Dr. Ayman Kandeel knows well what it means to pursue professional training opportunities. He has used his training and education to pursue a career that has taken him across the world. And while the opportunity is a good thing many times, in extreme amounts, it can create what’s called a “brain drain” for a country as a whole. That’s what has been going on with Egypt, Dr. Kandeel’s home away from home.
While Dr. Kandeel has been regularly busy with charity work and investment vehicles in Cairo and regionally in Egypt, he has also been well aware of how much harder it has become to find skilled talent in-country. Prior to COVID arriving, Egypt had one of the fastest-growing populations in the Middle East. At the same time, the economy of the country was also moving and trying to keep pace. However, Dr. Ayman Kandeel notes that the economic side slammed to a hard stop when the pandemic hit hard. So much depended on international business and tourism, which went ice cold during the rest of 2020. At the same time, prior to the pandemic, Egypt had been trying to figure out how to stop its top talent from leaving internationally for better job opportunities elsewhere. The perfect storm of the pandemic and the lagging economy, Dr. Ayman Kandeel notes, has seriously handicapped Egypt, likely forcing the country to go into heavy dependence on foreign aid again.
The loss of alternative national income sources often comes with drawbacks, program reductions, and economic depression, which translates to the loss of jobs in Egypt or career opportunities. No surprise, Dr. Ayman Kandeel points out, those with professional skills sets are finding themselves in positions with barely enough to making a living on or no work at all. And, necessity ends up driving people, regardless of background, to see better pastures elsewhere, whether engineering, medicine, or science. The COVID-related recession in Egypt has only driven more of its skilled citizens out across borders and elsewhere in the Middle East, Africa, or Europe.
The deficit is profound for Egypt, Dr. Ayman Kandeel reflects. It can take generations to replace the same skill with new, younger citizens coming out of university, and even more painful is the loss of critical experience and practical knowledge. Like many countries in similar situations, Egypt has increasingly relied on outside expertise for its technological growth as the internal brain drain worsens. And that can contribute to internal strains, additional economic depression, and greater domestic poverty as career paths are canceled for citizens and those looking for careers in-country. Dr. Ayman Kandeel also expects more political instability as well.
It’s clear to professionals like Dr. Ayman Kandeel that Egypt’s future depends heavily on the country directly addressing its brain drain problem and providing clear, new opportunities that economically motivate its skilled citizens to stay within borders. Without the change, Dr. Ayman Kandeel believes, Egypt will continue to degrade, contributing to further instability in the region.