Nigeria’s Future: Persuading US-Educated Nigerians to Come Back Home
Nigeria has one of the strongest economies in Africa. There’s been a steady growth in GDP over the past few years. Despite this, Nigeria has a serious problem managing brain drain. In this post, we’ll look at its future and what it’ll take to persuade US-educated Nigerians to come back home.
Now, granted, Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from Nigeria will help to stem the flow of human capital to America. That’s not going to bring those who have already emigrated home, though. It’s also not going to stop the brain drain – educated Nigerians will just find somewhere else to go.
The Problems As We See Them
According to the World Income Inequality Database, Nigeria’s Gini-coefficient rating was 42.97. This rating is out of 100. It’s designed to measure how wealth is distributed in the country. The higher the number, the more inequality there is in terms of income.
A rating of 42.97 is considered high, but what’s more worrying is the slow progress we’ve been making. The Gini rating for 1959 stood at 46.8. While income inequality is decreasing, it’s worrying that we’ve only moved 3.83 points in 60 years.
Of more concern, perhaps, is that we come in at 27.9 points in terms of the Global Hunger Index for 2019. That classifies Nigeria as having serious hunger issues. The poorest of our poor are not able to feed themselves properly. They certainly don’t have access to adequate healthcare or even schooling.
Lack of Infrastructure
The government has made progress in dealing with socio-economic issues. Unfortunately, there’s not enough progress. Nigerians in rural areas battle to gain access to quality, affordable healthcare, and schooling. State hospitals are generally underfunded and understaffed.
Our unemployment rate is also of concern. In 2018, unemployment hit the 23.1% mark. This is something that we have to change if we hope to get our educated countrymen and women to come home.
By contrast, the American unemployment rate in 2018 was 3.9%. The average American earns 22,428,545 Naira per annum. That’s something that Nigeria just can’t match. Now, granted, the cost of living in America is a lot higher, but many feel it’s worthwhile because of the quality of living.
Access to Tertiary Education
Nigeria must start investing in human capital. According to the World Bank Human Capital Index, Nigeria scores 0.34. This is lower than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa at 0.40 and the global average of 0.57. The average student here can expect to get around 8.2 years of schooling. This indicates that it’s more difficult for Nigerians to matriculate.
Unless something is done, that gap will widen even more. Wealthy families generally send their children abroad to study. With an average private college in the United States costing around 22,428,545 Naira per year, it’s only wealthy people who can afford this.
Nigeria does have good universities, but lecturer strikes can go on for months and are very disruptive.
Is it Hopeless?
We don’t think so. Nigeria is a developing country in a better position than many of its neighbours. We’re known for our entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic. We need to improve our children’s access to quality education and basic health services.
This will require a shift in government spending, but it’s also something that the private sector might be able to help with.
At present, we have challenges that might prevent our countrymen and women coming home. If we can demonstrate a firm willingness to address these issues, we might be able to ask them to come home and assist us.
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