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Africa Law Institute :: Harnessing African Talent
 
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Many African countries suffer from an acute shortage of qualified human resources. A massive exodus of university graduates and professionals such as doctors, lawyers and engineers each year has contributed to this shortage. Thousands of Africans migrate from the continent to pursue better opportunities or to escape from unbearable political, social or economic conditions. The resulting brain drain has increased the dependency of African countries on costly foreign expertise in many areas, including the legal profession. As most of the educated Africans who leave the continent annually never return to contribute to their home countries’ development, the result is a loss of vital human resources that further compounds Africa’s development problems. In addition, studies reveal that because of out-migration, the impoverished countries of Africa lose millions of dollars invested in the training of their nationals to developed countries.

By harnessing indigenous African talent for our research and law reform programs, and as a small part of the effort that should be undertaken to transform Africa’s brain drain into a brain gain, the Institute will collaborate with experienced partners such as the International Organization for Migration to assist African governments in achieving their human resource objectives in the legal field and related areas of the social sciences.

As part of this, the Institute will work with African governments and other partners to establish a Return of African Legal Talent Program to facilitate the return or transfer of vital legal skills and resources of the African diaspora to meet the development needs of their home countries. As part of this, the Institute will establish a web-based African Legal Skills Bank — a database that will capture the profiles of African lawyers from throughout the world. The database will be used to identify the African attorneys willing to contribute to their countries of origin by returning there permanently or for short stays. In addition to short or long-term return where desired, virtual or tele-work opportunities will be made available for those who prefer to work from overseas.