Sudan News Agency
ARAB BRAIN DRAIN AND
THE ROLE OF ARAB YOUTH
A Documentary Booklet On The Occasion
Of The Arab Summit Scheduled
For March, 2006 In Khartoum
Arab Brain Drain
One of the main problems facing the Arab world today is the so-called brain drain. Such a movement of highly skilled, talented individuals is becoming so acute that many are worrying about its effects on the economic development of the region.
More and more educated professionals such as engineers, doctors and scientists are looking for greener pastures in western countries. Also more Arab students receiving an education in Britain, the US, or France stay after completing their studies.
The movement of skilled labour increased in the 1990s as a result of the global marketplace and the introduction of new growth industries, such as the Information and communications technology.
The phenomenon has incorporated politicians, rulers, researchers and decision-makers. European countries, the United States and Canada have made use of migratory intellectuals to service their current and future goals while the developing countries especially Arab countries have turned a deaf ear to the phenomena. As a result, these countries have suffered a lot and lost most of their highly qualified citizens in addition to economic loss.
The UNESCO defines “brain drain” as an odd form of scientific exchange among states because it is characterised by a movement in one direction that inevitably flows to developed countries while encyclopedia Britannica defines the term as the "departure of educated or professional people from one country, economic sector, or field for another usually for better pay or living conditions".
Brain exchange implies a two-way flow of expertise between a sending country and a receiving country. Yet, where the net flow is heavily biased in one direction, the terms "brain gain" or "brain drain" is used. A further term, ‘brain waste’, describes the waste of skills that occurs when highly skilled workers migrate into forms of employment not requiring the application of the skills and experience applied in the former job.
Recently, Johnson and Regets (1998) have introduced a new concept into the debate, namely ‘brain circulation’. This refers to the cycle of moving abroad to study, then taking a job abroad, and later returning home to take advantage of a good opportunity. The authors believe this form of migration will increase in the future, especially if economic disparities between countries continue to diminish. Such circular migration has been observed amongst Malaysians who had studied in Australia, for example.
Migration is as old as human history. It began with the early Semitic immigration, Prophet Muhammed's (peace and blessing upon him) hijra (migration) from Mecca to Medina and the migration from Arab Peninsula to the Fertile Crescent countries. Migration, however, doesn’t restrict to only Arabs. For example, millions of Irish have moved in the 20th century to United States in search for better living conditions.
Types of Immigration
Migration, weather it’s disciplinary, legal or not, is a real global phenomenon. The Arab immigration to Western countries is not new. It began in the early 20th century or before. The first migration began in 1945 and ended with oil crisis in 1973. The second flow of Arab began in the 1960s owing to economic and political factors. The century has also seen inter Arab migration
According to a UN statistics, immigrants jumped from 75 million people in 1965 to 120 million people in 1990. In 1990s, the number increased from 140 million to 153 million people including 13 million registered refugees.
The flow to North America has reached 8.6%, and 6.1 % in Western Europe i.e. 12 million in the United States and Canada and 10 million in Europe.
The term 'brain drain' was first introduced by the British after the loss of skilled people e.g. scientists, engineers, doctors who moved abroad especially to Untied States.
Now, the term is generally been used to the highly trained immigrants who leave their countries to other countries.
The UNESCO sees brain drains as reverse phenomenon from developing to developed countries. The phenomenon has worsened the situation in the Arab countries, so these countries resorted to foreign employment to fill in the shortage.
The migration especially of Lebanese, Syria and Algerian to France and Latin America
Began in the 19th century
The volume doubled during the two World Wars. In 1950s, about 25 % to 50 % of the highly-qualified Arabs left their home countries. The mobility has affected the demography and hindered economic and development plans.
According to a report released by the International Migration Organization in 2005, developing countries lost 64.6 of their highly qualified residents in 2000 compared to 46.3 persons in 1990.
According to statistics by the Arab League, ILO, UNESCO and other Arab and international organizations that:
About 100,000 scientists, doctors and engineers leave Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Tunis, Morocco and Algeria annually and that 70 % of the scientists don’t return home.
About 750,000 Arab scientists have left and settled in the United States since 1977.
About 50% of doctors, 23 % of engineers and 15% of scientists move to Europe, United States and Canada.
About 54% of the Arab students studying abroad do not come back.
Arab doctors in Britain constitute 34% of the British doctors.
United States, Britain and Canada attract 75 % of the Arab brain.
Reports have unveiled that Yemen lost 81, 367 qualified people the number aged 20-49 years old during 1994-2000. Migratory people have reached 374,588 people in Egypt during 1996-2000, 72,934 people in Jordan and 31,808 people in Lebanon. Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates are receiving countries.
