The search for commensurate rewards is one that drives the human pursuit in different sectors, from medicine to tech, to artisanship and entrepreneurship is why tech talents leave the continent in search of greener pastures. Due to the ongoing trend where the immediate environment does not facilitate the growth and expansion of talents, hence people are forced to new a location that fuels their ability. An area like Silicon Valley encourages tech enthusiasts to build more and develop already existing technologies in order to improve the quality of life.
In the quest of developing a region, the impact of human capital cannot be overlooked as it suffices to make the whole process work. Through human capital, values gained from experiences and skills are transferred as solutions to organizations, companies and establishments which in turn develop the country or regional economy.
Not only are tech employees migrating, start-ups are also migrating. It is no doubt the 4 M’s of business which are money, machine, manpower and material are key factors to sustaining business growth and achieving success in an industry. In a scenario where there is money and material but no manpower to coordinate the working process or utilize available resources, productivity is hampered. Therefore, the constant migration of proactive minds can leave the continent stagnant up until degradation even if eventually the industries are set up, infrastructure put in place and all-around support accorded to the society.
Common problems which cause tech migration:
The issues can majorly be classified into 4 M’s which are lacking as seen in Africa. Sufficient are some of the M’s too few countries and lacking the rest.
The nature of tech jobs differs amongst the various arms of technology and usually requires flexibility. Most tech jobs can be done remotely and so disrupts the conventional mode of technical jobs. In Africa, not many countries have companies that accept working remotely as it is believed, the distance might affect productivity.
Infrastructure is a great component in getting jobs done in the tech space. A tech operator would need his tech tools like computers and other gadgets to get his job done. These tools do not power themselves and obviously need a power supply, internet connection, network configurations and the like. Not having electricity or power supply elements can be highly discouraging. Industries and organizations come under infrastructure as there are fewer companies to create opportunities, provide a suitable workspace and meet the needs of employees.
Money is a big factor in brain drain in Africa where most tech employees are overworked and under-paid which is why they look to work with the western world where they get paid according to the value they offer and duration of tasks. The salary of tech employees outside Africa can sum up $200,000+ per annum and those in Africa can’t earn up to that following the unfavorable conditions of the environment.
The master of it all. With the numerous unfavorable situations, skilled individuals migrate, families move along, friends inspire skilled friends to leave also because everyone wants to make it. Africa is left to worsen with already existing problems and more to come. In years to come, only a few inhabitants would be skilled and Africa would be forced to invite home its people to provide solutions with their expertise.
Solutions to retaining tech abilities in Africa
Amidst the whole situation, possible solutions to minimize or stop brain drain in Africa include:
- Good Working conditions for employees.
- Favorable rules and regulations are set up for startups.
- The up-skilling staff through job training and workshops.
- Start-up support in every aspect e.g. funding, advisory, mentoring and networking.
- Building the tech sector as a separate industry to be budgeted for.
- Increasing the remuneration of tech employees and modus operandi according to work functions.
- Healthy start-up competitions.
- Setting up Tech regulatory bodies to monitor and evaluate technological progress in the country/region.
- Inculcating tech in the educational curriculum.
Emmanuel Otori has over 9 years of experience working with 100 start-ups and SMEs across Nigeria. He has worked on the Growth and Employment (GEM) Project of the World Bank, Consulted for businesses at the Abuja Enterprise Agency, Novustack, Splitspot and NITDA.
He is the Chief Executive Officer at Abuja Data School.