Exodus of skilled labour good for economy long-term – economist


By allowing Ghanaians to engage with the world, the country could achieve the necessary growth that it desires, says Professor of Economics at New York University (NYU), Yaw Nyarko.

Contrary to popular views that the recent exodus of the country’s educated and skilled labour to places where pay and conditions are better could affect the economy negatively, he asserted that it should not be seen as a brain-drain but rather an opportunity for its citizens to engage with the rest of the world for greater benefits.

“Those who are saying we should prevent our nurses and teachers from going abroad are making a mistake. We will not grow unless we engage with the world. We cannot do things by ourselves. Let us encourage people to leave. There is nothing wrong with our skilled people going to other countries for jobs. Too many times I hear words such as brain-drain, we are losing our doctors and nurses – but I do not think that is right,” he argued

The economist, speaking as keynote speaker at the Achimota Speaks event – a platform created by the Old Achimotan Association (OAA) to highlight topical national issues held in Accra, offered a new perspective to debate on the exodus of Ghanaians for pastures green.

This year’s edition was on the topic Ghana a country in crisis: Defining a new economic direction.

Explaining his stance further, he noted that: “Economic analysis has shown that if many people think there is a chance for nurses to leave and get a lot of money abroad, the same notion will compel a lot of people to go into the nursing field – and this will lead to a counterintuitive situation where we still have a lot of them being left behind to work here. And I bet you, the number will even be greater than it would have been if they were not allowed to leave.

“Let them out and probably you will find out that you have even more nurses in the country. You would not be seeing me standing in front of you here as a professor if I was prevented from leaving,” he also said.

He underscored the country’s need to manage its youth dividend well, by encouraging them to go into agriculture and tourism to transform it into an economic hub for West Africa.

“Let us make our road and harbours systems efficient while creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive,” he added.

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