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African foreign student mobility, brain drain, and development

Mary M. Kritz, Cornell University
Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, Cornell University
Sara Rzayeva, Cornell University

This paper examines the linkages between African international migration for higher education and brain drain and development. Countries need skilled human capital to develop health, education, development, and other institutions and systems based on global technologies, practices, and systems. Growing numbers of Africans have migrated to North America, Europe and other countries for higher education in recent decades, but many have not returned home after completing their studies, remaining in the countries where they did their studies, or moving to other countries to work for international development agencies. Other Africans completed their tertiary studies in their homelands but subsequently emigrated for higher paying jobs in other countries. We examine the magnitude of African migration in search of higher education and skilled employment, evaluate whether these flows are a brain drain or brain gain as some argue, and identify policy solutions that could mitigate the negative effects of skilled migration.

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Presented in Session 34: International migration in Africa