October 17, 2004

Low wages behind African brain drain

The International Organisation for Migration has estimated that around 20.000 skilled Africans leave the continent every year for jobs in developed countries. It says that the primary cause of this brain drain is the "unreasonably low" wages paid to African professionals. At the annual Eskom African Leaders Forum in Johannesburg, Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad quoted the organisation's estimate that Africa has more than 250.000 professionals working in developed countries, and spends US$4-billion annually to recruit and pay 100.000 expatriates. According to Pahad, this was a "strange and wasteful way" of dealing with the brain-drain problem. "Measures have to be taken to offset existing incentives for highly educated people to emigrate. It is incumbent on us to strengthen the socioeconomic base of our people in terms of living conditions, education and health," Pahad concluded. (The Sunday Times, Johannesburg)

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