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Saudi Arabia

Time to check brain drain, warn experts

The Kingdom is making huge financial investments in human resources, but is not being able to effectively stop brain drain like other developing countries, say experts. Some of the reasons for the migration of minds, they say, are bureaucracy and a lack of practical environment or low financial returns.
Shedding light on the reasons behind this migration, Khaled Yahya, a lawyer, said: “We must first have knowledge of statistics to recognize the magnitude of the phenomenon. The Kingdom provides an economically attractive environment but not at the required level. Then there is this bureaucracy which is a main obstacle facing innovation and business performance.”
He said: “Advanced countries are able to provide the scientific, social and economic climate that encourages creative minds to function there. The Kingdom needs more of these attractive factors, and this represents a loss for us and knowledge gain for attractive countries.”
“The reasons for such migration can be attributed to many factors, including corruption, absence of social and political freedom, lack of appreciation of scientific and political skills, in addition to low financial return and expenditures on scientific research, which is nearly 5 percent of public spending. In addition, bureaucracy may force creative minds to work radically far from their specialties,” Yahya said.
Ibrahim Al-Omar, vice rector of Qassim University, said: “Sponsorship of creative human resources should be a main development priority of nations.” He said that the Kingdom is witnessing such a phenomenon due to the scientific progress it has achieved, the huge investment in human resources, and easy communication between scientists, thinkers and experienced people, which make other countries compete to draw competent Saudi minds.
“The authorities concerned should consider this phenomenon to understand its magnitude, determine the reasons and specify migratory scientific disciplines; as such, migration is usually due to financial reasons, lack of an attractive scientific environment and education and health care opportunities,” Al-Omar urged.
“Although the Kingdom acts as a home for many migratory minds, directing efforts to improve the scientific and practical environment could reduce the chances of cross-border migration of distinguished human resources,” he added.

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