I was asked to address the above subect by Makerere University Organisational Pychology department; The following are my highlights:
In my view, payment of more salaries to development workers / donor supported staff has presented a big problem in third world countries because normally payments are made to cater for their interests rather than the interests of the local organisation or even staff.
The first question is whether they have the appropriate qualification, experience and competence for the jobs that they so obtain from developing countries and whether there is lack of local competence for such jobs. Even when and where there is lack, capacity building for local staff would be a sustainable solution.
The second aspect that should be considered is whether they add value to the existing structures and programmes. In most cases, you will find that expatriate additions are in terms of numbers rather than in program management. Therefore any expatriate should be an expert in a field that the local conditions cannot fulfill.
The other question is also whether this is not a new form of colonialism where donors are following their tax payers’ money mainly to employ their citizenry as well as manipulating such donor aid to fit their original aspirations rather than allowing the recipients to think and act in fulfilling their core mandate.
Again you find that such discrepancies in salaries has contributed seriously to brain drain where by every third world profession looks forward to working outside their countries in order to earn more. While the exodus from third world countries is mainly for professionals like engineers, doctors, pharmacists, architects, statisticians among others. What we get in return from developed nations are mainly social scientists. This is because brain drain to third world countries is based on donors employing their citizens who may not easily access market in their locality. In the third world countries professionals are only trained using tax payers money and they join paid ranks of the western world. It is estimated that about 70,000 professionals leave Africa in a year in search of green pastures (Robert Calderisi; The trouble with Africa 2006)and no wonder Africa is doing badly economically.
Discrepancies in salaries has also facilitated and seriously contributed to mismanagement and corruption. I have had an opportunity to meet some local staff who will steal in order to look like expatriates in terms of conditions of service. They do so as a kind of ‘compensation’ to expatriates or to ‘hurt’ the ‘donor’ who sends more ‘staff’ than ‘money.’Hence derailing perfomancein organisations.
In the face of globalization the challenges must be addressed in order to facilitate free movement of human beings to fill the free markets, but the question is, how free the market in third world countries as compared to the stringent terms from the developed world? How many people have succeeded in getting international jobs from the Western world countries even when they are competent enough compared to those from the developed world who are even not qualified?
As professionals such behaviour should be discussed and curtailed. It is unacceptable to have an ‘expatriate’ earning more than ‘an organization’ that is to say , what they are paid is more than the total contribution and one calls that development aid- for me that is colonialism!