Is it brain drain, brain circulation or something else?


Last year Sudanese telecoms billionaire Mo Ibrahim mocked nearly 50 African leaders who had travelled to the United States to discuss opportunities for US businesses in Africa.

“Wherever you go in Africa there is Chinese business people, there is Brazilian business people. None of us went to Brazil or to India and China to tell them to come and invest in Africa. They find out themselves and they come and invest… Why must we come and inform this ‘misinformed’ American business? You guys invented Google, invented all these media platforms. Use it, please,” he said.

One could say the same thing about the announcement by the Zimbabwean government that it is creating a database to help Zimbabwean graduates get jobs in African countries that need their skills.

According to The Herald, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Godfrey Gandawa said: “We are coming up with a policy as a ministry to help our skilled manpower get jobs because there are countries with vacancies in various fields, but our people do not have access to those vacancies out there.

“As a ministry, we have taken the initiative to look for the jobs in those countries. We are still developing our human export policy and we have already signed memoranda of understanding with countries like South Sudan, Botswana, Angola and Namibia on that.”

A quarter of the country’s population has already left to look for jobs on their own, so is the government finally realising that it can actually make money from this?  After all, reports say the diaspora is already contributing close to $2 billion to the country’s economy through remittances.

The creation of the database will obviously cost money. Can’t the government think of a better way of using this money?  

But more importantly if unemployment is only 11 percent as official statistics claim, why should the government bother to look for jobs for people. After all in neighbouring South Africa, unemployment is reported to be close to 25 percent but they haven’t started panicking yet.

Or is the government move an admission that unemployment is not really what the official statistics say? Is it an admission that the country is incapable of creating jobs for its own people?


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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