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Brain Drain and Its Impact on Ethiopia's Higher Learning Institutions: Medical Establishments and the Military Academies Between 1970s and 2000

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Africa is beset with problems that range from natural calamities to civil wars and epidemics such as HIV-AIDS. Ironically, countries like Ethiopia, which badly need trained manpower, continued to lose highly skilled professionals, both military and civilian, to Western Europe and the United States. Ethiopia, for instance, loses more than a third of all its students who were sent for further education to Europe and the U.S. This is in addition to those who leave the country for various reasons but refuse to return home and those educated Ethiopians who became refugees in African countries. One of the consequences of the outflow of highly educated Ethiopians is that today there are more Ethiopian professionals, including MDs, working in the U.S. than in Ethiopia. However, not all Ethiopian professionals are successful in practicing their profession. Among these professionals, highly trained military officers constituted the largest group. They end up being taxi drivers and security guards; they represent the worst case of brain drain—brain hemorrhage. My paper will examine the causes and processes of migration of highly educated Ethiopians to the U.S. and its impact on higher education, both military and civilian, and health institutions in Ethiopia—a country with the least developed higher education establishments, even by African standards, and one of the worst HIV-AIDS affected areas in the world.

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