To solve the African brain drain Africa needs to build a science and technology infrastructure capable of providing meaningful employment to the continents science graduates, say experts from business and academia.
Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, business magnate and philanthropist who’s efforts have focused on promoting science and technology in Africa, has argued for increased government spending on research in key areas, such as agriculture. This would, argues Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, offer challenging and exciting opportunities to young, African science graduates while simultaneously contributing to the development of home-grown African science and the technological independence of the continent.
The views of Dr Alvaro Sobrinho are supported by a wide range of professionals from the business and academic communities; for instance, Professor Kelly Chibale, from Africa’s first drug research and development centre H3D in South Africa. Professor Chibale believes African science graduates can be persuaded to remain in Africa by the availability of jobs and positions which allow them to put their expertise to good use. Without meaningful, fulfilling job opportunities African scientists will continue to seek work elsewhere.
Creating such job opportunities will require a joint effort from business and government. The private sector in particular, argues Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, will have a big role to play. This is because only the private sector has the resources and expertise to provide jobs that challenge and excite young scientists. With this knowledge in mind, Dr Alvaro Sobrinho has tailored the PhD programme he funds towards creating solutions for businesses and offers students many opportunities to work with businesses while undertaking their research.
If the brain drain is to be halted, and indeed reversed, it will be necessary for more job opportunities to be create by the private sector and the public sector. It will also require education to be focused on filling the positions that emerge, which means paying attention to the needs of businesses, as the drivers of African development.