Laura Freschi at AidWatch lists four ways in which the brain drain from Africa is a good thing. Her analysis includes (a) gains to the migrants; (b) gains to the migrants’ families; (c)the benefits of exchange of ideas; and (d) the stimulation of the accumulation of skills.
This is consistent with what Michael Clemens at CGD has been saying for a while. (Take a look at his very accessible and interesting article in Foreign Policy, for example).
Yet it remains the received wisdom that industrialised countries should do more to prevent workers from moving from developing countries to rich countries. There is an unappealing alliance between the development activists and the unions to limit the use of medical professionals in the British National Health Service.
It is becoming increasingly clear that preventing people from developing countries from accessing the labour market in developed country impoverishes poor nations in a the same way as preventing access to our markets for goods and services. Yet this is a campaign that development advocates are strangely reluctant to take on.