African nations has been striving hard to boost their economy by undertaking a number of measures and one of the primary means to achieve economic development is by improving the state of education in the continent. This is why most African countries are now trying hard to prevent the most talented and brightest students in Africa from going abroad for higher studies. The emigration of the best students to UK and US universities has sprung up as a serious challenge for Africa as it now desperately wants to retain talents at home. However, new studies have found that “brain drain” in Africa might just end soon.
Creating Opportunities For Talented Africans
The fact is several African students pursuing higher education abroad are currently finding various career opportunities back in their home countries, where they can use their knowledge and skills effectively. As 7 out of 10 fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, young and talented individuals are realising that home just might the best place to start their career.
Reda Merdi, a 19 year old Moroccan student, is currently set to attend the University of Pennsylvania after completing her course at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg. However, he has no intention to settle in the US from where he finished his Ivy League education. He said “It is more exciting to work in Africa these days. There are way more opportunities, a lot of space for you to work, a lot of space to prove yourself. Also because there are a lot of exciting things going on in the African continent.”
Empowering Future Leaders
The African Leadership Academy was primarily established for leaders of the future across Africa. The institute admits only 3% of applicants and aims to persuade the learners to stay and prosper in the continent. Fred Swaniker, co-founder of the institution, said “Our raw philosophy is that the main reason why people should come back to Africa is not out of any sense of obligation, or because we are forcing them to, but because they really see the tremendous opportunities that exist here for them. And because they see a wonderful future and a real opportunity for them to make a difference.”
He added “If you think like an entrepreneur then Africa is really your paradise… You can really be the next African Sam Walton or the African Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. No one has done that yet. You can be that person.”
Africa Is Transforming
The latest available statistics reveal the improvement of the continent in the last few years. In 2008, Nigeria was ranked at 112 worldwide in retaining well trained and qualified workers; where as now the country is raked at the 48th position. In the global rankings, Ghana has attained the 53rd place from 125th rank; and South Africa is at the 48th position from 72nd rank back in 2008.
Rebecca Harrison, project director at the African Management Initiative, said “Anecdotally, my sense is that there’s a real shift. We are starting to establish some links with a lot of the top business schools, particularly in the States and in Europe, to have Africa clubs, for people who are interested in working in Africa in the future.” She added “Some are from Africa, some are just from elsewhere, but are interested in the continent. We hear from them that their membership is growing quite dramatically. They all want to come over here and do internships here, consulting projects here. They’re interested in exploring working here.”
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