Africa turns into a new center of world outsourcing

    Today, the main centers of outsourcing are Asia and Eastern Europe. Millions of programmers and support service specialists work in these regions, without which it is already impossible to imagine the Western economy. However, even in these countries, resources are not unlimited. India, with its billionth population, is now experiencing a shortage of programmers to carry out an endless stream of Western orders. Not surprisingly, prices are rising and the quality of work is suffering. In Eastern Europe, salaries are growing even faster, so for outsourcing you have to look for other contractors.

    The most far-sighted experts are already pondering who can compete in the business process outsourcing (BPO) market. In their opinion, Africa has a great potential. Currently, the Black Continent is the most technologically backward on Earth, but here it is the cheapest labor force and the largest unemployment in the world. For Western companies, this means huge cost savings and unique business opportunities.

    In the AT Kearney Global Services Location Index 2007 ( PDF ) Outsourcing Services Index ( PDF ), African states are growing steadily and are gradually ahead of Eastern Europe and South America. As salaries in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia are growing rapidly, these countries are rapidly losing their competitive advantage over Mauritania, Tunisia and Ghana. And in terms of education, it is difficult to compete with Africa: for example, in Mauritania itself, almost the entire population is fluent in English.

    The rating is still headed by India and China. Although other places among the leaders also belong to Asians, but some of them took a few steps back. For example, Singapore dropped to 11th place, and the Philippines - to 8th place. Russia and Ukraine are located on lines 37 and 47, respectively. In contrast to Asia and Europe, African countries only add from year to year. Here is a comparative description of Russia, Ukraine and African countries (FI is the index of financial attractiveness; CR is the index of accessibility of human resources taking into account their education; DS is the business environment; PR is the overall result).

    13. Egypt. FP = 3.22; HR = 1.14; DS = 1.25; RR = 5.61.
    25. Mauritania. AF = 2.84; HR = 1.04; DS = 1.56; RR = 5.44.
    26. Tunisia. FP = 3.03; PD = 0.90; DS = 1.50; RR = 5.43.
    27. Ghana. FP = 3.27; PD = 0.90; DS = 1.25; RR = 5.42.
    31. South Africa. AF = 2.52; HR = 1.18; DS = 1.60; RR = 5.30.
    36. Morocco. AF = 2.92; PD = 0.90; DS = 1.33; RR = 5.14.
    37. Russia. AF = 2.61; HR = 1.38; DS = 1.16; RR = 5.14.
    39. Senegal. FP = 3.19; PD = 0.82; DS = 1.05; RR = 5.06.
    47. Ukraine. AF = 2.76; PD = 0.98; DS = 1.09; RR = 4.83.

    Experts believe that Africa has excellent potential. The population of this vast continent is 933 million people (2007 estimate), with every second person under the age of 20. Salaries are very low. Thanks to the colonial past, the level of knowledge of foreign languages ​​is high: English, French, German, Portuguese, Dutch (Afrikaans), Spanish, Italian. Africa is in the same time zones as Europe, which facilitates the provision of outsourcing services. Even for American customers do not have to work the night shift, as the Asians do.

    There are no particular obstacles to the development of outsourcing in Africa. Most of the difficulties coincide exactly with those that Asia had several years ago: infrastructure (we need ubiquitous broadband Internet), IT staff training, government support for IT outsourcing, improving legislation, etc.

    Small “growth points,” such as Mauritania and South Africa, can play the role of catalyst hubs for the entire African continent, as Taiwan and Hong Kong have done for China.

    via Computerworld

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