Dec 14, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

While Africa has long struggled with “brain drain,” a phenomenon in which the continent’s best and brightest academic talent were pursuing career opportunities elsewhere, it is now seeing a shift in the opposite direction. But while this news may be promising, there are some  Here’s a closer look at the trend, as reported by Quartz.

Bridging the Skills Gap

According to multiple studies, the majority of African MBA students (70 percent) and African PhD students (90 percent) plan to return home to work upon completion of their degrees.

In addition to helping to bridge the skills gap that has long plagued the continent, the reverse-migration has in turned spurred other phenomena, including “the rise of professional matchmaking and networking services, like Talent2Africa and others such as Movemeback and MBTN Global—both based in the UK—that pair diaspora talent with opportunities in Africa,” according to Quartz.

But There’s a Catch

While the influx of talent flowing back into Africa is a promising narrative given the continent’s much-touted status as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, there are some things to keep in mind. For starters, a number of challenges and uncertainties await returnees. Says Quartz, “With slowing economic growth, the longstanding lack of infrastructure, corruption and high unemployment challenges, it would be difficult to make an impact—even if you’re an expensively trained graduate from a top American or European university.”


Not only that, but the motivations of many internationally trained grads for returning to Africa may have more to do with lack of opportunities overseas than with attractive opportunities at home. Chams Diagne, founder of Dakar-based recruitment agency Talent2Africa, “In the West, it seems like there’s a glass ceiling—le plafond de verre—that cannot be broken. People are moving back to grow their careers faster.”

Read more about business degrees in Africa.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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