Economy

‘Nigeria must show commitment to AU’s 10-year plan to stem brain drain’

by KELECHI EWUZIE

July 11, 2018 | 1:12 pm
  |     |     |   Start Conversation
'Nigeria must show commitment to AU’s 10-year plan to stem brain drain'

Industry operators in the human capital and education sector have advised the federal government of Nigeria to urgently align her strategy to African Union’s 10- year action plan aimed to tackle the increase in brain drain.

The African Union, earlier in the year, through the Revised Migration Policy Framework for Africa and Plan of Action (2018-2027), devised a plan to counter the exodus of skilled nationals, particularly doctors, nurses and engineers.

Reports from the plan indicate strategic steps to be taken to stop migration to developed countries by African professionals with critical technical skills estimated at 70,000 annually.

Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa continues to see her best professionals in key sectors of the economy leave the country in droves in search of greener pastures.

Industry watchers observe that with unreliable power and few resources, higher level science; engineering and medical professionals often find little to motivate them into staying, especially with job offers from the U.S. and European nations exerting a powerful pull.

Reports indicate that an estimated three million Nigerians live in the U.S. alone, and of these about 30,000 are doctors and over 15,000 are academics. This industry close watchers opine is a heavy loss for a nation that so desperately needs qualified professionals to rebuild and improve its own resources.

They blame poor governance systems in Nigeria with her attendant poor planning and disregard for future generations as major factors contributing to the constant.

Tolu Odugbemi, former vice chancellor university of Lagos opines that just as African Union has set in motion the plan to counter the effects of brain drain by encouraging nationals in the diaspora to contribute to the development of their countries of origin through transfer of skills, knowledge and technology, Nigeria should be at the fore front of such plan.

Isaac Adeyemi, a university professor insist that just as African Union is worried that the continent’s lagging behind in availability of critical technical skills and specialists is almost an emergency, the same should be applicable to managers of the economy.

Nigeria just like other Sub-Saharan Africa country relies on overseas collaboration and visiting academics for a steep share of its research output. “In fact, some 40%-80% of its science and technology innovation publications are with external partners and lack local collaboration.

This should include establishment of policies that would ensure replacement of qualified persons who left their countries of origin with local talent, as well as attracting experts in the diaspora to return, according to a recommendation.

According to the African Union’s position paper, African critical technical skills: Key capacity dimensions needed for the first 10 years of Agenda 2063, produced by the African Capacity Building Foundation, the single biggest challenge to ownership of Africa’s development agenda is grounded in severe shortages of experts with critical technical skills.

The paper shows that the current higher education in Africa is heavily focused on non-critical technical skills areas. “If this pattern continues, the continent is likely to continue having more non-critical technical skills graduates between 2020 and 2030,” says the position paper.

Nigeria is lagging far behind in its numbers of medical doctors and specialists, Nigeria currently has 35, 000 medical doctors but needs no fewer than 237,000 to meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) benchmark of 1:600, that is, a medical doctor for every 600 persons.

The situation is also deemed to be critical in research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields where there is another yawning gap that Africa needs to bridge if it is to make progress in its development agendas. Although during 2003-2012 Sub-Saharan Africa almost doubled its global research output from 0.44% to 0.72%, the African Union believes this is too little for a sub-region containing 12% of the world’s population.

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by KELECHI EWUZIE

July 11, 2018 | 1:12 pm
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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