Mar 10

Africa’s leaders emphasise need to retain the continent’s top talent

Africa’s leaders have this week emphasised the need to retain the continent’s top talent.

This week, Senegal is hosting the inaugural Next Einstein Forum (NEF). The gathering brings together the continent’s top thinkers in policy, industry, science, and civil society who are meeting to discuss the future of African talent & how to effectively combat the brain drain.


“The pressure is on to catch up and keep pace so Africa is not left in the wake of technological progress,” Rwandan President Paul Kagame said at the start of the landmark conference.

“This starts with a change in our mindset. We really cannot be satisfied with just ending extreme poverty. Our aim is shared and sustainable prosperity. And the key to that is science and innovation, bound by research,” he added.

While the brain drain has significantly reduced in recent years, its extent was highlighted by Thierry Zomahoun, the CEO of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences who said “There are more African engineers working in the United States than in Africa.”

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With over 50% of the African population currently under the age of 30, there is a pressing need to utilise and retain African skills. According to the WEF, African countries are managing to successfully hold onto their talent and Rwanda, Zambia and Ethiopia are coming out tops.

The current reigning champion of talent retention is Rwanda, with a record score of 4.8 out of 7. Speaking at the opening ceremony of NEF, the country’s President Paul Kagame expressed his desire to Rwanda also came in 23rd place globally and has some of the friendliest terms for foreign workers in the world.

Wrapping up the top five are Zambia with a score of 4.2/7, Gambia with 4/7, Liberia with 4/7, and Mauritius with 4/7. South Africa has managed to score in the top 10, with a score of 3.8/7

The countries that are struggling the most to retain their talents are Mauritania with 2.6/7, Tunisia with 2.5/7, Algeria with 2.4/7, Zimbabwe with 2.4/7, and Burundi with a score of 1.9/7.

Africa’s potential is unlimited, and if we follow President Kagame’s assertion that “Our aim is shared and sustainable prosperity. And the key to that is science and innovation, bound by research.”, the continent will most certainly grow and retain its greatest talents.

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