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TOKTEN, Brain Drain and Human Development

A large number of the world’s most able professionals were born in developing countries. Today, hundreds of thousands of skilled men and women from those countries live, work and choose to settle abroad permanently.

The major factors for the brain drain are lack of employment opportunities, salary differentials, disparity between professional competence acquired through education, job dissatisfaction, cumbersome employment procedures and abrasive institutional setting.

This ever-persistent brain drain has deprived developing countries of the expertise of thousands of their most talented people at a time when their skills are desperately needed. This phenomenon reduces the quantity and quality of human capital available to countries working towards sustainable development

Evidently, the difficulties generated by migration, or the circulation of human capital in international market, not only emanate from the loss of absolute number, as from the loss of a critical few highly qualified professional. The narrower the human resource base the more significant is the loss of even a small number of highly trained people.

TOKTEN has proved to be a practical and effective scheme for transferring advanced knowledge and skills in cost-effective ways.

Fortunately, nature has endowed us with a strong homing instinct. The desire to return to one’s place of birth, to give something back of knowledge gained, is what motivates TOKTEN volunteers.

This TOKTEN mechanism is particularly relevant today, as many countries in various part of the world modify their political systems, making it possible for motivated and talented men and women to return for short-term consultancies in support of development efforts in their countries of origin.