Brain drain and South Africa's socioeconomic development: The waves and its effects

Victor H. Mlambo, Toyin Cotties Adetiba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Many African countries are bedeviled with huge losses of human skills, and this, in turn, has affected thier development. From health professionals to teachers, academics and engineers, the continent has lost numerous skilled personnel who ought to be contributing extensively to its socio-economic development. The socio-economic development of a country hinges on the availability of skilled human resources to drive its growth. Brain drain has long being a challenge for South Africa as the country continues to lose skilled professionals to other countries, hence, the unsteady growth of its economy. Using a strict textual analysis of the relevant literature relating to brain drain in South Africa, the study found that the South African government lacks a clear cut policy on how to reduce brain drain, and this will impact the country's socioeconomic development in the long term. Using the theoretical framework of Lee's push and pull theory, the study argues that brain drain in South Africa is reinforced by certain socio-economic factors. The paper concludes that South Africa's vision of becoming Africa's industrial hub may remain a dream if the country fails to put losing its skilled professionals under control.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1942
JournalJournal of Public Affairs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Political Science and International Relations


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