Africa Needs to Scrap the Overused Term ‘Brain Drain’ According to Start-Ups


Meta Description: Referring to offshore big tech companies as ‘Brain Drain’ does more harm than good and the IT sector in Africa should seriously reconsider using this term.

Several startup CEOs across the African continent assert the school of thought that in terms of technology, the phrase “brain drain” is out of date. The expansion of local tech and economies is being fueled by the ability of Africa’s tech talent to be employed by any firm in the globe while continuing to reside in their native nations.

Because Africa gains from the expertise of its professionals employed by Big Tech firms in the US, EU, and China, it’s time we ceased the usage of the term “brain drain.” Timothy Oriedo, CEO and founder of Nairobi-based data science training business Predictive Analytics, says. Furthermore, Africa also relies on these firms for tech tutoring and guidance. 

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One no longer requires a visa or a permit to work in Silicon Valley or Shenzhen thanks to cloud-based solutions and complementary work interfaces like Slack, Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.When the COVID-19 epidemic hit, there was a greater need for IT skills because most professionals could work from home. According to Oriedo, who has taught over 1,200 data scientists in the last three years, the need for cloud skills increased during the pandemic and the prospects for remote employment multiplied. 

Offshore Big Tech Companies are Actually Assisting in Boosting the African IT Talent Pool

Since African IT sector specialists boosted their repertoire of skills and knowledge to meet the ever-growing requirements for workers with sophisticated technological prowess, they, in the process, became much more appealing prospects to tech MNCs around the world. This includes firms like Google, Meta, Oracle, IBM, SAP, AWS, and more. Eventually, many of these upskilled tech specialists got recruited by these firms. 

However, since various companies have established facilities throughout the continent, this shouldn’t be considered as a setback for the local sector. Africa needs talent from those who have worked with the finest in the world so we can raise the caliber of our talent, added Oriedo. Big tech companies even provide the investment needed for many African-based start-up entrepreneurs in the continent and free training in contemporary tech skills.

Oriedo has a different perspective about the holes left by tech experts that work for foreign big tech companies. He views these holes as opportunities for lesser–experienced tech talents from younger generations that can fill in the holes and progress up the hierarchal structure more rapidly. 

Not Everyone Agrees with Perspectives Like Timothy Oriedo’s

Some talent managers in the industry claim that finding junior talent is not difficult, but that finding senior tech talent with a higher level of specialization is rather challenging, with local companies finding it difficult to vie with the incentives that big tech can seduce senior talents with.

Working with Big Tech as a cloud engineer provides you a global view on technology, according to Andrew Mori, founder and CEO of Cape Town-based cloud training firm Deimos, a Google Cloud partner. From this perspective, you can educate other Africans. Mori says that only a few local firms are actually utilizing the continent’s vast tech talent pool and so big tech MNCs taking away the talent is actually a call for Africa to be more independent in the future.  

’Brain Drain’ is a Thing of the Past

Through a mentorship program that combines senior engineers with more junior, aspirant engineers, Mori hopes to assist the continent in producing 10 million engineers. He believes that “brain drain” is a thing of the past because he virtually taught and employed cloud engineers in Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania himself. 

Mori says the reason big tech staff in African-based offices should hire African professionals is that lots of companies splurge on hiring non-African IT specialists and these engineers simply cannot relate to the localized challenges of Africa. This is why Mori’s firm Deimos presents homegrown talents with a paid apprenticeship, coding boot camps and guidance to trainees. As long as global corporations continue to source talent from Africa, the continent will soon become an IT talent livewire. 

Fred Swaniker, CEO of ALX, claims that by eliminating training costs, Africa would increase its existing 2.6% share of the worldwide software engineering industry. A shortage of up to 85 million IT individuals will be faced globally by 2030. Africa will require more developers than the 716,000 it presently has to help close the gap in technology alone.

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Africa Needs to Scrap the Overused Term ‘Brain Drain’ According to Start-Ups

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