Africa's future is bleak with all the brain drain

Migration is robbing Africa of its future even as it boosts forex

In Summary

• More and more youth are going in search of greener pastures wherever they may be

Kenyans queue to be served at the Immigration Department on September 8
Kenyans queue to be served at the Immigration Department on September 8
Image: MINA

More than half my classmates from high school have migrated or settled outside of Mombasa or Kenya. I know that is not necessarily a statistic, but through social media, one can tell just how many millennials are opting to live in the diaspora.

I, too, am one of them, not by choice but by circumstance. I know many others like me have been forced to move across the world either for schooling, work or simply by marriage. This migration 'pandemic' is not only limited to Kenya but also Africa and most Third World countries across the globe.

At this, I often wonder about the cost of migration to our home countries. We all know how much our host countries benefit from having young able-bodied immigrants work for them. We provide these countries with a populous working class that ensures a constant supply of funds for their elderly/retired citizens.

Countries in the West come to Africa and offer hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities. Just know whenever we see this in the news, it means that the country in question is in a perilous position when it comes to the economic benefits provided by the working class.

Nothing is free. We, the Third World, provide the West, and more recently, the East with youthful and brilliant people whom they exploit for their benefit and the continuous development and security of their nations' futures.

Meanwhile, Africa and the rest of the developing world is not just robbed of its youth but also of the potential of a glorious future the youth would have provided. We are robbed of our brilliant minds, our hard workers and our opportunities to turn our countries around.

We cannot blame people for migrating. We have to go in search of greener pastures wherever they may be. We cannot condemn the youth for seeking opportunities to apply their wisdom in places that appreciate and welcome their contributions. Is this something that they would have gotten at home?

There are some positives to migration. We know by now that Africa especially makes more in revenue from money being sent from the diaspora than any foreign aid. So yes, money is sent home, the government gets their cut and our people get their cut. The economy is still growing even in our absence. But the million-dollar question remains, "Can we see that growth?"

As we send the best of our doctors and engineers to the West, the West brings us the best of its digital nomads. You know, content creators who exploit the good things from our countries for clicks and views. I also love how these digital social media influencers, as they call themselves, often show us how 'cheap' it is to live in the developing world, and how a 'free nomad lifestyle' is much cheaper than living at home.

Meanwhile, a good majority of the youth in the countries they reside in are unemployed. The influencers, too, rarely talk about their own employment, but if you dig a little deeper, you realise that they are indeed employed and work remotely. They continue to pay taxes to their home countries and have a place to return to when the novelty wears off.

As the millennials get older and realise their host countries are only good for their youth and plan to go back home, I wonder if our motherland will be a retirement home and/or cemetery for most. Anyone who lives in the diaspora will tell you that the West particularly is not a place one wishes to retire. The brutal cold, the mind-numbing loneliness and the lack of community are all factors that make everyone plan for their retirement in their home countries.

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