16 November 2016

South Africa: Brain Drain Impoverishes Africa, Says Committee

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The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation says it is time Africa highlighted in policy formulation the challenge posed by the brain drain, which continues to impoverish the continent.

The call follows a briefing the Committee received on Wednesday from the South African Council on International Relations (SACOIR) where it was highlighted that the brain drain, among other challenges, erodes professional skills, knowledge and the capacity in Africa.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Siphosezwe Masango, said the impact of the brain drain on development is untold. "The Western world offers lucrative scholarships to the brightest young minds on the continent and, on completion of their studies, offers them citizenship. When these young people invent things, they are credited as western inventions," Mr Masango said.

"These are African kids who should be doing work to advance their continent and contribute to world stability. Future policy should address this challenge at university level. An impression should never be created that the western educated are better than the rest," he said.

The Committee asked SACOIR to engage the question of what constitutes South Africa's national interest as well as determining what foreign policy should look like in the future. Mr Masango said the Council will supplement and enrich the work government is doing with the world to the benefit of South Africans and the region.

"All we need to do is make sure that South Africans understand foreign policy and how they should relate to the world. They should also understand what constitutes our national interests," he said.

Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Aziz Pahad led the SACOIR delegation. SACOIR also briefed the Committee on illicit financial flows, insurgency, the role of the media, and the role of diplomacy as an alternative to war and instability.

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