Are brains leaving the continent or staying to fill its data, pharmaceuticals, or biotech needs?

Over the past few weeks, two renowned experts on life sciences and African topics have left Africa: Zeinab Kola, chief science officer of Nativo, a Nigerian biotech company that helps develop vaccines for African and other poor countries, and Antoine Roussel, partner at private equity firm Northport Capital Partners. (Disclosure: At Northport, I’m working on a limited partnership focused on Africa.) But is this a sign of a brain drain or a smart business move?

Covid’s job listings are scarce (they posted at least 40 positions last year), but one promising opportunity has popped up for aspiring talent. A job description for a software engineer sought by Covid — “industry or technical specialist” — promises “a rare opportunity to work with a renowned African company in Africa.” For Covid, a data mining and software developer can report directly to the CEO, have access to Covid’s data about the African population, and be considered for bonuses. Because Covid is, in some ways, a new firm, the job description doesn’t go into any detail about company goals and efforts. But the challenge is clear: Development is often challenging, and lack of resources can doom success. Still, with a promising new technological platform to scale, and the prospect of greater support from Northport, which recently invested in the company, it’s easy to see the benefits.

To read more, visit Development Entrepreneurs in Africa »

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