There are many factors behind the departure of Arab skilled labour. One of the causes is the instability of he labour market. Another reason is that European countries encourage Africa and Asian migration to the West in search of cheap labour.
Some countries may encourage migration because of economic factors. In 1950s , Germany hosted a large number of immigrants to help rebuild the country following the war.
Another reason according to studies, is the lack of manpower, planning and coordination between education system and labour market, political instability, inadequate scientific research and low living conditions.
According to some researchers, atom, missile and space experts are not recruited in their countries because the existing vacancies do no suit their specializations.
It’s reported by American statistics, more than 850,000 skilled people moved from the developing countries - Arab countries- and settled in the United States and Canada in 1960-1987. The US immigration law, amended in 1965 places concern on the coming brain.
Skilled foreign labour carrying university degrees in the
United states is estimated at 170,000 people The majority of those migratory people are Arabs excluding manufacturing, teaching, medicine and scientific and literary fields.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Brain drains is one of the most serious problem hindering development plan in the third world especially Arab countries due to the flow of “human capital” which western countries have availed of to push a head industrial economic and social wealth.
The dilemma doesn’t lie in the exporting of Arab brain rather permanent settlement in those countries. The migration is big economic and technological loss to the developing counties. Undoubtedly, globalisation has encouraged the flow of he highly skilled and trained cadre from the third world countries and settled in the industrialized nations, which provided incentives and entry visa.
Brain drain is serious loss due to the flow of the effective and competent sector of the Arab countries especially oil producing states which are now in bad need for highly skilled and trained employees.
Brain rain affects all level of education in the Arab world which suffer illiteracy estimate at 70 million people. This rate is crucial obstacles of envelopment while scientific and technological competence has became fundamental source of excellence.
The economy can also be affected due to spending on study whether privately or state funded. Education and preparation of each scientist costs 20,000 $US as estimated in 1972. The annual financial loss is now estimate at 1.57 billion $US regardless of social and health impacts.
The migration also widens the gap between rich and poor countries. Brain drain is advantageous to the beneficiary (receiving )countries and loss to countries of origin, because it deprives these countries from the innovations of their subjects. These countries therefore has become technologically and culturally dependent on the West
Brain drain also affects Arab manpower and destabilizes labour market. The departure can be compensated for by the arrival of workers from another country to fill in the shortage. The annual financial loss exceeds 200 billion $US .
By staying away after they finis studying, the students may not fulfil the potential contribution they could make to their countries of origin although the cost is large for the public or private purse.
Some researchers sees that migration can lift lack of contact between languages, custom and communicates and therefore enrich culture
Thus, this brain drain also creates a significant knowledge gap in the sender states, which no longer possess the technical know how because of the migration of labour.
1) Waste of efforts and energies in favour of the western countries, while Arab countries are in need for their contribution in economics, education, health, planning, scientific research and technology.
2) Financial loss as a lot money is spend on education and training of migratory Arabs who are favourable by the western countries for free.
3) Decline of scientific research in the Arab countries compare to contribution of migratory Arabs in the west
We need to do the something in order to tackle this phenomenon through involvement of experts and researchers to design overall plan and revive recruitment. The plan should be compatible with Arab labour convention and exchange of experiences and experiments , seek suitable solution to labour market, follow up the situations of migratory Arab and map out policy in support of Arab skilled labour .
It is to be noted that Arab labour force organization has spared no efforts to be in touch with Arab officials, International Labour Organization (ILO) and Arab Labour Federation to protect migratory labour force and consider their complaints and put final solutions to causes of immigration.
At regional level, the Arab League gave a priority for activates concerning immigration since the Cairo Conference for population and development. It organized a number of meetings to evaluate and revise the policies. The last event was the convention of Arab conference on immigration in collaboration with the International Migration Organization which diagnosed changes in the immigration process crystallizing a framework of work plan in the regional level to tackle immigration issue and revive the role of immigrants in development and regional integration.
The League has also prepared a project and a report to study changes and map out directives and mechanism so drum up support and to boost dialogue.
The Arab communities abroad organized Detroit conference in which a huge mass of experienced people, immigrating and non immigrating Arabs, businessmen and representatives of American and international foundations have taken part, The conference tended to strengthen ties and it was a chance of deep to discuss immigration and development issues.
It was a good idea to recommend naming ministers in the Arab counties to be in charge of immigration. Some Arab countries took an action in this regard such as Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. Capacity building and monitoring of migration have also been considered.
A comprehensive survey should be carried to decide the number of immigrants, their destinations and field of specialization so as to consider their situations to enable Arab countries with surplus of work force to be recruited in the others countries which need them, establish centres for development and scientific researches, cooperate with international and regional corporations and form , provide societies with funds to facilitate the return of immigrants, hold more conferences and cooperate with the UNESCO to establish attractive scientific projects and supervise these centers and revise the wages .
