One positive from the global economic crisis

For decades, African leaders have struggled to convince the most talented of their citizens to stay in their home countries and help build a better Africa. A significant number of those educated abroad tended to stay and work there, draining the continent of its most skilled workforce. But now that the West is experiencing its worst recession in almost a century, some from the diaspora have been forced to head home. From The Washington Post:

“I personally know many people who are going back,” said Erastus Mong’are, who works as a program manager for an insurance company in Delaware and heads an association of Kenyans living there.

In a broad sense, the return migration to Africa is in line with studies suggesting that despite persistent poverty and civil unrest in places such as Congo, Somalia and Sudan, much of the continent has been buoyed in recent years by a sense of optimism driven by economic growth. Pew Research Center studies tracking global attitudes have found that people’s level of satisfaction with their quality of life is rising across much of Africa, while it has stayed level or decreased in the United States.

This will definitely work to the advantage of Africa. Foreign investors often complain of a lack of a skilled workforce in sub-Saharan Africa (look below at that quote I pulled from The Economist). Folks from the diaspora should help plug that gap. Amidst the horrific state of the global economy, this is one silver lining that, here in Africa, we will embrace with open arms.

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