By Boniface Manyala
June 18, 2012
On June 5 to 6, 2012 the East African Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) executives and those from various parts of the globe gathered in Nairobi to discuss the potentiality of BPO in the African region in relation to the current global economic situation.
The presence of such high-profile personalities such as Kenya’s Information and Communications Permanent Secretary Dr. Bitange Ndemo and Paul Kukubo, the Kenya ICT Board CEO pointed to a successful two-day summit, and indeed it was.
It is clear that Africa, and especially East Africa provides strategic outsourcing destination for companies in the West and is ready to compete with other leading global outsourcing destinations like India, Indonesia and Singapore.
This favorable outsourcing climate that investors in the region need to take advantage of includes, as Dr. Ndemo stated, government’s commitment to actively promote Kenya as an outsourcing destination of choice.
I am sure that governments in the rest of East Africa are committed towards the same. I say this because after listening Cayman Consults presentation by Uganda’s Abubaker Luwaga, there was no doubt that Uganda, just like Kenya is committed to create an environment that is favorable for outsourcing.
In other words, we in East Africa are ready and equipped to handle outsourced work from western markets because our companies have an established tradition in best practices to deliver efficient and cost effective contact centers. This I must add is something we should be proud of.
We are also favored by a bright future, if we consider the global BPO market which is projected to grow at an average of 5.4 per cent every year in the period 2012 to 2015. These, combined with the talent pool from the young graduates that our colleges and universities churn out every year, should spur the growth in the outsourcing industry.
Looking at our IT infrastructure shows that we are not doing badly considering that we have witnessed innovative IT-Enabled services prominent is such countries as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
Significant presence has also been observed in Uganda and outside East Africa in Zambia and South Africa. It is notable that the social, economic and political expansion in East Africa has been accelerated by the strong forces of Information Technology. While we also boost as a strong tourism destination and availability of many companies that offer financial services.
True, the flourishing IT segment that consist of BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) and ITES (IT-enabled services) are the core sectors that are driving the continent into the epicenter of transformation but all those favorable factors notwithstanding, we in East Africa cannot afford to seat on our laurels, we must, as Munjal Shah stated at the summit, make a deliberate move to encourage the growth of domestic BPO market.
And how do we do this? Easy, Let us protect the cost advantage to ensure that buyer interest are sustained, let us access untapped talent pools by creating awareness for youth to treat BPO as a long term career-building opportunity, let us build capacity to increase collaboration between industry and academic institutions by developing BPO Specific curriculums and education Models, but above all let us strengthen regulatory frameworks and ensure there is political stability in East Africa.
Mr. Manyala is the Public Relations Officer for Techno Brain BPO/ITES Ltd. He can be reached at manyala @ technobrainbpo.com