Brain drain cripples Zim

Brain drain

UNFULFILLED electoral promises of creating an environment conducive to youth development by the Zanu PF-led government in 2018 have fuelled a mass exodus of young people to faraway lands in search of greener pastures.

In the run-up to the 2018 harmonised plebiscite, President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to create jobs and opportunities for the youth.

Mnangagwa’s manifesto described how the youths were going to benefit from his presidency through youth business incubation hubs to promote youth entrepreneurship, facilitate youth ownership and control of productive resources including land and mineral claims and encourage local authorities to set youth quotas for allocation of stands and houses, among other things.

Four years into his reign, the majority of young Zimbabweans are reeling from abject poverty and struggling to find means that can necessitate a decent life.

Resultantly, a preponderant figure of disgruntled youths has decided to leave their motherland in the hope of finding a better life abroad.

An investigation by the Zimbabwe Independent showed winding queues at some embassies in the capital with youths desperate to process documents that would see them get a new lease of life in Europe and the Americas.

The Canadian, United States (US), and United Kingdom (UK) embassies, among others, have of late been a hive of activity with young people applying for visas to leave Zimbabwe.

The Independent noted that the majority of the people in the queues are aged between 22 and 35 years, the highly productive age group.

“I graduated with a Sociology degree from the University of Zimbabwe four years ago but have not been able to find decent employment. I seek to relocate to Canada in the hope that if I further my education, I might be able to find a decent job with a proper salary.

“The truth is there is nothing to look forward to in this country for young people, especially if they are not connected to the political elite,” said a 23-year-old lady who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Those formally employed are also leaving arguing that the meagre salaries are incapable of facilitating a decent life.

The Independent noted that Ireland has become a popular destination for qualified personnel particularly those in the health sector. A 26-year-old radiologist is also on the verge of leaving the country for Ireland where he is guaranteed a €178 095 (US$176 636) salary per annum which translates to US$14 720 per month. Radiologists in the country’s earn an average of  US$200 a month salary in local currency.

The UK’s quest to replace its depleted health personnel figures which tumbled following the ravaging effects of Covid-19 has made the country a popular destination for Zimbabwean youths who are leaving their jobs to work as caregivers.

Interviews by the Independent revealed that the youths have lost trust in political solutions.

Analyst Jethro Makumbe attributed the youth flight to poor governance.

“The government of the day has promised more and delivered very little, if anything, to address the plight of the youths. Young people are disgruntled especially when they compare the lives they are leading with those of their peers in other countries.

“The idea of nyika inovakwa nevene vayo (a country is built by its owners) is political rhetoric which does not benefit the youths because their efforts to build the nation go unnoticed,” Makumbe said.

Another analyst Tanaka Mandizvidza said the mass exodus of youths was not a new phenomenon across the globe.

“At one time Taiwan saw about 80% of its students leaving the country for the United States. It was crippling but the government of China in liaison with the Taiwan government implemented an ambitious programme to recruit the highly trained youths from overseas,” Mandizvidza said.

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