Preferences for emigration among skilled citizens in Botswana



Botswana has enjoyed a buoyant economy since the 1980s, and this has made the country attractive to its citizens as well as immigrants from other countries. Although it exported large numbers of migrants to South Africa in the past, very few skilled nationals have left the country to work elsewhere. But, with increasing production of professional Batswana (citizens of Botswana) and limited employment opportunities, it is becoming ever more likely that emigration could soon be an important issue for policy-makers. It is with this background that the Southern African Migration Project decided to conduct an empirical study in Botswana in 1998 to investigate the country's exposure to brain-drain. The results indicate that economic dependency on skilled nationals is fairly high; this partly explains why many are dissatisfied with their income level even though salaries in Botswana are higher than in most African countries. Young people are more inclined to consider emigrating than their older counterparts. Being married serves to deter plans about emigration, while education contributes significantly to a preference to emigrate. The most important reason for contemplating becoming an international labour migrant is anxiety over the prospect of professional advancement. Equally important is the level of income. There is a need for the government to implement actions that would increase employees' confidence in fairness over individual professional and career enhancement. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.