The New Brain Drain from Zimbabwe
All the signs point to the existence of a growing exodus of skilled Zimbabweans from the country. Although the precise dimensions and impacts of this “brain drain” have yet to be determined, the Zimbabwean government has recently sought to stem the tide with various policy measures. The education and health sectors appear to be the hardest hit although professionals in other sectors have also been leaving in numbers. The Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) has undertaken a multi-country study of the brain drain within and from the Southern African Development Community (SADC). SAMP’s primary contribution is to examine the skills base of a country and, on the basis of nationally-representative surveys, determine the future emigration potential of skilled people who remain. In other words, SAMP provides critical policy-relevant information on the likely course of the brain drain in the future and the effectiveness of policy measures that might be deployed to slow or reverse the brain drain. The Zimbabwean survey was conducted in 2001. A representative sample of 900 skilled Zimbabweans was interviewed to obtain information on personal and household economic circumstances; attitudes towards current and future economic, social and political circumstances; likelihood of emigration in the future; and attitudes towards measures designed to keep them in the country. The majority of the respondents (844) were African. Thus, the survey results are focused primarily on the emigration potential of black Zimbabweans.