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Brain drain leaves future of Nigeria at risk but Singapore’s strategy offers way out

Jean-Michel Paul, author of The Economics of Discontent: From Failing Elites to The Rise of Populism


Human capital is one of the greatest resources of African countries, particularly Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation, but when they leave for training abroad and don’t return the future of the continent is at risk, according to Jean-Michel Paul, CEO of Acheron capital who is speaking at the ongoing Business Day CEO Forum.
“When an engineer goes abroad and doesn’t return, we don’t just lose one but a thousand and same for other professions,” he said.

According to Paul, who is also an award-winning author, Africa is blessed with the right people but if they leave, it will be very difficult to build the future.

Even when African countries are able to somehow recoup the fees spent on education abroad, Paul said their absence will be draining the home country of multiple resources.
“Taking out the best brains is taking a mortgage on the future because this is a real resource,” Paul said.

Paul however pointed out that Singapore’s strategy of reversing brain drain can serve as a solution for Nigeria and other developing countries battling brain drain.

“The leadership at the time clearly understood that education was key to the future and development,so they came up with a bright idea to let a lot of young people go get some extra level of education abroad that will be sponsored by the government but the abroad trained Singaporean would have to come back and work for a certain number of years.”

The government said it’ll pay for a one year masters programme in the UK or some other country but you would have to come work in the government for four years or eight years in the private sector, and what we have seen afterwards is the singular economic miracle of a very poor island that is now doing very well thanks to the educated elite that returned to the country,” Paul said.

sources : Business day.

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