By Ustad Dahir Hassan Arab
Note: The following article was published on Somali Business Review (SBR), a publication by SIMAD UNIVERSITY, by our Rector, Ustad Dahir Hassan Arab. At that time, he was the Chief-in-Editor of the publication. Also, it was the first issue of the journal: July-September, 2008.
Why are we posting the article again, at this time? It is because since more Somalis are coming back to the country, we want you to compare if the “brain drain” problem mentioned in the article is still relevant. In other words, are we still losing more Somali professionals in foreign countries? Happy reading.
Somalia is losing a very significant proportion of its skilled and professional human capital to other foreign markets and increasingly depending on expatriates for many vital jobs. Universities, telecommunication companies, small manufacturers in Somalia are incurring huge costs on hiring foreign expertise.
The country had not only lost its most valuable human capital through brain drain, but it also cost millions of dollars annually in the course of continuing human capital outflow. Today, it is rare to find an extended Somali family who have no an educated member of their family in an overseas country. This is a dismaying situation to a one of the least developed countries that is losing its human resource to developed countries because of money.
The private sector also remained unproductive due to a shortage of professionals who have the ability, competence, and skills to develop a competitive business strategy and inadequate entrepreneurs and role models who have the creativity and courage to pioneer successful business ventures.
The human capital outflow in Somalia has reduced the already low quantity of skilled manpower available in the country needed for their development. The brain drain minimized numbers of dynamic and innovative people such as entrepreneurs and academics. It increased dependence on foreign technical assistance as well as slowed down the transfer of technology and widens the gap between private sector in Somalia and others in the region.
Approximately 40 small and mid-sized manufacturers also remain closed for the reason of technical know-how scarcity. Many health professionals have left Somalia in a considerable brain drain at a time when the country needed them the most. The private sector in Somalia will not be able to sustain if they fail to retain their most valuable resource, which is the human capital. We also need to reverse the brain drain trend and start brain gain by encouraging the Somali professionals to return home.