In order to create the enabling environment for African Academicians and Professionals, who will provide solutions to African countries in all fields of human endeavor like technology, science, law, commerce, as well as short to meet the challenges posed by globalization being imposed on the continent in particular and mankind in general some strategies are proposed to achieve these objectives.
1) Setting up a global organization to be known as “International Academy of African Academics and Professionals in Diaspora” (IAAPD). It is envisaged that IAAPD will have branches in all African countries. IAAPD will develop a website for all Africans in Diaspora worldwide which will contain some of the following information;
a) Talent Bank which will contain information about African Academics and Professionals, their location, and area of expertise etc.
b) Concise up to date curriculum vitae of African Academicians and Professionals available online with access based on permission being granted by the website manager or system administrator in consultation with the Academician or Professional.
c) Information about facilities e.g. research institutes/centres, specialized institutions like specialist hospitals, technology parks etc in African countries which can be made available for use by other African Academicians and Professionals.
2) Through cooperation and networking among African nations, there will be the urgent need to create the enabling environment for easy mobility of Academicians and Professionals from one nation to another to render their services to one another for the benefit and development Africa. These objectives can be achieved through some of the following actions:
i) Introduction of a common K-passport in all African countries which will have in built facilities like relaxed work permit, entry visa, and other immigration requirements for African Academicians and Professionals. This will encourage Brain Gain from the present Brain Drain.
ii) Relaxed entry visa, work permit etc. for ease of mobility of African Academics and Professionals. The possibility of granting short term passports of nations they will be going to render their services should also be looked into.
iii) Encouragement of migration of African Academics and Professionals to get long term temporary residency as well as permanent residency in other African nations whose proximity will enable them to render more effective service/ expertise to the continent
iv) African Academics and Professionals in Diaspora should be encouraged to go for their sabbaticals, study/research leave, professional short visit, annual vacations etc. There should be programs like academic staff/professional exchanges, external examiners, postgraduate training, receiving African students in their laboratories etc.
v) There should be access across all African nations for the use of their pooled resources like research institutes/centres, specialized institutions like specialist hospitals, technology parks, data banks, library resources etc.
vi) Provision of competitive salary and fringe benefits.
vii) Consultancy and applied research and technology development/transfer in public research institutes.
viii) Participating in training or research via the network and initiating research and commercialization of products.
ix) Facilitating business contacts.
x) Encourage Academics and Professionals to author books based on Islamic principles which will imply a paradigm shift, and publication of scholarly, professional, and application oriented papers in journals.
In conclusion, even though the brain drain is not a recent phenomenon, it has caused serious developmental problems in African countries over the last few years. The African continent is losing more skilled people every year. A project like IAAPD can be invaluable in recapturing some of the lost skills. However, we realize that the success of IAAPD depends on amongst other factors, the willingness and commitment of the expatriates, getting trusted relationships with political leaders etc. It is also important to go beyond just setting up the network, but ensuring that it is self-sustainable.