), found that about a million Sub-Saharan Africans with a degree migrated to another, usually better off, country outside the region in 2010/11. This is a 92 per cent rise from 2000/01, bearing in mind that migration trends over the past four years are not included in this data.

In total, 13 per cent of all degree holders from Sub-Saharan Africa emigrated over this period, the highest proportion of any region around the world, the report says.

Theodora Xenogiani, an OECD researcher and an author of the report, says a major cause of this migration is highly educated people being unable to use their skills. “If you have, for example, a scientist in a lab without tools and equipment, they might want to migrate, not just because of their salary, but because conditions do not enable him to do the research he might want to do,” she says.

But the report stresses that this is not a simple case of ‘brain drain’ — the phenomenon whereby a country loses its best thinkers — as many highly educated migrants maintain ties with their home country.



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