African Writer: Canadian Progressives Steal Nigeria’s Young Graduates

Class of 2015 graduating students of the American University of Nigeria in Yola, Adamawa state, celebrate after their commencement ceremony at the school on May 9, 2015. Amongst them is Abubakar Umar, a 26-year-old petroleum chemistry student who survived a Boko Haram attack last November as he travelled home to …
EMMANUEL AREWA/AFP via Getty

Canada’s progressive leaders are helping to strip-mine Nigeria’s core of educated professionals — without regard for the damage it is causing to the developing African country, says an article posted by the Atlantic magazine.

“Thanks to a tweak to an immigration system in [Canada], a developing one has suffered serious consequences, losing skilled professionals—many of whom are highly educated and would be expected to make outsize contributions to a state’s economy, tax income, and society,” says the article by Eromo Egbejule, a journalist in western Africa. He continued:

In Nigeria, the conveyor belt of young talent that is supposed to replace those who are emigrating is whirring slowly, and the impact is apparent: The country’s educational institutions groan under the weight of frequent strikes by underpaid staff protesting poor funding and outdated infrastructure; medical procedures are regularly delayed because of a shortage of specialists; and companies—like Oni’s bank—are closing down entire departments to cope with staff exits.

Middle-class Nigerians, much like citizens of other developing countries, argue that they are leaving to give their families more options and greater security rather than waiting for their own country to realize its potential. It is a familiar story—what is now Africa’s largest economy is no stranger to the departure of its best talents. In the 1970s and ’80s, skilled and semi-skilled Nigerians left the country, mostly for the United States, Britain, and elsewhere in Europe, fleeing the rule of successive military juntas and economic mismanagement. A 2010 report by the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.–based think tank, found that by the late 1970s, about 30,000 Nigerian professionals had graduated from universities and colleges in the United Kingdom but never returned to Africa; by the mid-’80s, 10,000 Nigerians were in the United States, many of them highly skilled. That brain drain had a knock-on effect, opening a route for these immigrants’ relatives to leave Nigeria as well.

The Nigerian government itself appears unperturbed by the outbound migration of its professionals: The labor minister, Chris Ngige, told journalists last year that the country was exporting its best minds because it had a surplus of talent and, in any case, “when they go abroad, they earn money and send [it] back home here.”

Nigeria’s doctors are also being extracted by U.S, European, and Arab governments who refuse to fund training programs for their own would-be-doctors, according to an April 2019 report in Al Jazeera:

Abuja, Nigeria – In March, hundreds of Nigerian doctors gathered at a hotel in Abuja, the capital, and another in Lagos, the country’s commercial centre, to take a test conducted by the Saudi Arabian health ministry.

In a symbol of the Nigerian medical “brain drain”, those yet to migrate must complete foreign exams in order to get work placements abroad.

Weeks before the attempt by Saudi Arabia to lure Nigeria’s greatest medical talents, dozens had sat the regular Professional Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) exams at the British Council. Once they pass, it will enable them to work in the UK.

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“The trend of doctors emigrating to other countries is at an all-time high,” Chike Nwangwu, head of NOIPolls, told Al Jazeera in Abuja. “Our survey … showed that 88 percent of doctors are considering work opportunities abroad.”

Nigeria’s experience provides another example of how migration can damage the home countries, even while it provides cash via remittances to the government and to local elites.

The damage includes the loss of skilled and unskilled workers — and the resulting expectations that others will leave instead of providing stable workforces for investors.

The same damage has been caused to Central America by America’s welcome towards mass migration from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Three million Central Americans, or almost 10 percent of the combined populations of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, migrated into the United States before 2018, mostly for economic reasons, says a December 2019 report by the Inter-American Development Bank.

The Central American migrant population is a mix of relatively prosperous migrants and sidelined indigenous Indians, according to the Spanish-language survey, which was reported by estrategiaynegocios.net:

The profile of the recent migrant from these three Central American countries is a young person .. Their educational level is low compared to other migrants in the United States, but high compared to their country of origin.

The migrants moved to take jobs offered by companies, with the tactic endorsement of American progressives and establishment conservatives, causing huge damage to the migrants’ home countries. But President Donald Trump’s rising deportation of migrants from the United States provides those countries with a new supply of U.S.-trained workers and managers, the bank survey said:

The return migration can represent an opportunity for the countries since they have a human capital greater than that of the local population, knowledge of the English language, work experiences in that country, and even savings, which would allow them to make fundamental contributions to the growth of the economies of their countries.

The data is based on a survey of 1,859 migrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, who arrived in the United States after 2007.  The surveyed migrants were living in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC.

In 2018, an op-ed in Breitbart described some of the damage caused by extensive migration from Mexico and the Central American countries:

An estimated 30 percent of Mexico’s scientific and engineering grads and 10 percent of its university-educated population in general, were living abroad (the U.S. mostly) in 1990; figures which had increased by 2000.

The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization for the Americas have all found similar debilitating rates for the rest of the region.

The latter cited El Salvador as the worst hit, noting that “one out of every five Salvadorans currently lives outside of the country [which has] provoked a parallel exhaustion of qualified human resources.” This, they say, had caused “a scenario in which less than 11 percent of Salvadorans [have] tertiary education.” Draining an already underdeveloped nation of its best and brightest reduces any prospect of establishing a knowledge-based economy, and disincentivizes their political elite from investing in sorely needed educational infrastructure.

This damage adds up to intellectual colonialism, in which the superpower to the north plunders and loots the skilled labor from its poorer neighbors and condemns them to a bleak future.

The deportation opportunity is the flipside of claims by U.S. investors that migration provides them with additional U.S.-based skilled and unskilled workers, consumers, and renters to curb wages, boost returns, and spike rents.

 

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