ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President told global leaders that brain drain from the South to the North and the resulting loss of educated manpower was a threat to the development of science, technology and innovation of the South.
Addressing Heads of State and Governments of the G77 and China summit in Havana, Cuba yesterday (15) President Ranil Wickremesinghe said the Global North should compensate for the mass exodus of professionals from the Global South, amidst the pandemic and livelihood crises.
“We must ask for compensation from the North for the loss of our manpower,” he said, according to a statement released by the President’s Media Division.
The President said that the pandemic, and food, energy, climate and fertiliser crises were causes for the exacerbation of the global debt crisis, and setbacks to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Global South.
Official data reveals that in 2022, 14,307 professionals left Sri Lanka, a significant increase from the 8,373 that left in 2021 and 2,957 in 2020.
Emphasising a “new technological divide” emerging in the 21st century, Wickremesinghe said that the adoption of digitalization and new technologies, such as big data, IoT, AI, blockchain, biotechnology and genome sequencing, as key to bridging the gap.
He also urged increased South-South cooperation and proposed a scheme akin to the Colombo Plan to enhance collaboration, exchange best practices and develop policies that harness the transformational potential of science, technology and innovation.
President Wickremesinghe reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to supporting the new Havana Declaration and called for the collective voice of G77 and China to be heard in international fora, and effective cooperation mechanisms within the G77 and China.
The G77 is a bloc of countries from the Global South representing 80% of the world’s population.(Colombo/Sept16/2023)