We say the youths are the leaders of tomorrow, the hope of the future. Yet thousands of these same youths stream into the diaspora every year, in hope of a better life. And this is not without very obvious negative implications on our dear continent. Now what becomes of the future we hope for?
For Didier Acouetey, the main obstacle for Africa development is: “A dearth of qualified professionals”. Exactly the reason behind his initiative; the AfricSearch Group, founded in 1996. Whose aim is to lure Africans in the diaspora back home, for multinationals established in Africa. This human resources consulting firm is the first of its kind, based in France, specializing in Africa, with branches in Abidjan, Dakar, Douala, Johannesburg, Lome and other African capitals.
In his interview with OBG, Didier revealed thus; “There certainly has been a brain drain and, while data varies, it is estimated that 70,000 to 100,000 qualified Africans leave each year. Human capital is necessary for development, and economic growth in Africa has varied between 5% and 8% per annum. As such, there is naturally very high demand for skilled labour and Africans who have studied abroad. The needs are not possible to quantify, but to compensate those who leave; some have to come back, assuming the labour market can absorb them. Many leave due to weak job markets, but the skills the diaspora have gained abroad are useful for African economies, including the public sector. The diaspora also participates by sending money transfers, which now match levels of international aid at around $50bn per year. Yet, this money supports consumption, and thus has a limited effect on development and investment. In addition, there are several investment funds and platforms run by the diaspora that contribute to the continent’s development.”
His creation has accentuated the need to raise human capital in Africa. For if we must build the continent then everyone must get to work and like soldiers, we all must be at our various posts, discharging our duties with dedication and hope.
Didier is passionate about several things, but one of them stand out; the need for African development. Through the AfricSearch initiative, he has helped recruit more than 1,500 Africans, giving them the opportunity to participate in the development of their continent.
The business expert currently has clients calling from around the globe, “95% of our clients are international corporations like Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Shell, Citibank, France Telecom, the others are large African companies or African institutions, like the West African Development Bank or the Central African Development Bank.”
Before founding the AfricSearch Group, Didier had worked in an advertising and packaging industry as Strategic, Sales and Marketing Director. From 1994 to 1997 he showed an early interest in Africa’s development and political issues, as President of “Renaissance Africaine”, an international association involved in promoting a new development strategy for the African continent.
Didier is the Chairman of the CIAN Education-Training’s Commission (French Investors Council in Sub-Saharan Africa) and Vice-chairman of ‘’Africa Agenda & Action’’, a network of young African leaders aiming to promote a new African leadership and to turn Africa into a real economic power.
He has also contributed immensely to the creation of the first Africa-South-East Asia Chamber of Commerce in Singapore in 2010.
Didier has become a regular feature on various television stations, radio, magazines and newspapers; particularly on “Radio France International” (a popular international radio in francophone African countries) on which he provides on air analysis for radio program on education and skills in Africa.
The business specialist laments about the state of things in Africa which actually make it difficult for the Africans in the diaspora to return, he says if these sons must retrace their steps then they should be given good reasons to. To him, some conditions are basic;
“The first condition is environmental, with war and dangerous living conditions being deal-breakers. The political situation also has to be tolerable. Third, job quality must be enticing. Fourth, financial conditions are also necessary. If all four of these can be met, Africans abroad will return. To avoid having others leave, it is necessary for the continent to provide good education locally and to reduce unemployment rates.”
Mr. Acouetey is a graduate from the Arts et Métiers school in Paris, and holds a Bachelors degree and a MBA from the “ESCP EAP”, one of the top French business schools in the wor.