The issue requires more efforts by Arab scientific, political and economic decision-making bodies to alleviate the impacts of the phenomenon
Sudanese expatriates are estimated at 500,000 people, most of them work in the Gulf oil states. Despite the absence of accurate information, Ministry of Labour and Administrative Reform reported that the number of immigration is fluctuating during due to a number of factors. For example, immigration rates decreased immediately after the second Gulf in 1990. It is noted that about 30, 000 immigrants work abroad in 1998.
Recently, Sudan has witnessed a new form of immigration to Europe and America in search for better life style. According to reports, the Sudanese immigrants constitute 90% of the Sudanese labour force.
The phenomenon has serious impacts on the local economy because of the loss of educated and qualified people who had had jobs before they immigrated
Laws and Legislation
No law bans immigration, but sometimes the authorities issue regulations to recruit work force abroad by banning immigration of some jobs such as doctors, but civil servants are allowed if they are on leave. Students dispatched by the government to study abroad are subject to punishment if they don’t return back.
• Empower unemployed people
• Provide better jobs for who have jobs
• Transfer expatriates
Loss of highly-trained labour
Social and family problems
Sudan has exerted intensive efforts to improve the financial situations by increasing salaries at both public and private sectors to eliminate the phenomenon. Doing so, specialized bodies, cooperating with scientific and technological centers, conduct comprehensive survey to identify the exact number of immigrants, their receiving countries and specialization.
Sudanese partnership for knowledge transfer by expatriates nationals (Spakten) was formed to alleviate the negative effects of brain drain and transfer knowledge and avail of the Sudanese experiences .
Avail of the experience of the Sudanese abroad
Create good relations among the expatriates
Set a programme to meet the needs.
Design a system for the exchange of information and technology and knowledge transfer.
Meet corporations’ need for experts
Classify and study vacancies
Easy dealing owing language and cultural similarities among Arabs comparing with foreign consultants.
Coordinate with international organization such as the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Office Project Services
Encourage consultants and experts to join voluntary activity and development
Provide jobs for the different fields so as to reduce brain drain
Create emails for correspondence
Design a programme for urgent contact with experts through the internet .
Young people are the energy, pillar and power of life . They can make social changes, boost development and progress and fight foreign occupation. Arab society witness fundamental changes include all political, economic and social life. The most affected people are young people aged 15-30 years old.
Figures point that youth constitutes on third of the population, but in Arab countries the number they are half of the population because of decline of child mortality and increase of health protection and proper food.
Studies and researches pointed out that the number of young people in the world will be more than half the population in 2025. It’s essential, therefore, to reduce immigration of young people in the future.
It is necessary for Arab countries to coordinate and come up with serious programmes to make youth in touch with their countries of origin enlighten then them on the implications of immigration, intensify national awareness by focussing on the countries’ need for highly qualified people and give special care of the son’s of the immigrants when they are back home and raise national awareness among them.
Encourage youth to ensure social values through understanding, love, brotherliness, useful dialogue and self-capacity building. The government of Sudan represented by the Minister of Youth responded to decisions by the Arab Youth conference held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
An Arab youth voluntary camp, held in Khartoum under the auspices of the Arab League aimed at:
• Deepening brotherliness among Sudanese youth and Arab world.
• Enlightening participants on all areas
• Cementing values of voluntary work and making the people producers rather than consumers
• Ensuring true Arab brotherhood
• Resolving problems facing Arab youth
• Linking Sudan and Arab world.
Juba, capital of Bahr El Jabel State witnessed week of peace and unity which was organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in collaboration with Arab League and 11 Arab countries. About 48 Arab and 13 Sudanese participants have attended the gathering :
The week aimed at offering chance for practising youth and sport activities and developing activities and supporting peace concept among Arab youth.
Linking Sudanese and Arab youth and achieving cultural and social integration
Disseminating peace culture in the affected war areas
Encouraging educational, sports, and intellectual activities for sake of peace and Arab unity.
Sudan has also hosted an Arab youth festival in Khartoum during 7-16 March 2005. 700 participants representing 17 countries were present at the gathering which successful.
List of Sudanese Youth Organizations
Sudanese Boy Scouts Society
Sudanese Girl Scouts Society
Youth Hostels Society
Youth Society for Environment Protection
Al Zahf Al Akhder Organization
Bashir El-Mustagabal Organization
Nidaa Al-Watan Organization
Sudanese Youth Organization for Heritage and Arts
Youth Union for Deaf and Dumb
Youth General Union
Amateur Photographers Society
South Sudan Peace Organization
Sudan has signed agreements on youth sector with Algeria, Kuwait, Egypt and Syria in addition other 13 protocols expected due to signed shortly.