Conference aims to stop brain drain


The ECA estimates that between 1960 and 1989, some 127,000 highly qualified African professionals left the continent. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Africa has been losing 20,000 professionals each year since 1990. This trend has generated claims that the continent is dying a slow death from a brain drain, and the United Nations states that emigration of African professionals to the West is one of the greatest obstacles to Africa’s development.
This was one of the issues discussed at the international conference on Economic Development Strategy for African Countries, jointly hosted by the Korea International Cooperation Agency and Korea Development Institute held on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at the United Nations Conference Center. Since the 1990s Africa has made significant and continuous progress in economic growth as evidenced by the average annual growth rate of 5.8 percent before the occurrence of the current financial and economic crisis. Despite the growth, many African countries may not achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  This is partly attributable to a lack of capacity. The African Development Bank argues that weak capacity in public and private sectors in Africa is acknowledged to be a major obstacle for reducing poverty.
The conference discussed the methodology to enhance the economic development of African countries as well as successful strategies employed by various African countries including Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya and Egypt and the Republic of Korea.
“Ethiopia is where we have the largest number of our African alumni, which is why we chose Ethiopia as the venue for the first international conference jointly hosted by KOICA and KDI School. I believe this conference will be able to make a significant contribution to improving the relationship between Ethiopia and Korea, adding to other signs of friendship we have seen over the past few years,” stated a representative of Korea Development Institute.
The conference had representatives of the different countries who participated give presentations on areas such as brain drain and its impact, capacity building and development strategies of African countries as well as Korea’s economic growth through capacity reinforcement and implications for the current developing countries.
Berhanu Legesse, a Senior Public Sector Management Specialist at the World Bank who gave a presentation on international organization’s role in aiding developing countries to build capacity and the Dean of the Korea Development Institute (KDI) Nam Sang-woo were some of the highlights of the conference. The Korean Ambassador to Ethiopia Kim jong Geun also attended.
Speakers from other countries other than the ones that attended the conference made their presentation via KDI School’s Global Development and Learning Network (GDLN) a visual teleconferencing system set up specifically to connect and share development experiences around the world.