Emigration of skilled workers from developing nations to developed ones in search of better opportunities in trade, education, work, etc has been well documented. Many scholars from World Bank, IMF to countless non-governmental organizations have examined this Flat drain FG 14, 10 mm with trocar. Theoretical examination is not scarce; what is lacking is solution to this problem.
So what can the continent do? Simply, we can leverage the power of technology to mitigate the impacts of brain drain. There are many enabling technologies and strategies which Africa and indeed all developing nations experiencing brain drain can deploy to turn brain drain into brain gain. There is need to understand how these nations can develop infrastructures to connect and collaborate with these people in Diaspora for their national developments. And technology could be the solution.
Understandably, Africa will prefer the physical presence of these experts in their native nations. Unfortunately, some of them work in industries that have not diffused in Africa. For those that are experts in genetic engineering, robotics, and so on, they may discover limited opportunities at home. Also, there is a potential “degradation” that occurs when someone moves from the seat of ideas to stay at the corners. In other words, telling an MIT professor of microelectronics to move to Kenya and practice will mean that in five years, he could be exceedingly backward when compared to his peers in US. And his professional worth will degrade instead of appreciating.
So, the continent must follow a paradigm where they honor the need for these experts to stay abroad and potentially contribute to their native nations. The physical presence while helpful is not really necessary provided there are enabling technologies and policies that can foster interactions between them and these nations.
The challenge will be to understand how technology can narrow the brain drain problem and turn them into brain gain as these experts continue to develop their skills in developed nations and using the enabling tools share and interact with their partners in their respective native nations. We need technology strategies that can connect people across boundaries and help modernize national programs on health, education, research, training, etc.