A project backed by UNESCO and Hewlett-Packard, aimed at reversing the brain drain from African and Arab countries, believes it has contributed significantly to strengthening teaching and research in selected universities. The Brain Gain Initiative turned 10 years old this year.
A partnership between UNESCO and California-based Hewlett-Packard, or HP, the project uses grid and cloud computing technology to empower lecturers and students who have stayed in their home countries, to engage in real-time scientific collaboration and research with those who have left.
The main aim of the project is to advance science and technology in Africa and the Arab world, according to Stamenka Uvalic-Trumbic, former chief of higher education at the UN agency, current head of the reform, innovation and quality assurance section and an international higher education expert.
“Through the project we have established that talented African and Arab expatriates abroad can still play a meaningful role in their countries’ development agenda,” Uvalic-Trumbic told University World News in an interview.
She noted that the UNESCO-HP partnership, which began in 2003, had expanded the Brain Gain Initiative to cover 19 universities in the Middle East and Africa.
The universities participating in the project are in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Academics in these countries have been using grid and cloud computing technologies to link up with counterparts in the diaspora to implement joint research.