The Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA) was established in 2001 under the supervision of the then Ministry of Cooperation and Integration in Africa in the Presidency now under Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is in recognition of the fact that technical cooperation is a powerful instrument of regional economic integration in the 21st century. Africa has over the years suffered from a continuing brain drain, with millions of highly qualified professionals serving outside the continent.
It is estimated that 10 million African professionals, mostly doctors, university lecturers, nurses, technicians and engineers, have migrated to Europe and North America. This constitutes an invisible nation as populous as countries like Senegal, Libya, Somalia or Mali. It was reported a few years ago, that there are about 700 Sierra Leonean doctors in the Chicago and Illinois areas while the country itself cannot boast of 700 doctors. Indeed, one sector that has suffered tremendously from the Brain Drain is the health sector and this becomes more apparent with the large number of African doctors, nurses and pharmacists etc working in the American and British health industry. Currently, African emigrants to the United States contribute 40 times more wealth to America than to the African economy.
The IMF estimates that the Africans in Diaspora could constitute the biggest group of foreign investors into Africa. Realizing that a good percentage of these professionals are largely either Nigerians or South Africans, the two leaders of these most populous nations of Africa, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and President Thabo Mbeki, worried by the facts and figures of Africas brain drain problem, decided in 1999, to reverse the trend by encouraging technical cooperation amongst African Countries using African experts.
The Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africas (DTCA) establishment was therefore in recognition of the vital role technology transfer plays in development, to serve as a catalyst for bridging the widening developmental gap between Africa and the rest of the world. This was predicated on the recognition that there is firstly, the need to sensitize and mobilize African experts and professionals themselves to effectively participate in the process as in fact, no foreigner can sincerely develop the continent for the African. Secondly, there is the urgent need to create an enabling environment that will facilitate the required participation of experts (both within Africa and those in the Diaspora) in the development process of the continent.