Reverse Brain Drain

November 9, 2010

The morning started with great discussion during the breakfast and continued while refressing rain hindered us to go for a walk. Mike and Nason gave interesting insight for programmer and technology perspectives as master mind Ken Banks clarified how donor funded start-ups can grow unsustainable. However, the most fun we had when using football metaphor to clarify the mobile ecosystem. ”Arsenal is the open source model for Premier League” concluded Mr. Banks. These guys have beautiful minds and have contributed and will sure continue to contribute on global development.

However, the fundamental change comes from somewhere else. I had an honor to meet Ali Jjunju who is the CEO of Buddusoft which he runs with my research collegue in Aalto University. Both Ugandan in origen, they are developing mobile services for Eastern Africa.

So, what makes Ali so special? Lets take a deeper look. Ali has spend 14 years studying and working in Finland and Denmark. Now he is bridging the knowledge rich and technology saturated Finland to resource scarce and demand saturated Eastern Africa. To better understand importance of Ali’s work, we need to look on history. Finland industrialized while paying their war dept to Russians. South Korea turned brain drain to US in 50s and 60s to reverse brain drain in 70s. Finland worked hard to build their society, but South Korean case is the most interesting. In early 1960s most of the South Korean PhDs resided in USA, while only few remained in South Korea. Progressive policies promoted by higher level politics from late 1960s, started to bring brain power back home. It was not an accident that company like Samsung discovered new industries as consumer electronics in late 60s. In addition, Chile created a base for relalitively sustainable economic growth with the help of ”Chicago boys in 70s”.

Ali has a strong drive on contributing on global well-being while building his own capacity on telecommunication industry. He has never got any funding. He moves like a feather and stings like a bee. Be aware World Bank when you call these people as the most laziest in Eastern Africa.

computer labs
Makerere University computer labs

Three letters describe this World Bank ivory tower report –> WTF! It is not going to hurt so much to come down here to see what is happening. Lets give Ugandans freedom to build their own society with their own resources.

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