Human Flight and Brain Drain
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Human Flight and Brain Drain

Human Flight and Brain Drain, a serious human capital issue has become a problem in many developing countries. The Human Flight and Brain drain indicator of the Fragile State Index considers the economic impact of human displacement (for economic or political reasons) and the consequences this may have on a country’s development. Human flight and brain drain either can be voluntary emigration of people or forced displacement of people. The population mostly affected by this is the economically productive sector.

Why do people flee a country for another?

A major reason for human flight and brain drain is economic deterioration in home countries. By economic deterioration, we mean worsening economic situations such as low GDP growth rates, high or hyperinflation, a country’s currency getting weaker compared to other currencies, poor economic policies or policies targeted to favor the elites or ruling class, and difficult conditions of doing business.

Actual or feared persecution or repression is another reason for human flight and brain drain. This can be attributed to the security of lives and properties. When people feel threatened, they tend to relocate from the insecure location to a secured zone. Political unrest, kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, war, etc will cause the economically productive segment of any sector to relocate in addition to political oppression.

Another well-known factor is the lack of infrastructure, which can be tied to a lack of good leadership. The availability of basic infrastructure is important in any economy. People want to ply good roads, want electricity, want social safety programs, and better living conditions. Where all these are in place, citizens of such countries will no longer see another country as a safe zone. Any increase in human capital deficiency may therefore be averted.

In all these, people move with the hope of better opportunities. This emigration can be devastating for any country, most especially countries with small populations. In the Human Flight and Brain Drain Index 2021, Samoa with an index score of 9.9 out of 10, topped the world. Samoa is a small island where all its economically productive population is emigrating mostly to the United States. This is not so good for the country. In Africa, Somalia tops the continent in human flight and brain drain. The high rate of human flight and brain drain in Somalia can be attributed to the political unrest or tension in the country.

All these factors are harmful to human capital development because if the people who are supposed to help develop their country leave for a better country, how will the country grow? In as much as we support global partnership and overseas programs as an organization, it becomes very disastrous if and when everyone dumps the country for a better one because it will lead to human capital loss. The higher the human flight and brain drain index, the greater the human displacement.

If been examined from another point of view, human flight can result in brain gain if citizens emigrate and return to their country.

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