On 5 December 2018, I had the privilege of participating in a seminar at Sophia University alongside Prof. Kweku Ampiah, Prof. Oussouby Sacko and Dr. Kinyua Kithinji on the topic “Towards TICAD 7: Consolidating the African Voices.”

My presentation focussed on whether the ABE Initiative scholarship and internship programme, which is a direct product of the Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development (TICAD), contributes to the human resource development or brain-drain of Africa. Really enjoyed doing research on this topic!

My preliminary conclusion is that there is seemingly not a substantive risk that it could contribute to the brain-drain of Africa. However, from an economic point of view, it could cause a “brain-freeze” if it disrupts the careers of those who left their employment in Africa to join the programme without adding value to their future prospects upon the completion of it.

In fact, it needs to add value that outweighs the work experience and other assets Africans could have gained if they remained employed.

But, if we are truly serious about taking co-ownership of TICAD and be pro-active participants in the development of our own societies, minimising this risk is perhaps a challenge for us Africans to tackle. Expecting even more resources and effort of the Japanese government could contradict our hopes for turning around the narrative on Africa’s development.