Monday, August 31, 2009

The Exodus Project

In the last few months a number of my friends have moved back home to Ghana from Europe and the US. This has been called a “brain gain” in certain circles but you had to believe there was a “brain drain” to start with. I’ve never really bought into the whole idea of the “brain drain”. Sure, there are exceptions. Consider the case of Ghanaian medical doctors where statistics show that 5 years after medical school 85% of our medical doctors leave Ghana or the other statistics that show there are more Ghanaian tax-payer trained doctors in New York alone than in all of Ghana. These are not people you can replace with ordinary people on the streets.

Have you ever wondered why only African countries have a “brain drain” problem? Me too! I believe some development economist woke up one day and decided that “these Africans are so poor because all their smart people have left the continent”. Just think about this scenario, assuming New York City and California (America’s best and brightest) ceased to exist. Long before the dust settles another Wall Street will rise in Omaha, Nebraska, another Silicon Valley will rise in the mountains of Butte, Montana and Hazlehurst, Georgia will the new Hollywood. So don’t tell me nothin’ about no “brain drain”. We are poor because we haven’t figured out progressive ways to run our lives. But I digressJ!

In the past people moved back to Ghana for seemingly altruistic reasons to “help Ghana develop”. They will make history by helping make Ghana the Sweden of sub-Saharan Africa. Instead, they end up in government positions and get rich overnight.

Needless to say, the tides are turning and I am excited about this exodus of young Ghanaians from the US and Europe back to Ghana. For the first time in our lifetime the almost-depression-recession has made Europe and the US seem less of a sure and stable place to make a living. Tangible recovery in the economic situation in the west is not visible for another 5-10 years. For all these people and many more who are packing their bags as we speak, moving back to Ghana has become an attractive option. Quality of life in Ghana is unparalleled, add the prospects of making decent money working in the private sector, starting a business, or manning the family fortunes. There’s true upside in Ghana.

In the next few months I’ll profile some of these people under “The Exodus Project” title. Watch out for it!


  1. Hi Kodjo - I'm your newest follower and a fellow member of the Ghana Blogging Association.

    Great stuff here. Important stuff. I'll be reading! Please visit my site as well - and follow if you like! :)

  2. Hi Kodjo-
    Stumbled on your blog while looking for something else, and thought I would ask you a question. Nor sure the best way to contact you otherwise. I am a producer for a USA national radio program called "World Vision Report." We would like to feature a popular song from Ghana on our show this week. But I am having trouble finding any TOP 10 radio play charts (or anything similar.) Are you aware of any? Or assuming you have lots of contacts still in Ghana, might you be able to let me know what might be popular in Acra or elsewhere currently? If you could reply by tonight, that would be awesome. Many thanks and keep up the great blog! Chris

  3. @ sorry for the late response! I've been busy travelling. You can reach me at

  4. Actually your wrong about one thing, Iran has the largest brain drain problem. I learned something in law school! ;)-sjk

  5. The person looking for ghanaian music should check