5 African Countries With The Highest Effects Of Brain Drain?

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The term brain drain, equally known as the human capital flight, is a problem that has in so many ways affected the African continent. Africa houses top world countries with a large scale of brain drain. Claim Your List Of 10 African Books To Read.

According to Migration Policy Institute, 6.9 million Africans are living and working in the US, a number that’s envisaged would escalate more before the 2050s.

As Africa has and is still experiencing different molds of leadership, war, inflation, etc., more people are bound to migrate from the continent to different European countries and US.

This human capital flight has robbed African states of their brightest minds and professionals with great prowess that could have contributed to the growth of each country’s economy. These diasporans undeniably seek nothing more than a good standard of living, incentives, and paychecks, which are, of course, deficits in Africa.

Although the exodus of skilled Africans has potential benefits like receiving remittances, transfer of knowledge and skills, and investment, among others, we can’t turn a blind eye to the irking negative impacts it stamps in African states, one of which is the depreciation of the labor force, mitigating the possibility of innovation and invention that swivels in a long term growth, limiting health care contributions, etc.

This article takes a look at the five African countries that are most affected by brain drain.

1. South Africa

South Africa has been the hub for different booming companies in Africa- it houses Africa’s highest telecom network (MTN) and a plethora of other firms.

Despite all the companies rooted in the country, it’s still not immune to the effects of migration. South Africa is, in fact, one of the African states with the mass exodus of professionals, especially medics and others in the medical field.

These migration spikes result from several factors like poor institutional management, meager salaries, and bad working conditions, among others.

Hence, most nationals flee from the country once they graduate from college to look for greener pastures abroad – you won’t berate these individuals, because we all humans love working in a convenient place and getting a good paycheck.

2. Nigeria

In sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is voted as one of the countries affected by brain drain -you won’t get gobsmacked as it also tops the list of the African states that receive remittances from abroad.

Many factors contribute to this seeming exodus of Nigeria’s top professionals in the medical field, engineering, academics, etc. Among these factors, bad leadership tops the list. It can be said that bad leadership birth every other issue in the country, such as corruption, economic recession (which obviously is an everyday problem), and insecurities, to mention a few.

Nigeria is the only country that practices gerontocracy- a government headed by old men that can’t spur new ideas and follow the trend in this digital era to spark development in all sectors.

Worst of it all is that youths are allowed little or no participation in contributing to growth, partaking in political affairs, etc. With this refrain of rights and underdevelopment, the nationals rake for better opportunities abroad, thereby leading to an increment in brain drain.

3. Ethiopia

Thousands of medical field professionals are produced in Ethiopia every year. Yet, they suffer a brain drain, with about 75% of qualified professionals migrating from the country searching for broad opportunities abroad. This constant migration results from the volatile economy and lack of infrastructure the professionals can work with to enhance the health of the citizenry.

This continuous commuting of professionals in the country leads to having a few qualified health care providers filling the vacant areas in the medical field. Of course, this takes a toll on the country’s health sector as a few individuals are left to alleviate the mortality rate in the country.

4. Ghana

Ghana is another African state with a high effect of brain drain. Presently, there are shortages of doctors, teachers, and nurses in the country as these professionals migrate to different African and European countries looking for more opportunities to actualize their goals.

Jean Philippe Chauzy (IOM spokesman) asserts;

“A highly skilled young professionals migrate to countries such as United Kingdom, Canada, the United States in search of employment  opportunities leading to shortages of labor in critical sectors of the economy.”

He equally ventured that this constant migration of Ghanaian teachers had lessened the number of people that will train the future generations. Although Ghana currently experiences political stability, the economic crisis hovering in the country still nudges youth to commute to countries of the west.

5. Kenya

Kenya has one of the best education systems in Africa, with many universities offering world-class education at affordable prices.

However, the country is facing an economic crisis that has resulted in high unemployment rates among its youth population—a result of a brain drain that has led many people to seek work abroad rather than stay in Kenya due to poor economic conditions at home.


This brain drain has, in diverse ways, affected many African countries, which still proceeds today. However, some insightful programs have been introduced to serve as a clarion call in curbing Brian drain in Africa.

With the creation of a good working environment, job opportunities, improved security, etc., the effects of brain drain in the African continent will deplete hence leading to economic growth.

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