Africa spends US$4bn a year on western expatriates
Š While it loses a third of its human capital
By Joseph Coomson | Posted: Friday, January 06, 2006
Africa spends US$4 billion per year, representing 35% of total official development aid to the continent, to employ some 100,000 Western experts.
These are recruited to perform functions generically described as 'technical assistance', which could have been done by African experts lost to the brain drain of the western world.
This revelation was made by the Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prof. Kwasi Andam, yesterday at the 57th Annual New Year School, under the theme 'Developing the Human Resource for Accelerated National Development'.
Speaking under the topic 'Science and Technology for development', the Vice Chancellor said Africa has lost about a third of her human capital and the three African countries, which have suffered most from the brain drain syndrome, are Ethiopia, Nigeria and Ghana.
To solve the problem of this syndrome that has been draining the nation's meager resources, the University chief suggested to government to increase access to higher education as well as investing more in Science and Technology (S&T).
He mentioned that S&T investment in the most developed countries is close to 2% of GDP, stating that S&T investment needs to be at least 1% of GDP to have any significant impact on the level of development.
Prof. Andam maintained that in the National Science & Technology document (2002), government's investment into the sector was to be a minimum of 2% of GDP.
However the government currently invests 0.3 to 0.5% of its GDP to support the science & technology sector.
He said the empowerment of women and combating brain drain with brain gain are other options open to the government.
On the Way Forward, Prof. Andam explained that government should arrest the decline at the primary to SSS stages, increase access to science and technology programmes at tertiary stages, correct the decline of science and technology facilities (laboratories, equipment, etc.), and invest at least 1% of Ghana's GDP, US $101,000,000, into science and technology.
Prof. Andam ended his speech by saying, "The only means Africa and Ghana can develop like the Western countries is through investment into Science and Technology".
Experts say Ghana is at the threshold of becoming an emerging economy and the development of Science and Technology would definitely push Ghana towards achieving the $1,000 per capita income, as well as developing the human resources in science and technology as a base to transform the country.
The programme was under the chairmanship of Prof. Frimpong Boateng, the Chief Executive Officer of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.