Brain Drain, Experts’ Drain Or How To Lose One’s Country Most Strategic Wealth!

Last week, on 15th Mai, 2020, we all saw the press session in the White House, during which Trump has announced the appointment of the committee that will be developing a vaccine against COVID19 within the ”Operation Warp Speed” targeting 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine available by November, 200 million doses by December, and 300 million doses by January 2021.

So far, it is a regular news. For Experts Without Borders, it means a lot!

The president of the just announced committee of the most advanced country in the world is the Moroccan-American-Belgian scientist Moncef Slaoui.

Who is Moncef Slaoui? Chairman of Vaccines

Professional Profile: He is a former pharmaceutical executive of the vaccines division at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a multinational pharmaceutical company based in London. He is a member of the PhRMA and the Biotechnology Industry Organization boards in the USA, and a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of National Institutes of Health. (Huffpost 31.08.2013).

In 2015 he won European approval for the world’s first malaria vaccine (Mosquirix), and when he retired from the drug maker in 2017, GSK had a vaccine for Ebola in development.

Education Path: Slaoui has obtained his Ph. D. from Brussels University on Partial Biology, specialized in Immunity. This came from a family tragedy. His sister passed away from the consequences of a whooping cough … an immunity disease. That took him into a career that would place him at the helm of the development of vital vaccines, taking revenge on that lost.

Expertise Transfer Commitment: Slaoui was always “obsessed” with the commitment of transferring acquired knowledge and high-profile Expertise in molecular biology to his country. He tried to empower public health sector being himself the product of a quality public school. This is the condition to alleviate immunity diseases on a national scale according to him. He struggled to make his country benefit from his global Expertise and give back to the public education of which he has benefited himself.

How Developing Countries lose their most Strategic Wealth: Their Experts!

Moncef Slaoui in his attempt for the last 30 years to gracefully put his Expertise at the service of his country, Morocco through a collaboration with the Medicine Faculty of Rabat, was badly received. Initially, Moroccan officials always approved his ideas of collaboration and even validated his lectures’ plans. But one day later, lectures were … cancelled, with no valid reasons. The same happened in parallel with the Faculty of Medicine of Casablanca.

This is only a recent case showing the deep-rooted phenomena of brain/Experts’ drain in developing countries, and it is by far the unique case of Morocco. Moncef Slaoui is one of many Moroccan scientists who immigrated to find better professional opportunities abroad. This is rather a common “pandemic” depriving those countries from their most skilled work force, their best growth potential and their successful human recourses at their most dynamic age!

The second short listed who competed with Moncef Slaoui to lead the “Operation Warp Speed” US COVID19 committee was … an Algerian-American scientist also! Elias Zerhouni is a radiologist and former head of the National Institutes of Health under President George W. Bush and Art Levinson, CEO of Calico. (by Yassine Benargane, in Yabiladi, Afrique du Nord papers, 15.05.2020). Both were the last 2 finalists …

This is the most serious haemorrhage draining developing countries from their most precious and STARTEGIC WEALTH!

What are the Pull Factors?

Benefits from leaving the country are very important for those Experts. It might be a better study opportunity, better economic prospects, greater employment possibilities according to Expertise field, higher salary and income, more interesting position, fill the technology gap for some, a higher quality of life, more security and political stability … Or simply, the call for an inner-fulfilment, the reply to a curiosity, the will of discovery, the need of living new experiences, challenges in different horizons!

The High Price of Experts’ Drain

The brain drain means that developing countries can struggle to develop because their best-skilled Experts leave the economy. This is translated concretely in so many negative aspects, such as the less tax revenue from losing income tax, decline in competitiveness, loses potential entrepreneurs and it leads overall to a shortage of key skilled professionals and the underleveraging of the general countries’ competencies.

Tunisia being part of the North African Experts’ Drain issue is experiencing a very dangerous loss of its best skilled Experts too. Out of 7,000 engineers trained each year in Tunisia, around 2,500 leave the country, the majority for France, regretted Mohamed Amine Kouraichi, head of Information and Communication Office of the Tunisian Guild of Engineers (2017).

Doctors as well are massively leaving towards France and Germany within a scaring pace, accepted as just “Associated Trainees”! They know they will receive a very low salary (only 40% of their French colleagues’ salary and working double-shifts). They know as well they will not be received nicely by French society. They will always have a precarious residence status and risk to be requested to leave at any time with no reasons. Today, they are serving on the front line of the war against COVID19 in almost all French hospitals.

The share of young doctors who went into exile rose from 9% in 2012 to 45% in 2017. Each year, between 200 to 300 medical specialists leave the country mainly for France, Germany and Canada. They are so desperate to leave, that they leave with no-return plans in their head!
(Frida Dahmani, in “Tunisie: La fuite des cerveaux s’acélère”, jeuneafrique & information, 09.05.2018).

A Cry of Despair, A Call for LIFE!

Are officials in these countries afraid of their own children intelligence? Do they feel so unsecure intellectually, so that they need to discard any potential shadowing? Or do they simply hate brilliant and successful Experts coming back to help! There is no doubt that when you have no accountability, meritocracy is destroyed…

However, even though “Experts’ drain creates a kind of a temporary lack of skilled professionals, whoever leaves for 10 years, can save a 100 years on her/his return”, according to Mohamed Belarbi, the National Project Coordinator at the International Labor Organization (ILO).


We at Experts Without Borders, hold this issue deep in our hearts being strongly committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Experts drain is one of our concerns that our institution is tackling through the intrinsic concept and business model of EWB using innovation and disruptive procedures.

We offer to our highly qualified Experts and enjoying an outstanding expertise each in her/his field to be accredited on the Blockchain and be part of “la crème de la crème” from every nation throughout the world. EWB’s appropriate process provides them a global visibility, recognition, and an access to worldwide missions and helps in keeping them rooted in their environment and stable in their countries while working on other projects in parallel.

Please have a look on our web site to know more about Experts Without Borders Federation

Hayet Bouzid
Business Development Officer
Member of the Executive Committee