Posted by / Monday 22 August 2016 / No comments

The reasons for the brain drain in Ghana

The term brain drain is used for the exodus of a country’s professionals or intellectuals to foreign lands mainly for greener pastures. These professionals include teachers, lecturers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc. After the independence of South Africa, many Ghanaians left for the republic of South Africa. Many Ghanaians have also left for better jobs in other African countries, Europe, America and now Asia.

Economic factors
Ghana has gone through many economic difficulties due to poor domestic economic policies, corruption in high places, political instability, and externally-imposed factors such as the rise in the prices of important imports. This makes life unbearable for citizens, especially those earning very meager salaries and allowances. This difficult situation compels professionals to leave the country for greener pastures elsewhere.

Moral reasons
The economic hardships described earlier, create situations where people ignore principles and virtues and engage in morally unacceptable conduct. They take bribes, charge illegal fees, sell state property to enrich their pocket or embezzle state funds, etc. To avoid compromising their integrity, many intellectuals left the country for fear of entering personal disgrace.

Political reasons
Ghana has been noted for military adventurers until about twenty years ago. It has been the same for many African countries. Most professionals and intellectuals who dislike the government in power in their country have deserted their countries to Europe and America. This was done to avoid arbitrary arrests and detentions and other forms of human-rights abuses.

Lack of job satisfaction
Some Doctors and nurses, for example, complain they do not have the right tools to ply their trade. This may be so because governments are unable to provide them. This can be frustrating. Even for those who are willing to work, their individual promotions are intentionally delayed.
The top of the work hierarchy, there is choked. A young professional is therefore not sure how far he/she would reach in the hierarchy before reaches the retirement age. Such people think it is better to go outside the country and develop their career there.

Prestigious reasons
Some professionals just leave for jobs outside for the international prestige and fame that comes with such decisions. Some Doctors work in prestigious international hospitals, some lecturers go to lecture in institutions like Harvard, Yale, Oxford or Cambridge. These moves expose them to international fame, more prestige and fame than to lecture at University of Ghana, the University of Cape Coast or the University of Education, Winneba.

Social factors
Economic difficulties result in pressures from family relations for financial assistance, employment, etc. In Ghana and many African countries, such requests are not uncommon. These requests cannot be easily brushed aside. At village and town fund-raising rallies, one is expected to make huge donations. It is the same at funerals. If one is not well placed in society to meet all these expectations, it can result in embarrassment. Some just get out of the country to avoid “disgrace”.

Some professionals have become international commodities, wanted for their skills in many foreign countries. Under such circumstances, some of them consider it as an honour to their country to be serving outside. A professional like Kenneth Dadzie, was considered indispensable by the former U.N. Secretary-General of the time, Perez de Cuellar but he was needed by his country too. Finally, he had to shuttle between serving his country and the international community. He was Ghana’s High Commissioner to the U.K., and heading the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, (UNCTAD).

The brain drain has both positive and negative effects.

Promotes the image of Ghana
The brain drain helps to promote the image of the country in the eyes of the international community. The exploits of some of the intellectuals abroad do hit the headlines in the international media, thereby promoting the country’s international prestige. Ghanaian teachers, doctors, etc., raised the image of Ghana in various parts of the world. Ghanaian teachers, doctors, and doctors are on demand in many places in the world.

Foreign cash remittances
While Ghanaians work abroad, they send money home in the form of remittances. These remittances have become a major source of convertible cash for the state. These monies are sent through foreign commercial banks in London, New York, and through Western Union.

It lowers administrative performance
This is the case if many of those who leave work in the administrative sectors of the economy. These people are trained to do their job so when they leave they leave a vacuum that may take a long time to fill.

It affects the economy
Important sectors of the economy might not have the appropriate personnel to handle it. There are certain specialized professions that take a long time for people to be trained in. These include medical doctors, nurses, architects and many types of engineers. When such people leave the country in droves, the economy is bound to suffer.

Affects the growth of the economy
Trained and qualified personnel of a country are its most important resource. Where people with the necessary developmental skills leave the country in thousands, there can be no proper development or socio-economic growth for the nation.

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