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03.01.2006 General News

"Brain drain" a bane to Africa's development

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Accra, Jan. 3, GNA - The brain drain continues to be a bane on the development of Africa and would further stand in the way to achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), a participant at the 57th Annual New Year School, underway the University of Ghana, Legon, noted on Tuesday.

Mr Joseph Kwaku Benyindi, an Assistant Director of Education, who made the observation, questioned the developed countries if they were being fair by attracting trained professionals, who would otherwise have applied their know how to enable Africa to achieve the goals set out in the Development blueprint.

Citing the reduction of child and maternal mortality, one of the targets of the MDG, Mr Benyingi said it was unfair for the developed countries to continue to attract doctors, who were a major part in ensuring the reduction of infant and maternal mortality.

"These countries are strangulating us. When we train the doctors, they take them away. Have they been fair to us?" Mr Benyingi asked at a forum after a symposium on the "Challenges of Meeting the Millennium Development Goals in Ghana", at the School, an extra mural programme of the Institute of Adult Education (IAE), on the broad theme: " Developing the Human Resource for Accelerated National Development."

The MDGs constitute a blueprint of eight specified targets that resulted in negotiations reached in 2000 between developed and developing countries on the way forward for development by the year 2015.

Among the targets are the eradication of hunger and poverty; achievement of universal basic education; promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women and the reduction of child mortality by half. The forum recognised the lack of information flow from development programme initiators to the grassroots to make available knowledge, ownership and participation of other development programmes.

Ms Taaka Awori, Country Director of Action Aid, a nongovernmental organisation, said a survey conducted by her outfit in five regions of Ghana, indicated lack of knowledge of the MDGs, and some of the respondents had never heard of the MDGs, the current Government's development blueprint the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy and its predecessor the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy.

There was intermittent uproar as many of the participants stated that they were hearing about the MDGs for the first time at the School. Mr Winfred Nelson from the National Development Planning Commission said historically the MDGs were not new as all the goals were about poverty reduction.

He said the challenge confronting the nation went beyond integrating the MDGs into the GPRS document and not to run it as a parallel development framework.

Professor Ernest Ayittey, Director of the Institute of Statistical, Economic and Social Research of the University, called for the establishment of permanent structures at the Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as the District Assemblies, to internalise the MDGs at the various levels.

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