The Afrobarometer is a pan-African network that carries out face to face opinion surveys in more than 35 countries each year. The full data is due out later this year, but initial data from nine countries – Ghana, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Mali, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – confirms that educated people are more likely to migrate.
About 65% of the total population of Africa are below the age of 35 years, making Africa the most youthful continent. But many are migrating to other countries, looking for ways to improve their education, or benefit from the education they have already received. In each of the nine countries, younger respondents are more likely to have considered emigrating (19% compared to just 8% for those aged 46-55)
And those with more education are more likely to have thought of emigrating. On average, across the nine surveyed countries, one in five respondents with post-secondary qualifications (20%) say they have thought “a lot” about emigrating, compared to 17% of those with a secondary education, 8% with a primary education, and 8% without any formal education. The new analysis tells us that the proportions are particularly large among post-secondary graduates in Malawi (40%) and Zimbabwe (32%) – two countries marked by high poverty and unemployment, and particularly vulnerable to seek better opportunities abroad, as trained health-care workers, engineers, and other professionals; a case of brain drain.
The top hoped-for destination for these post-secondary educated potential emigrants? North America (24.5%) followed closely by Europe (20%). Twice the amount of young people answered that they would prefer to move to somewhere in North America than elsewhere in Africa.
Striking on top of these findings is the simple statistics that, of all respondents in the nine countries already surveyed, one in six have considered emigration to another country ‘a lot’. Seven out of ten had not considered it ‘at all’. This is the perfect backdrop for the forthcoming 2019 GEM Report on migration, displacement and education, which will show the extent to which education is pivotal for people on the move.
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