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July 2013: South Africa’s brain gain – the return of the expats

By April 18, 2015October 6th, 2023Newsletter

July 2013: South Africa’s brain gain – the return of the expats

April 18, 2015

The brain drain started in the mid ’70’s when many of South Africa’s brightest university graduates left the country to gain international career experience, influential contacts and prominent positions.

Now, according to Donovan Neale-May, managing partner of the South African Business Link to Experts (Sable) Accelerator, 40 years later there’s a huge pool of South African talent just waiting to be tapped, with many expats interested in coming back home. Could this the start of the country’s brain gain?

The country’s talent migration abroad has created a valuable knowledge network and a latent asset base that can boost South Africa’s competitiveness. “There is a massive pool of predisposed South African expatriate talent waiting to be tapped globally,” comments Neale-May, who is also the chairperson of the Rhodes University Trust USA.

The brain drain could actually translate to a significant brain gain, as confirmed by Rhodes University global alumni survey. A sizeable 72% of Old Rhodian expats living in more than 20 overseas countries believe their skills and knowledge would be useful and valuable to South Africa.

This is not new news to the team. The same sentiment – “I wanna go home!” – was flaunted at the 2013 SA Gemeente Dankfees in the UK.

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