This continuous outflow of skilled labor contributes to a widening gap in science and technology between Africa and other continents. Africa’s share of global scientific output has fallen from 0.5 in the mid-1980s to 0.3% in the mid-1990s. The more alarming fact is this; “there are more working African scientists and engineers in the USA than in the entire continent”. The flight of professionals from Africa endangers the economic and political systems in several African countries. As its middle class crumbles and its contributions to the tax system, employment, and civil society disappear, Africa risks becoming home to even greater mass poverty
The Conventional Solution
Solutions to the chronic brain drain problem in Africa fall into two categories: the conventional solutions and the non-traditional solution to brain drain.
The conventional solution imagines governments, policy makers and developmental institutions as key drivers of Africa’s destiny. In this model key steps that has been prescribed to stench the drain are building network pools between overseas based and homeland based professionals, ‘native expatriate’ relocation programs, creating programs to attract native expatriates home and make them stay, instituting short gap programs and visits that allow native expatriates contribute to their home economies.
The conventional model has its critical flaws. Indeed, since the execution of these programs often advocated by Breton Wood lenders and developmental partners, these programs have met with limited success. No data exists on how many Africans have returned home based on the implementation strategies developed under the conventional model. What we know from anecdotal evidence is that very few Africans have decided to stay or return since these programs began.
An Introduction to an Entrepreneurial Solution
The entrepreneurial solution (i.e. the non-traditional resolution model) gets to the bottom of the catalyst for brain drain in the first place. Most professionals move abroad for two primary reasons: In search of opportunities (and the professional fulfillment and appreciation that comes with it) and to relieve the economic pressures of practicing in a third world economy with low spending power and net income.
o Innovative Entrepreneurship
§ What is Innovation? New vs. Old (Selling Phone Cards and Riding Okada is not Innovation)
§ What is Entrepreneurship? Marketable vs. Dud. It must have a market. A number of great ideas are simply not scalable
§ Formula to IE: Ideas (i) * Energy (e) + Investment (I) = IE
· Lesson: Vary i & e to get most boost to IE
§ Barriers to Innovation:
· Capital Costs’ Tower of Babel (VC Fix)
· Group Think
· Risk Aversion
· Comfort Zone
§ Barriers to Entrepreneurship (All VC Fixable)
· Muddled Thought Process
· Unrealistic Expectations &
Unorganized market and process
Next: Innovative Entrepreneurship is a Powerful Concept. High Impact IE is even a more powerful concept.
High Impact ? Metrics is Jobs created per venture. www.endeavor.org to read up on the concept