The year is 3000. We are at the dawn of post-apocalyptic Africa. Strife has become the natural order as people scramble for the most precious and valuable resource of our time, water. With nothing left to boast of its once-rich mineral resources and heritage status, what remains are ruins and run-down buildings where institutions and economic hubs are occupied. All the valuable stones have either been looted or depleted in the hands of a consortium of imperialists and corrupt leaders whose graves are a living testimony of their ancient greed. Even the most precious resource there is, yes more precious than any silver or gold, has become as scarce as summer snow. There is no more human capital! The above scenario is a rather gloomy depiction of what Africa might look like in the future.
Fortunately, the year is 2023. Africa is pretty much one of the most pleasant places one could reside in if we are to use ‘weather’ and ‘value for money’ as key metrics of measure. Despite that, there has been a development of certain factors that if ignored or not given attention to, the above damned depiction of Africa could come to fruition. This article could tap into a very wide array of factors, but for the sake of the narrative, it will focus on the continual loss of human capital and the brain drain happening on the continent.
Hopewell Chin'ono, a prominent award-winning journalist from Zimbabwe, is known for his constant lamentation of how the health sector in Zimbabwe is deteriorating due to the sector not being funded adequately (frontlinedefenders.org). According to his fact-backed findings, there are currently no functional cancer machines in Zimbabwe and very scarce medication in hospitals (TimesLive). Such alarming facts reveal one thing, severe illness in Zimbabwe is tantamount to a death sentence. The dying economy also created a new trend among the personnel in the health sector as they have resorted to pivoting their careers so that they may survive the harsh conditions of being underpaid (News24). This has resulted in the exodus of many health sector personnel to the UK, in pursuit of a career in caregiving (africanews).
The education sector is also on the brink of collapse. In the previous year 2022, ZIMSEC (Zimbabwe School Examinations Board) recorded one of the worst performances and results by candidates at both primary and secondary levels of education (allafrica). With teachers who are constantly on strike demanding higher salaries and not being considered by the government, what the status quo creates is a disgruntled and unmotivated teacher. Concurrently, the UK recently announced that it will start recruiting teachers from particular African countries to fill in the gap of teachers (News24).
It goes without saying that countries such as the UK, Canada, the USA, and Australia are some of the major countries that are currently experiencing a scarcity of personnel that can work in certain key sectors. As mentioned above, these countries are facing the biblical conundrum of there being “a plentiful harvest, yet very few workers.”
One would ask, what makes someone be willing to leave a place they call home and go to a place that is totally different, a place with no family, a place with the very limited sun? The answer is in plain sight. It's all for the pursuit of a better standard of living. This explains why many people would rather work as waiters and janitors in 1st world countries than to work white color jobs in their own countries where they will be paid less.
This exodus is not only affecting struggling African economies. South Africa is beginning to witness a similar trend of key personnel in tech and finance migrating to the UK, Ireland and the USA (bizcommunity) Applying the multiplier effect theory to this case, more migrations only create more migrations as more people realize the urgency and ease to move as companies assist by making these moves very easy. After all, the frustrating politics, looming load shedding and rising crime rates are factors enough to convince anyone that it is time to pursue greener pastures elsewhere.
The question becomes, at which point do African countries realize that this rapid migration of key human capital only creates a brain drain within the continent, a predicament with alarming consequences for the continent? With the best technicians and engineers are gone, who will build the African nations of tomorrow? With nurses and teachers leaving, who will take care of our sick and who will educate our young? It is scary to even imagine all these factors, to imagine an Africa with no plumbers, and Africa with no teachers, Nurses, construction workers and many more key professions. This article poses a question to the reader, imagine an Africa in the year 3000.