Africa all out to lure the diaspora back
Nigeria has set aside $5 million for diaspora activities and prescribed a stipend of $2,500 to be paid to any member of its experts based abroad who decides to return home in a bid to turn ”brain drain into brain gain’’.
All over Africa, there are already similar attempts. In Kenya, a Draft Sessional Paper on the Diaspora was already being circulated and a web site was in place to identify the skills and expertise of citizens operating abroad.
In Senegal, a ministry has been created to deal with diaspora issues, while in Tanzania, the plan was to go for the expertise of the big fish and not dagaa’, said the head of the country’s delegation, Prof Shukuru Kawambwa.
These dreams were expressed at a conference in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou under the auspices of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).
Among countries cited as having a large number of highly qualified diaspora were Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ethiopia, Algeria, Tunisia, Ghana and Egypt.
The large number of experts based abroad was, in most cases, a result of a good education system that led to the production of highly qualified staff who had to seek greener pastures.
In other cases, it was a result of conflict that forced many to flee their motherland.
Transfer of knowledge
There were two levels of diaspora. "There are those who were born on the continent and left willingly while others were forcibly removed many years ago,’’ said Prof Kimberly L. King-Jupiter, of the the Albany State University, US.