New Data on African Health Professionals Abroad

February 26, 2007

In CGD working paper 95, research fellow Michael Clemens and Gunilla Petterrsson estimate the number of African-born doctors and professional nurses working abroad in a developed countries circa 2000 using destination-country census data. They then compare this to the stocks of these workers in each country of origin.

They find that approximately 65,000 African-born physicians and 70,000 African-born professional nurses were working overseas in a developed country in the year 2000. This represents about one-fifth of African-born physicians in the world, and about one-tenth of African-born professional nurses. The fraction of health professionals abroad varies enormously across African countries, from 1% to over 70% according to occupation and country. These numbers are the first standardized, systematic, occupation-specific measure of skilled professionals working in developed countries and born in a large number of developing countries. Compilation of the dataset is a part of CGD's ongoing research on the links between international labor mobility and global development.


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