Uganda’s scientists seek greener pastures abroad

Image: Wikimedia

As Ugandan scientists move abroad in search of better remuneration, Esther Nakkazi reports that academics and government disagree about the impact of the exodus.

At the beginning of this year, Denis Tumwesigye Kyetere moved from Uganda to Kenya to take over as executive director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).

Kyetere began his career in 1979 as a scientific officer and maize agronomist at Uganda’s Kawanda Research Station, and has since held a number of important posts in the country, being appointed director-general of the National Agricultural Research Organisation in 2006.

His contributions to Uganda’s agricultural sector have been significant. They include leading a team that developed a new maize variety, which accounted for 60 per cent of the country’s maize production during 1999.

So Kyetere’s move to Kenya and the AATF is the latest loss to Uganda of the scientific brains that are needed to help the country solve of its socio-economic challenges.

The exodus of scientists from Uganda to other African countries in search of better working conditions is generating growing concern within the country’s academic community. And the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has indicated that he shares their worries.

But the movement of scientists out of the country is not yet causing concern in all areas of government, and there is little indication of any attempt to change the situation.

Government ‘insensitive’

According to Phenny Birungi, assistant executive director of the National Council for Higher Education, the vice chancellors of both Makerere University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology issued statements last year commenting on this issue.

Source: SciDev.Net – 20 April 2012