Brain drain is a situation where highly trained or qualified individuals from a particular country, usually third world countries, migrate out of their home countries in search of “greener pastures.” Unfortunately, this is the story of many promising tech developers in Sub-Saharan African countries.
According to Data from the United Nations, Africa has the youngest population in the world, with about 70% of sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30. Such a high number of youths should position Africa as one with an exponentially enormous source of untapped talent useful for developing tech solutions on the continent.
However, this has not been the case in Africa as highly trained workers, including medical practitioners and tech developers, continue to migrate to high-income countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
By the numbers
According to a report, in Nigeria alone, over 400 tech developers exited the country through the UK Tech Talent Visa last year. While on a continental scale, 38 percent of tech developers work for foreign companies. Leaving just a few to develop the much needed tech solutions to improve the quality of life on the continent.
Why this is happening
African countries are facing unique challenges that impact the life of a young, promising tech talent on the continent. Here they are:
The cost of operation
Surfshark, a cybersecurity company based in the Netherlands, ranked Nigeria (one of Africa’s tech big four countries) 114 out of 117 countries, in terms of internet affordability. According to the report, other African countries also ranked lower in comparison to other continents in terms of internet affordability. This implies that the cost of the internet in Africa is not friendly for a data-intensive industry. Other challenges that increase the cost of working as a tech developer include unstable electricity and increased cost of purchasing devices and equipment.
Several tech analysts have disclosed that there is a pay gap between tech roles in sub-Saharan Africa and high-income countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Coupled with the challenges (fees) of receiving payments through third-party applications, tech developers are migrating to function in a more friendly work environment.
Tech developers, as with other citizens, are suffering from a lack of basic amenities such as poor healthcare, heightened insecurity, lack of job satisfaction and opportunities, among others.