Homecoming Revolution: African skills return | Expert opinion

“In 1999, after having lived in the UK for seven years, I attended Nelson Mandela delivering a speech in front of the South African embassy in London. Looking over the crowd, he said: ‘I love you all so much. I want to put you in my pocket and take you home.’ The masses, exhilarated, burst into tears, and I thought: ‘now is the time’.”

Homecoming Revolution: African skills returnAngel Jones, co-founder and CEO of Homecoming Revolution, returned home with Madiba’s words in mind and put her determination into practice, starting in South Africa. Angel: “Homecoming Revolution is a multi-layered platform that invites highly-skilled African nationals back to their home countries. Only ten years ago, expats commonly understood ‘coming home’ as failing to be successful in the Western world. Homecoming Revolution turns the tide, touting this generation’s pioneers and entrepreneurs who make their continent a better place to live in. We do so, while our ‘no-bullshit campaign’ honestly lays out the setbacks of a grand the decision like the one to migrate. We refuse to idealise Africa, and highlight the pros as much as we showcase the cons; cons such as high crime levels or outdated infrastructure networks.” 

Emotional reasons

“Why is it so important African professionals return to Africa?”, we ask. “I believe the two decisive factors that will drive Africa’s success story”, Angel says, “are youth development and innovative leadership. Homecoming Revolutions plays in the latter space, and it happens as we speak! Over the past five years, 359,000 Africans returned to their country of origin. Our research shows that former expats undertake the life-changing move for a number of reasons. Prime among those are emotional reasons; the number one being friendship and family relationships. Secondly, a sense of purpose and belonging drives the decision. Thirdly, in South Africa the outdoor lifestyle and standard of living appeal, while in East and West Africa career opportunities make expats return. Pay comes thereafter.”

Diaspora talent

“What is unique about Homecoming Revolution”, Angel adds, “is the versatility of the platform. Our revenue model thrives on human resources and marketing budgets of pan-African businesses – Barclays, Africa Standard Bank, KPMG, Boston Consulting Group and Group Five – eager to recruit diaspora talent. While at the same time we manage to assist homecomers in their choice of neighbourhood, children’s education, property investments, and search for entrepreneurial opportunities. Our activities range from a career portal to newsletters, and from our relevant social media platforms to expos and ‘home for the holidays’ events.”

Credibility

Having evolved from an NGO in 1999 to a commercial enterprise today, Homecoming Revolution gained professional credibility among its business partners, and its impact grows continuously: “We currently work in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, where we collaborate with recruiters who partially work under our brand. We hope to expand our footprint to another five countries in the near future, being pulled into places where there is a high demand for skills. Our mission is a shared mission, a massive scalable operation, in which we gladly cooperate with other recruiters on our way to the same horizon.”

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