What happened to the doctors?

Where have all the doctors gone? That is the headline of an upcoming lecture by NAI researcher Måns Fellesson. He has looked into what happened to the many Africans who got a Swedish doctorate degree within a Sida-funded programme.

For more than three decades the Swedish aid agency Sida has financed researcher programmes in collaboration with Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mozambique, and for a long time also with Uganda and Rwanda. The support is not uncontested.

“There probably is no other form of aid where so much money is invested in a single individual: the researcher. Since poverty reduction always has been at the core of Swedish aid not everyone feels that this is the right level on which to operate. But one has to see the whole picture of course. It is not this individual who should be in focus but rather his or her contributions to the development of the country”, says Måns Fellesson.

Sida’s support to the programmes is done through the so-called sandwich model. This means that the researcher shares his time with the university in his home country and a seat of learning in Sweden. The aim is to simultaneously build research capacity in the home country and to prevent “brain drain”.

In the new research report Academics on the Move Måns Fellesson together with Paula Mählck has investigated what has happened to researchers from Mozambique who have taken part in programmes in collaboration with Swedish universities. This involves in total 160 individuals from the year 1990 until today.

– We draw the conclusion that a majority of them have remained in the country and that many have reached prominent positions in society. And not only as researchers. Some have even become ministers. One conclusion however is that the mobility is relatively small. Researchers in Mozambique have not fully made use of the potential of international cooperation.

Måns Fellesson will speak on this topic as part of a panel at a seminar in Helsinki on 16 November.  

Another panel will be moderated by NAI's director Iina Sori: Mozambique: Challenges to Knowing Development - Whose knowledge counts? What do we get to know? How to we acquire our knowledge? What have we learnt?

The seminar “Mozambique today and tomorrow – challenges of development including some reflections on knowledge, citizenship and democracy in the framework of  the  upcoming elections 2013-14” is organized by Finland-Mozambique Association in cooperation with Kepa, Helsinki University Social Forum Dialogues (Department of Political and Economic Studies), and Nordic Africa Institute.

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