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South African expats eager to come back: study

South African expats eager to come back: study

South African expats believe their skills and knowledge would be useful and valuable to the country with many eager on exploring ways to return, according to a new report.

South Africa’s talent migration abroad has created a valuable knowledge network and an untapped asset base that can further the competitiveness of the country, reports The SABLE Accelerator, a global group of South African expats advancing commercial innovation and exchange with their home country.

SABLE (South African Business Link to Experts) is based in Silicon Valley.

Rhodes University conducted a comprehensive online survey of its alumni in May 2013 with the help of GlobalFluency, an international marketing firm, and The SABLE Accelerator.

It found that 72% of Old Rhodian expats living in more than 20 overseas countries believe their skills and knowledge would be useful and valuable to South Africa, and 48% say they would be interested in learning more about incentives to relocate back to South Africa.

The study included 957 participants from 22 countries, with some 40% (387) residing abroad.

Countries where Old Rhodian survey respondents are living include South Africa, USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong/China, Bermuda, India, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Key findings from the survey on international Rhodes University graduates showed that:

  • While 90% of Old Rhodians living abroad are satisfied with their lifestyle or professional position overseas, 32% would consider returning to, or retiring in, South Africa and 28% are undecided;
  • 40% of Old Rhodians living abroad consider themselves ambassadors and champions of the new South Africa and 33% visit South Africa more than once a year;
  • The majority of these Global South Africans still identify with their home country – 36% say they have strong emotional and cultural attachment and 51% retain affinity and connections;
  • 36% of Old Rhodians based abroad view transformation in South Africa positively, compared to 24% who view it negatively; 34% are neutral;
  • Friends and family remain the primary way for 81% of offshore Old Rhodians to stay connected to news and developments in South Africa; other important sources include Internet web sites (68%), international media (47%), and social media groups (41%).

“There is a massive pool of predisposed South African expatriate talent waiting to be tapped globally,” said Donovan Neale-May, managing partner of The SABLE Accelerator (South African Business Link to Experts), and chairman of the Rhodes University Trust USA.

“These stand-outs in many fields of endeavor are willing and eager to give back to the country. They just need to be invited, engaged, and recognized through a formal process of interaction.”

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BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
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  • Gineer

    As someone who has just come back to South Africa after spending 6 years in the UK I can relate to this article 100%. I had a good job in the UK and came back to an even better job, but after being back in SA for just under 2 months, I am both excited about being back in the sun with family and people that CAN think out of the box and also nervously worried about the quality and cost of things like schooling for my kids, cars (walking/public transport is not really an option) and broadband. Its all good so far, but by no means quick and easy to readjust. I still think South Africa is an amazing Country with allot of opportunity for people that want to make things happen.

  • OldRedNed

    Oh dear, another fairyland story. How many of these ‘talented and skilled expats’ are willing and eager to return with their family and risk murder in South Africa more than in any civilised country in the world. Or, as Whites, how many families are happy to face blatant racial discrimination in the job market – especially within Government employment. Or to live in a society where corruption enjoys a special place in the heart of the ANC government. Or where incompetence is no bar to career advancement, provided you are a Black ANC cadre.

    Now, just remind me……….why did we leave South Africa?

    • Gineer

      @OldRedNed: After spending time in the UK I have come to realise that being useless and crime in general has nothing to do with race. I have been a victim of crime more than I have ever been in South Africa (At least here people steel to eat, not just because they are bored). As a South African, I think we have an opportunity and a responsibility to make South Africa a better place. Yes, we have problems, but running away is NOT the solution.
      In general though racists are the reason South Africa is where it is today, and to be honest you are probably contributing to the rehabilitation of South Africa by not being here. Thanks for leaving.
      In case you were wondering; I am OMO white 😉

      • OldRedNed

        Hi Gineer, thanks for your reply. As you do not dispute any of the factual assertions in my letter, I take it you agree they are accurate. Just a few points, if you wake up in the middle of the night with a knife at your throat, your assailant does not want a sandwich. You say you have been a victim of more (UK?) crime than in SA. I also have experience crime in the UK – mainly of the ‘yob’ variety. But that is a far cry from getting hijacked or abducted and dumped – alive if you are lucky. I spent 40 years in the UK and never had personal knowledge of a murder. In South Africa, in 30 years, I closely knew three people who were murdered. I have witnessed a black man having his head reduced to a bloody pulp with hammers – on a Saturday morning in Church Street, Pretoria, by three other Blacks. My daughter, with her two children, walked into an armed hold-up at a small supermarket. She ended on the floor with her children and a gun at her head. Statistically, perpetrators of violent crime will be Black – because they numerically outrank all other racial groups. It’s not racism – it’s weigh of numbers.

        As for the other parts of your reply, I think there is a misunderstanding. I have not ‘run away’ from South Africa. I am firmly ensconced in SA and have no plan to leave. In fact I will still be here when you decide to return to the UK. Of course we have a duty to ‘rehabilitate’ South Africa but let’s not kid ourselves, this can only come about by a nationwide mind shift away from primitive tribalism, unpunished corruption and inept leadership from the top down. It’s a sad fact, there are no true South Africans, only tribal affiliations. South Africa desperately needs a South African leader to forge one nation, one people. Oh, and I am one of the ‘Presently Disadvantaged’ – OMO White.

        • Gineer

          Apologies for my assumptions and sorry for your losses.
          My main issue is that I feel that people have to stop being and feeling negative. I know it must be hard, but try to be positive. If all the people that have learnt something in foreign countries came back and applied what they learnt, fix the problems and just move forward we can achieve something; or we complain and do nothing (or worse yet, become part of the problem).
          South Africa is a fantastic country, with fantastic friendly people who are able to think outside the box, solve problems and think for themselves (Not to mention fantastic weather, resources and opportunities since it’s a younger economy). Lets solve the problems. If we don’t, who will?
          Ps. Have you honestly not noticed an improvement in the issues you mentioned at the end of your message over the last couple of years?

  • Disappointed and Broke in SA

    I returned and it was the biggest mistake i made in my life.. the cost of living in SA is outrageous.. and you can’t eat the sunshine…

    Cars, TV’s, Health, Schooling, food… etc costs a fortune

    White and middle aged have no future here, you need to have a VERY good job to come back too and have MASSIVE rose coloured glasses

    I am just waiting to go back to Europe

  • Proudly New Aussie

    I agree with OldRedNed there are no ways we will go back
    every time I go for visit (every 3years) the country is going backwards, the
    people are more aggressive and lives in denial – every visit was great to see
    the family but after a few days we can’t wait to get out. Good luck for the
    ones who go back and put their family lives in danger.

  • butler1

    With government enforced racism – BEE in action – where would you get a job in SA.

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