Brain drain is hurting Lesotho’s economic prospects

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LESOTHO is said to enjoy high levels of literacy with some liberal estimates putting the literacy rate at 80 percent.
With such alleged levels of literacy one can have genuine reasons to question bitterly the status quo in this country.
Evidence can merely be assessed through all sorts of statistics such as the doing business reports, HIV/Aids rankings in Africa, human development index published by the UNDP in 2008 which apparently states that Lesotho is one of the 50 poorest countries in the world.
Now, aspects like these really turn to make me restless particularly with talks looming about a tripartite regional cooperation which has as its main objective harmonising free movement of not only goods but human capital as well.
It is a well known fact that we have been suffering massive human capital flight over the years due to factors that we probably cannot control in the short run such as political instability, lack of opportunities in terms of jobs, poor working conditions and several other reasons.
The question now is: Is Lesotho as a member of the Southern African Development Co-operation going to support yet another mechanism which is definitely going to stimulate the economic cost of which it is already suffering from as a result of brain drain?
However it would be very naïve of me to look at this only in the negative context of a probable exaggerated brain drain issue.
I am quite aware of the likely benefits that might come with it.
It has been proved by famous economics theorists such as Adam Smith (absolute advantage), David Ricardo (comparative advantage) that trade between two or more countries is important regardless of whether the other is absolutely efficient over the other.
The integration will also provide entrepreneurs in respective countries with a larger market of approximately 580 million people which includes Kenya and Egypt which constitute one of the biggest markets in Africa.
According to a South African newspaper the current chairperson of the Lesotho Electricity Authority, Zola Tsotsi, is likely to be appointed chairperson of South Africa’s parastatal, Eskom.
The South African government purged the Eskom board including the chairperson recently.
Tsotsi is a chemical engineer who was a corporate consultant at Eskom between 2000 and 2004 and a corporate strategy manager at the utility between 1997 and 2000.
He has also headed the boards of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority and the Lesotho Electricity Corporation.
The above mentioned is just one of numerous other Basotho who have crossed over to South Africa and are contributing massively particularly towards its economic development.
Now, it is worth mentioning that the issue of brain-drain is not an issue that is only faced by Lesotho as country but is a phenomenon that most countries are battling with especially the developing countries while the developed countries on the other hand enjoy brain gain.
However, as universal this problem may be the most sickening aspect of it is our government’s lack of action to address such a critical issue.
It is high time that our government studies and puts into action factors that will make it possible for our professionals to stay here in Lesotho.
This is in spite of the fact that our neighbour, South Africa, remains an attractive destination for our own home-bred experts.
This means whatever actions are implemented have to be very powerful as it has become such an attractive environment for human capital; the situation is further intensified by South Africa’s proximity.
Let me go back to the issue of the Lesotho Electricity Corporation that I mentioned earlier on.
First of all, it is faced with an issue of replacement, training the incumbent who will obviously make some mistakes or damages after training.
As soon as he is perfect he will start to search elsewhere to further exploit his potential.
This gruesome chain reaction is something we are experiencing day-in and day-out and is continuously hurting our local businesses. And what is our government doing?

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