Somalia’s Human Capital Flight

English: Somali warriors board British naval b...

Image via Wikipedia

“Alone I can travel fast, but together we can travel far”.

-Somali proverb

Since the collapse of the last government of Somalia in 1991, the best and the brightest of the Somali citizens had fled the country in search of better lives and opportunities abroad. This has caused a “brain drain” in the country. This term “brain drain” is defined on Wikipedia as a large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge.

The political and social instability that prevailed in Somalia led these people to flee the their homeland and settle in countries where they could get political stability, better opportunities, high living standards, freedom and recognition.The latest numbers  by the World Bank says that a staggering 50% of all the educated Somali people had left the country. one can imagine the magnitude and the consequences of such human capital flight can have on a small country like Somalia.

 The ” Somali Diaspora” have settled mainly in the US, Europe, the Middle East and East Africa. They have made huge and  unparalleled contributions to their country in many ways. One special case that deserves much honor and appreciation is the 1 billion US dollar they send every year back to their loved ones  in the form of remittances. This has become the life line of many Somalis back home. But that is not just enough. They need to come back to their beloved country and participate in the rebuilding and rehabilitation of our long suffering nation. Their international exposure, talent, connections, know-how and expertise is much needed in the country and I believe they are the ones that will make the difference.

I know many of you will be saying: why do we need to come back to Somalia, when there is destruction, sectarian violence, tribalism, and never improving economic conditions? That is a great question, but it is also fair to raise another counter argument which is: If you don’t come back and help your own people, then who is going to lead and  save your country? God helps those who help themselves. If you don’t rescue yourself and don’t determine your future then individuals and groups who don’t have the best interest of Somalia in their hearts will hijack and steer the country into anarchy and starvation. So far we have seen what they have done to our country.

Mark Bowden asked this question in a piece for The Philadelphia Enquirer.  His answer was pessimistic:

One of the things Somalia lacks is a capable, homegrown movement of educated, determined nationalists capable of fending off the religious radicals, disarming and controlling the warlords, and standing up for the interests of people who just want a stable, civil society. I wonder whether the drain of Somali talent, money, and ambition to other places in the world — so evident in Minneapolis-St. Paul [with its large Somali population] — isn’t one of the reasons no such movement exists. …

Through out history we have seen/heard many men and women who left their personal interests behind, sacrificed their livelihoods, endangered their lives for a common and just cause, for something beyond them. Lets all put our differences aside and come together. Lets all sacrifice, lead our people and make them believe in the impossible. Lets all hold hands and together bring back the glory of our beloved Somalia to where it once belonged.