According to Wikipedia, ‘brain drain’ or human capital flight is a large emigration of individuals with technical skills or knowledge, normally due to conflict, lack of opportunity, political instability, or health risks.
Brain drain is usually regarded as an economic cost, since emigrants usually take with them the fraction of value of their training, which in some cases was sponsored by their governments.
Brain drain has largely been associated with developing countries where marketable skills, such as chartered accounting, are not financially rewarded.
Our main story for this edition focuses on this debacle, which could roll back the country’s aspirations to becoming an industrialised nation by 2030.
In fact President Hage Geingob’s much-trumpeted Harambee Prosperity Plan aims to make Namibia Africa’s most competitive economy by 2020.
Harambee serves as the fuel to accelerate existing governments’ existing development programs. It must be pointed out that skills shortage is arguably the biggest stumbling block in executing Namibia’s development blueprints.
This therefore means that Harambee needs an infusion of skills in order for targeted acceleration to take place.
Yet so may skilled Namibians, trained in highly technical areas that Namibia generally lacks, are overseas empowering the economies of our competitors in the global market.
While some have talked about adventure and exposure as the mainstay of their decisions to work abroad, there are others who believe the country does not reward their professions fairly – something that we as a country must look into.
Another one spoke about the way the country deals with granting of leave, a messy public transport system and the country’s general approach to assessing productivity – more hours spent at office rather than actual output.
It was good to see that in late 2014 there was an attempt by NIPAM to create a databank on Namibian professionals in the diaspora so that the country can tap into their immense human capital skills.
Ironically, just this week NIPAM announced that all candidates interviewed for its executive director’s position did not meet the minimum requirements – leading to the appointment of Andrew Ndishishi who was seconded from the Prime Minister’s Office.
This means that the OPM itself would have to embark on a search to replace Ndishishi, which, we dare say, would not be an easy process.