Professor John Oucho, Marie Curie Chair
The Research Problem: People of African origin now live in large numbers in the developed world, notably in the United States, the United Kingdom and France. Among them are Africa's brain drain and Diaspora that span different historical epochs, from the Atlantic slave trade, through the higher-education airlift of the 1960s and 1970s to the present phase of trans-nationalism. The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD, founded in 2001, identifies several areas of the continent's development, among them the human resource development initiative which focuses on three main issues: reversing Africa's brain drain and converting it into brain gain; building and retaining the region's human capacities within it; and deploying the continent's scientific and technological know-how for its development. Against that backdrop, the proposed research wishes to delve into Africa's brain drain and Diaspora in the two European countries and their involvement in the development of their continent of origin. Broadly speaking, three problem areas are identified. First, African emigrants' perceptions, aspirations, apprehensions and their disposition to contribute to Africa's development are crucial in an effort to involve them in the NEPAD agenda. Second, as NEPAD and the G8 have evolved promising working relations, policies and strategies of African countries vis-à-vis the United Kingdom and France have of necessity to address the NEPAD initiative in order to chart a mutually agreed approach to managing migration, in particular Africa's brain drain and Diaspora and their contribution to Africa's development. At issue are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the streamlining of aid, trade, foreign direct investments (FDI) and migrant remittances to Africa. Finally, networks between Africa's emigrants and stayers back home need to be explored to ascertain or redirect their contribution, actual as well as potential, to the region's development.
Proposed Research Sub-themes
For the three years of the Chair holder's tenure, there will be a research sub-theme each year. A team of researchers and students, co-ordinated by the Chair holder, will work on each theme.
Year 1: Participation of Africa's Brain Drain, Migrant Associations, Migrant-Stayer Networks and Diaspora in Africa's Development
Year 2: Changing Gender Relations and Roles Among Africa's Brain Drain and Diaspora
Year 3: NEPAD-United Kingdom and French Partnership in Managing Africa's Brain Gain and Diaspora for European-African Interdependent Development
1st July 2009