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The Reverse Transfer of Technology from Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States

  • Bernard I. Logan


This study documents and evaluates the so-called ‘brain drain’ from sub-Saharan Africa to the United States during the period 1974–85. The objective is to use the available data to provide some insights into the rôle of this region in the international labour market for trained personnel. This is done by comparing the relative volume, pattern, and trend of migration to the United States from a sample of 17 countries against that for Africa as a whole, and against that for the world. The rationale for this kind of analysis rests on the need to determine the significance for all concerned of the growing transfer of technology, and to identify the factors which control the process.



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Page 597 note 1 Unctad, , Report of the Group of Governmental Experts on the Reverse Transfer of Technology (Geneva, 1978), p. 13.

Page 598 note 1 Goliber, Thomas, Sub-Saharan Africa: population pressures on development (Washington, D.C., 1985), p. 22.

Page 598 note 2 Psacharopolous, George, Hinchcliffe, Keith, Dougherty, Christopher, and Hollister, Robinson, Manpower Issues in Educational Investment: a consideration of planning processes and techniques (Washington, D.C., 1983), World Bank Staff Working Paper No. 64.

Page 599 note 1 Sources: Population Reference Bureau, Inc., World Population Data Sheet, 1987 (Washington, D.C., 1987), and World Bank Report, 1986 (Washington, D.C., 1986).

Page 600 note 1 Data on migration flows were derived from the U.S. Department of Justice, Statistical rearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Washington, D.C.), passim.

Page 602 note 1 Several of the global studies on the subject have been sponsored by Unctad, , e.g. Technology: development aspects of the reverse transfer of technology (Geneva, 1979), and The Reverse Transfer of Technology: a survey of its main features, causes and policy implications (Geneva, 1979). See also Unesco, , Statistics of Students Abroad (Paris, 1982), and Friborg, Goran (ed.), Brain Drain Statistics: empirical evidence and guidelines (Stockholm, 1975).

Page 602 note 2 Glaser, William, The Migration and Return of Professionals (New York, 1973).

Page 602 note 3 The following Unctad publications provide details of the mechanics of proposed financial compensation strategies: Bhagwati, Jagdish, The Reverse Transfer of Technology (Brain Drain): international resource flow accounting, compensation, taxation and related policy proposals (Geneva, 1978), and Pomp, Richard and Oldman, Oliver, Legal and Administrative Aspects of Compensation, Taxation and Related Policy Measures: suggestions for an optimal policy mix (Geneva, 1978).

Page 602 note 4 Examples of such regional studies include: Oh, T., The Asian Brain Drain: a factual and causal analysis (San Francisco, 1977), and Unctad, , Co-operative Exchange of Skills among Developing Countries (Geneva, 1978).

Page 603 note 1 Unctad, , Case Studies in Reverse Transfer of Technology (Brain Drain): a survey of problems and policies in India (Geneva, 1978).

Page 603 note 2 Ibidin the Philippines (Geneva, 1978).

Page 603 note 3 Ibidin Sri Lanka (Geneva, 1978), and ibidin Pakistan (Geneva, 1978).

Page 603 note 4 One of the few studies that examines the problem in the continent concentrates on North Africa as an extension of the oil economy of the Middle East. See Serageldin, Ismail, Socknat, James, Birks, Stace, Li, Bob, and Sinclair, Clive, Manpower and International Labor Migration in the Middle East and North Africa (London, 1983).

Page 604 note 1 Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Washington, D.C.), passim.

Page 606 note 1 Source: as for Table 2.

Page 608 note 1 Source: as for Table 2. Ad. = those Admitted. P.R. = those granted Permanent Residency.

Page 609 note 1 Source: as for Table 2.

Page 610 note 1 According to the World Bank Report, 1985 (Washington, D.C., 1985), Asia is one of the fastestgrowing regions in the world.

* Assistant Professor of Geography, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia.

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The Reverse Transfer of Technology from Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States

  • Bernard I. Logan


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