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Reverse brain drain: 'African Lion' economies vs West’s fast track

One Kenyan – like tens of thousands of fellow Africans in a new reverse brain drain – leaves a career in a foreign country for a sunny future back home. Developing nations are experiencing a 'brain gain' as the global recession makes their best and brightest see opportunity in places they once fled.


Sitati Kituyi, a Kenyan computer software developer, in his office in Nairobi, where he works after leaving a career in Britain to return home earlier in 2012. This is part of the "Great Brain Gain" cover-story project in the Oct. 22 issue of The Christian Science MonitorWeekly magazine.

Mike Pflanz

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It was the daily four-hour round-trip commute, in a series of cramped and silent trains from one side of London to the other, that got to Sitati Kituyi in the end.

By all measures, the Kenyan was on what he describes as "a set path" to success. The computer-engineering graduate from the University of Manchester, in northern England, had left his family when he was 18 to seek training and the career he'd always dreamed about in the West. Within 18 months of leaving university, he was on the fast track to a position as a senior analyst in a respected information technology consultancy with a clutch of blue-chip clients.

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But then one day late last year, he realized that wasn't the path he wanted. Sure, he missed his family, and his girlfriend, and the energy of Nairobi, his home city on the plains beneath the endless skies. But more than that, he had the nagging feeling that he was missing out; that back in Kenya, classmates and peers were forging ahead, running their own firms by their mid-20s, making money, breaking new ground with the new tech tools just seeping into Nairobi's nascent information technology industry.


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