What are the motivations and expectations of highly-qualified young people from developing countries for leaving their country and what are the alternatives?


This research project examined the reasons of highly-qualified young people from developing countries, especially from Africa, for leaving their country. Excessive emigration whereby young, talented individuals do not return to their native countries has an extremely negative effect known as the brain drain. The study aimed at gaining a better understanding of the expectations relating to migration that are cited by young people: What are the reasons for leaving their country, but also what are the reasons that could lead them to stay?

The research carried out allowed to refine migration theories by identifying the factors that persuade or dissuade individuals to leave. Three options have been studied: long-term emigration (leave), local anchoring (stay), and commuting between several spaces (move around). The research team has investigated the reasons for migration and alternatives among students at Niamey University (Niger), Cocody-Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and in Gaston-Berger – Saint-Louis (Senegal). Through the involvement of geographers, sociologists and architects, the individual and collective economic, social and spatial dimensions of the phenomena were taken into account.tutional design.

Project Keywords

  • Decision process
  • Education
  • Migration
  • Brain drain
  • Highly-qualified migrants
  • Local anchoring
  • Students


  • Demography
  • Development
  • Economics
  • Education

Relevant Countries

  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Niger
  • Senegal


This project, started in 2008, has been completed.

Contact the project team

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Research team

Etienne Piguet
University of Neuchâtel

Jérôme Chenal
Principal Member
Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

Guéladio Cissé
Principal Member
Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire

Denise Efionayi
Principal Member

Patrick Gilliard
Principal Member

Désiré Nassa
Principal Member

Hamissou Oumarou
Principal Member

Yves Pedrazzini
Principal Member
Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

Raffaele Poli
Principal Member
University of Neuchâtel

Cheikh Samba Wade
Principal Member