The Collaboration for Research Excellence in Africa
CORE Africa
"Strengthening Research Capacity in Africa"

'Strengthening Researchapacitypy in Africa'


The Brain Drain Crisis In Africa

Migration from Africa to other countries has more than doubled since 1980, reaching peaks in 2010 and beyond. Although some migrants move to other African countries, the number of African migrants who stay in Africa has decreased steadily over time. There has been a growing trend of migration to developed countries such as Europe, the USA and Canada over the past years.

Are these migrants educated?

In 2013, the United Nations reported that 1 in 9 Africans with a tertiary education were living in developed countries. A recent US study showed that the foreign-born African population in the USA had higher levels of education compared to migrants from other continents. 41% of Africa-born migrants had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 28% overall.Census data from various other developed countries have reported similar trends.

What are the consequences?

The sting of this brain drain can be visualised from examples such as the Ebola crisis, which highlighted the shortage of Doctors and other health professionals in Africa. Liberia in 1973 had approximately 7.76 doctors per 100,000 people. This dropped to 1.37 doctors in 2008. In East Africa, Uganda has less than 5,000 doctors and 30,000 nurses for a population of over 35 million people (WHO, 2015). African researchers are also more inclined to travel to developed countries, attracted by research opportunities and funding. As such, the African continent remains deprived of skill and research capacity.