Nigeria has witnessed an uptick in the number of trained skilled workers migrating to other countries. The continued loss of high-skill citizens to developed countries means Nigeria is paying a steep economic price and endangering future local productivity required to sustain the economy.

Recently, Nigeria has witnessed an uptick in the number of trained skilled workers migrating to other countries, particularly to the so-called Western economies in Europe and the Americas. Many of these emigrants are graduates trained in Nigerian universities, which are subsidised by the government. Many of these migrant workers take with them years of training and skills to foreign countries.

“When good doctors leave the country, mortality rate increases. And the people that are leaving the country are also leaving with their families, which is another pipeline of the talent pool,” Funbi Matthew, business management and human resource professional said. Both in the immediate, you are losing talent and for future production, you are also losing talents.”

Matthew further added that there is going to be a shortfall in the quality of leadership that will help to make the Nigerian system better, since talents that study abroad end up staying back and do not import the knowledge here. Similarly, Jennifer Oyelade, director of Transquisite Consulting, an international human resource consultancy said rising insecurities is also one of the biggest stumbling blocks stopping Nigeria from retaining its best talent.

“Ultimately it will also affect foreign investment into Nigeria; if there are no capable hands to see it through to completion; investors will take their business to other countries such as Ghana where their infrastructure is more favourable to their needs,” Oyelade added. Africa’s biggest economy may be amongst the poor counties in the world but it is known to have the best young and bright minds. And many of these bright minds have considered leaving the country or have left for better education, jobs, and security

According to a survey by Afrobarometer, a pan-African research network, conducted between April 26 – May 10, 2017, 1,600 adult Nigerians, more than one in three Nigerians (35 percent) say they have considered emigration. Also, nearly half (45 percent) of adults say they plan to move to another country within five years, by far the highest share among 12 countries surveyed across four continents, a 2018 Pew Research Center survey shows.

Nigeria’s unemployment challenges may continue to worsen as it has been predicted that its workforce will double by 2050. According to US Census Bureau International Data Base (IDB), a global demographic data provider, the estimated working age (15-64) population of some developed countries like South Korea, Japan, Spain, Germany, China, Russia, and Italy will reduce by 27.3 percent, 26.3 percent, 25.4 percent, 21.0 percent, 19 percent, 18.3 percent, and 14.4 percent respectively in 2050 while Nigeria’s own would increase by 120. 8 percent.

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