My Legon friends want to leave the country 

Emmanuel Owusu Agyei AMPEM

It’s a sunny Thursday morning. Normal daily activities going on, the hawkers on the street in front of my office are no longer there. The streets look blazingly clear, I peeped through my office window down unto the streets to draw inspiration from the moving classy cars.

A colleague suddenly calls and breaks the news about his sister’s (who is a medical doctor) forthcoming wedding and that I should suggest to him a type of Jacket to wear. He further explained that his sister (Ghanaian trained doctor) has come from New York to marry in Ghana.

I then ask, “why would she come down here to just marry, is the guy in Ghana also?” Then he replies, “oh no! The guy is her colleague doctor in New York, NYU Langone Hospital.”. Both are Ghanaian trained doctors from the University of Ghana medical School.

After the call, I then analyzed the whole conversation. Two Ghanaian trained doctors decided to work in New York but not in Ghana, why? Is this not brain drain?

After a short while, Kwaku Asante, another friend of mine, calls to complain of his rent at Lakeside and the trauma he has to go through before getting to work at 7 am each day.

As a young graduate from Legon, he’s forced to pay GH¢600 monthly rent fees. Aside that, he paid for two years advanced payment as demanded by the landlord. This, I believe, is the problem of many young people in Ghana. How do landlords expect national service personnel or young graduates to pay two years advanced rent charge?

As I was thinking about all these, I chanced on a colleague’s posts on his WhatsApp status, “Please pray for NSS personnels, the end is near.” Though this seemed very funny, it is also very worrying and deep. My friends are always terrified and troubled because national service will end soon, companies have already started recruiting new personnel.

This is a clear indication that, before you will be maintained at your post of service, unless your creator intervenes. Jobs are also very difficult to get these days, the system seems frustrating, our ladies are now on Snapchat doing hook ups, everyone is selling, the ones that can afford are doing Bolt and Uber business, so frustrating. As these plights become glaring, all my friends plan to leave this country.

I know great potentials, their passion to serve this country, the brains to help change things in Ghana, but if they stay, where are the jobs for them? After deep thoughts, I now understand why both lovers are working in New York City.

Every young graduate wants to leave for overseas for hope and greener pastures. My colleagues, including student doctors, nurses and engineers who can support Ghana’s future, all crave for a better life elsewhere. Brain drain is killing us slowly as a country. Aside the positive effect of foreign remittances on the economy (contributes about 2 percent to GDP), it slows economic growth because we are losing highly trained citizens who could have increased productivity.

Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan association that is concerned with providing information revealed that, about 75 percent of Ghanaians are likely to leave for abroad immediately, should they be given the opportunity. In Ghana, migration accounts for the loss of not less than 40 percent of human resource. This reality has hindered economic development.

Since 1997, the International Organization for Migration has analyzed that Africa’s rapid migration has cost US$9 billion in the loss of its human capital and growth potential.

According to the Ghana Immigration Service, 187,252 Ghanaians left in 2014, 268,149 left in 2015 and 293,754 Ghanaians left in 2016. This regular annual escalation has caused a shake in the economy. I am only concerned because, these scare me each night, should I also stay?

As Adam Smith states, the prosperity and success of a country is determined by the skills, efficiency, attitudes and efforts of the labour used by that country. If we are going to lose our trained doctors, nurses, accountants and other professionals each day, it becomes worrying….

Dear Friends, let’s fight for the betterment of this country.

>>>The writer is the Lead Convenor of Ghana Youth Economic Forum. He can be reached on [email protected]

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